Well, this is a very famous Kashmiri dish – a bright red mutton preparation, the color coming from the liberal use of Kashmiri Mirch (red chillies), which are very colorful, but only mildly hot.
It is possible, ofcourse, to get the color from tomatoes, or even, god forbid, artificial coloring, but that is not the original Kashmiri way.
I chose this recipe, as it seems the most original, and tastes surprisingly good, considering the preparation is very simple and involves only meat and spices.
Special note must be taken during the cooking of the meat in the pressure cooker. Be careful not to blast away on high heat for an extensive length of time (in attempt to soften the meat), because the ground spices tend to accumulate at the bottom of the pot, and they might get burned. Medium heat is more than enough, and does give the dish a hint of the taste of burned spices, such as would result from an open charcoal fire…
You can view the great youtube video here.
The amount of spices might seem a bit excessive, but trust me, this is what you want (the pressure cooker “kills” most of the spice anyway).
The recipe (serves 4-5):
1.5 KG leg of lamb (can be neck, saddle or upper leg – as this is a “dry” dish, and there is almost no gravy we don’t need any bone/marrow) cut into 7cm squares.
4 tbs mustard oil (it might seem excessive, but a lot of oil is needed to keep the spices from burning, as this is a “dry” dish).
2 tbs Kashmiri mirch (dried red Kashmiri chilli)[can be substituted by hot paprika, but why bother?]
1 tbs fennel powder (can be substituted with anise seed powder, in fact I prefer it this way).
1 tbs dry ginger powder (remember – no fresh ingredient in poor Kashmir)
3 green cardamons
1/2 tsp cumin seed powder
1 tsp Garam masala (I use the Balti garam masala for that dish, for reasons of poetic justice).
7 cm cinnamon stick ( Cinnamon, mind you, not Cassia [you can tell by the scroll like look - Cinnamon rolls on itself, and Cassia is flat])
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in pressure cooker on high heat till it starts smoking (this will help you avoid the raw taste).
Add 1/2 tsp salt (this will make the meat exude more juices, and help avoid burning).
Add meat, stir, lower the flame to low heat, and stir fry for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (every 3 minutes) [this will create a crisp outer layer of meat].
Add Kashmiri chilly pwd, and stir fry for 5 minutes (this will release the chilly oils into the mustard oil and mature the chilly taste).
Add Fennel/Anise pwd, and stir fry for 3 minutes (releasing+maturing).
Add ginger pwd, and stir fry for 3 minutes (you know it).
Add Cloves, Cardamons, Cumin and Garam Masala, and stir fry for 1 minute.
Cover with boiling water, the rest of the salt, Cinnamon and cover.
Cook for 45 minutes on medium heat (never mind the whistles).