I love traveling. If there were two things I could absolutely positively live without it would have to be books and travel oh and may be food . But I could live on bread and milk and cereal bars for a while, but if you asked me to like without books and travel, you could might as well kill me. I come from a family that is addicted to travel, I have a father-in-law who could virtually live to travel and I am married to a man who on about 15 minutes notice can back his bags and head out . So there is no dirt of reasons or company when it comes to travel as far as I am concerned.
There are so many wonderful things about traveling, that I can simply say travel is great for you. It is an eye-opener, it broadens your horizon, increases your depth of vision and allows you to understand life in a whole new way. When one experiences new cultures and traditions, a whole perception emerges. Travel broadens you, it challenges you but mostly, it teaches you and gives you a new in site to your world. I can continue to give you 300 more reasons as to why travel is good. But all I shall say is that travel enriches you and makes you well most of the time, into a complete human being.
I just got back from the most wonderful and amazing vacation. You could call it our first major holiday of the year. We do this every year 2 big trips, discovering new cities and I am a big National Park geek. I love National Parks and P happily obliges. This time it was Las Vegas and The Grand Canyon. What can you say about Las Vegas that has not already been said. The majestic desert resort towns with a bustling strip and uber chic luxurious hotels and endless entertainment and not to mention the dancing fountains. We all know this. To me it was a dream come true. Never in a million years did I imagine that I would make it Vegas. I mean born in a city 13,023 km away ( sorry I still do not get the mile thing) it was a far cry. Yes, the glitz and the glamour did impress me but moot point here is that dreams do come true, every now and then.
Now then, if Las Vegas was un imaginable, the Grand Canyon was something in outer space as fas me visiting it was concerned. I mean going to the Grand Canyon with the man I love the most ( dad you are always there but we all have to learn to share ). But that happened and happened beautifully. We did make it to the South Rim of the Canyon and saw sights that for so long had been restricted to travel and photography magazines and the television. The glory, the grandeur of those mighty ancient rocks cannot be penned down with words. 60,000 centuries look down upon these majestic, ever changing colour rocks. Grand Canyon is a testament of time, inspiring millions and that mankind is but a dwarf, in the evolution of our planet.
I am still in euphoria, this has been a vacation of a lifetime. But man does not live by bread alone. You have to get back to daily routine, work, laundry, grocery and food. Speaking of food, I came across this amazing mutton recipe shared by a friend on a food forum on facebook. The colour and the texture was so unique that it took me back to the Grand Canyon ( one more excuse to relive my holiday). The meat reminded me of the Canyon walls. So I had to try it out at the very earliest. I am glad I did. It is a keeper.
I made some changes to the recipe as per our taste.
Amritsari Tawa Mutton- Jaideep Rair and Rajeev Nandagopal
For the Stock:
- Goat Meat (Mutton)- 900 gm [about 2 lbs]
- Onion- 1 large [here in the US the onions are huge, back home you would need 4]
- Ginger paste- 1 teaspoon
- Garlic paste- 1 teaspoon
- Cinnamon- (2) 1 inch pieces
- Black Cardamom- 2
- Green Cardamom-3/4
- Pepper corns-15-20 ( gently crushed)
- Bay leaf- 1 large
- Cloves- 5
- Ghee- 2/3 table spoons but you can use vegetable oil to make the stock.
For the Sauce
- onion sliced- 1 medium
- tomatoes- 3-4 chopped
- tomato puree- 2 teaspoon
- corriander powder- 1 table spoon
- turmeric- 1 teaspoon
- Red chilli powder- 1 teaspoon
- cumin powder- 1.5 teaspoon
- Garam Masala- 1 teaspoon
- Curry powder -1 .5 teaspoon ( I have a spice lady here who makes an awesome blend of curry powder ) but you can replace that with a teaspoon of meat masala. This though is optional.
- Unsalted butter – 8 table spoons
- Chaat masala- 1 teaspoon
- lime juice
- coriander powder
- I always start by seasoning my meat with salt and pepper. So season the meat and leave it in room temperature for about an hour. Next heat a heavy bottom pan and first add the ghee/oil. Once it is hot, turn down the head and add the whole spices. As soon as they begin to crackle add the onion and saute. When they begin to change colour and and turn light pink ( this called sweating the onions). Next add the ginger-garlic paste and continue to saute till all the flavours infuse.
- Now add the meat and braise it ( I like to braise the meat because mutton has a strong smell/ i.e. bhunna or kosha ). I braised it for about 8-10 mins on high heat. Then added 4 cups of water and left it to slow cook on the stove top for about an hour. You can do these two steps in a pressure cooker. You would have to leave it for 2 whistles and about 20 mins on medium to low heat. Reserve the stock.
- Now take a wok, ideally,a flat griddle /tawa. Since I did not have such a huge tawa I used my jumbo 16 inch frying pan. I added 4 table sppons of butter and when it was nice and bubbly, I added the meat, you can do this in batches if the base of your vessel is small. Mine was big enough to fit all the pieces and on medium to high heat I let the meat brown, occasionally turning them to equally cook both the sides. This took about 5-7 mins.
- Next add the sliced onions and the tomatoes and cook them on medium heat till the tomatoes are mushy and the onions go limp. next add the tomato puree and mix well. This just gives the colour and a smooth texture. Now add the spice powders and continue to cook till the spices mix well. Now take about 2-3 ladles of the stock and add to the griddle/wok. You could add more depending on how much gravy you want. I just wanted it to be on the dry side, the gravy kind of sticking to meat. Cook it on high heat for a couple of minutes as the spices infuse with the liquid. Now add the chaat masala and the lime juice. Garnish with coriander leaves.
P.S. You can sevrve the dish with Amritsari naan / kulcha or even nice hot chapatis