Ditch the hot and spicy gravies for this milky curry and relish it for lunch.
The usual assumption when one thinks of Kashmiri cuisine is that it would be full of hot spices. Well, we wouldn’t say that you are wrong because a large chunk of the Kashmiri fare is what would be deemed as spicy and fiery. However, another aspect of Kashmiri cuisine is the richness and sapid flavours that will leave your heart and stomach full. Talking about how locals start their day in the Kashmir valley, you’d notice that they have a plethora of breads and beverages in the morning. Given the cold climate, it only seems fair that they warm themselves up with a girda or chhirchot and sip on the famous kahwa before the wind catches their throat. Naturally heat-producing foods are consumed to a large extent in the Kashmiri culture.
Coming to the lunch recipes, there’s no dearth of those bright red curries, right from rista, chunky meatballs to gushtaba and plenty of vegetarian delicacies like nadru yakhni. Yakhni is a special kind of curry that is creamy and smooth in texture and slightly sweet in taste. This brings us to another creamy delight from the Kashmiri lunch table, aab gosht. Aab refers to water in Punjabi and Urdu while gosht refers to mutton or lamb. They come together to form aab gosht, where the gravy is silky and thin at the same time. For those untouched by the phenomenon, aab gosht is a kind of milk-based mutton curry that is common in the Kashmiri fare.
Succulent pieces of tender mutton are dunked in a gravy made with milk and simmered on low flame so that the juices of the meat easily transfuse with the curry. This flavourful curry made from milk often sees a hint of black pepper and cardamom. In fact, aab gosht is also well-accepted in the Iranian culture where the dish is made with a meat broth. The Iranian version is different because it contains potatoes, vegetables and spices mixed together with legumes to make it even more wholesome and nutritious.
The Persian aab gosht is like a stew and also referred to as meat water. Usually cooked in traditional crock pots made of stone, this Iranian counterpart is also called Dizi and served with a bowl of rice on the side. To make the Kashmiri version of aab gosht, you need to start prepping by crushing some garlic and cardamom. The first step is to cook the mutton with spices like fennel, mace, ginger powder, garlic, cardamom, cloves and salt. Water is added to the bowl and the mutton is cooked with the lid covered. Simultaneously, the milk should be reduced to half by boiling it on the flame with some crushed cardamom.
When the milk has been reduced, you need to heat ghee in a pan and throw in the mutton pieces without the water. Add some brown onion paste to the pan and let it cook. Season with black pepper, salt and mutton stock. Pour the reduced milk at this stage and simmer for another few minutes. Finally, take it out in a serving bowl and pair it with steamed white rice.
Here’s a detailed recipe to try.