Rara Gosht (pronounced as Rada Gosht too) is a rich Mughlai dish which is said to have originated in the kitchen of Nawabs of Awadh (todays Lucknow) like innumerable other delectable dishes famous globally. Each Awadhi dish had its own combination of spices and a specific way of cooking, which was never compromised with. But in these days of instant cuisine, where the chef is supposed to whip up dishes to serve clients in few minutes, the process has been crashed to “assembly”; assembling boiled meat with pre-cooked gravies. As a result most of these epic dishes are getting lost with time. Not so far back, just a couple of decades ago, Rara Gosht was one of the most popular dishes all over north India and Pakistan. Even you could get it in dhabas on the Grand Trunk Road. Today finding this dish in regular restaurants is tough.
But why Rara? Why not Gaga or Fafa? Legend says that the Chhote Nawab of Awadh and the Rajkumari of Jaipur were in love. The princess was abducted by a witch and imprisioned in a fort surrounded by a deep moat. Chhote Nawab came to know that the witch had a weakness for meat dishes. He ordered his khansamas to prepare the best meat dish they can, on the banks of the moat. The khansamas came out with a brilliant idea of cooking meat pieces with kheema. When this dish was slow cooked and the aroma reached the witch she was so impressed that she released the Rajkumari and blessed the couple with long life and togetherness. Chhote Nawab decided to name the dish after the witch and her name was “Rara”. Now, you decide
This royal and extravagant dish is a double whammy of meat- boti (goat meat pieces) and kheema (goat mince) which needs to be made with a lot of love and a little bit of effort.
This recipe is for 500 gms of mutton with bones and about 250 gms of kheema. I cook by “andaz” so I havent put exact measurements for other ingredients.
As I said, every Awadhi Mughlai dish has its own combination of spices. Lets start with preparing the masala powder for this dish. In a pan slow roast whole spices; green cardamom, black cardamom, cloves, black pepper, mace (javitri), small piece of nutmeg (jaiphal) and sahi jeera (not the normal jeera). Roast on low flame for 8 to 10 minutes until u get the complex aroma of these mixed spices.
Once the spices cool down make a fine powder of them and keep aside.
The process of this curry is different than most other mutton curries.
Heat mustard oil (or any other oil of your choice for meat dishes) and fry the mutton pieces on medium high flame…
Till they turn golden brown. It will take about 15 mins to reach that color. This process is called “sealing”. The browning of meat seals the juices and keep the pieces succulent.
Thinly slice two medium sized onions and add to the meat and fry. Add a spoon of salt. Salt helps in spreading the heat and browning the onions evenly.
Fry on medium high flame till the onions turn golden brown. It will take another 15 minutes or so. Add two spoons of ginger garlic paste and cook until the smell of rawness of ginger garlic goes off.
Beat well half a cup of fresh curd. Switch off the flame and mix the curd stirring it continuously. Switch on the flame and cook for five minutes on low flame. Cooking curd on high flame or not stirring continuously until the curd mixes well will curdle it.
Add two medium sized tomatoes chopped small and mix well. Add finely chopped coriander leaves (dhaniya patta) and mint leaves (pudina patta) and mix well.
Cover and cook on low flame until the meat almost becomes tender. It should take about half an hour to 45 minutes for the meat pieces to go tender. If you do not have patience to slow cook use a pressure cooker. Once the meat is tender add the mince to the gravy and mix well.
At this stage add the garam masala powder you prepared earlier. Cover and cook again on low flame for another 15 minutes until the meat becomes completely tender and the kheema cooks well.
Check the tenderness of meat. Adjust the seasoning (salt). Switch off the flame. I added a spoonful of kewra water to add sweetness to the aroma. This is optional. Instead you may add few strands of saffron (kesar) or rose water (gulab jal) as per your liking.
Your Rara Gosht is ready….
Garnish with ginger sticks and mint leaves. Serve with naan/roti/paratha or even rice.