I have often wondered why Kashmiri men were such good cooks. I haven’t quite found the answer yet. The same Kashmiris from Mirpur who had gone to UK as labor in 1960-70s to fuel UK’s textile revolution have ended up establishing UK’s most famous desi food restaurants and Pakistani food franchises. I must also acknowledge that we Punjabis are utterly grateful to the Kashmiris for introducing us to the most amazing Shabdegh – Slow cooked sweet & savory lamb & turnip curry. This dish is cooked in a clay pot sealed with dough over low heat all night long. In the morning the meat is falling off the bone and melts in the mouth!
*Cooking Utensil – Pressure cooker.
- On medium heat, warm the oil in a pressure cooker and gently fry the onions. A pressure cooker saves time in breaking down the onions in to a paste. Once the onions are gently browned, add a cup of water and give it a pressure for 5 mins.
- The same can be done without a pressure cooker as well but it will take more than 30 mins. The water is added in intervals to break down the onions. Then it is dried, onions are mashed up and then the process is repeated again till the caramelized onion paste is formed.
- Going back to the pressure cooking: Once the pressure is done, add whole cloves, cinnamon & cardamom to the water and onions mixture. Dry the water completely and mash the onions till it becomes a paste.
- Now add chicken, tomato paste, ginger/garlic paste, dried coriander seeds, dried cumin seeds, salt, chili powder, coriander powder & turmeric to the onion paste.
- Cook on medium heat for 5-8 mins till the chicken changes its color and the liquid from tomato puree dries up. The oil should separate from the gravy.
- Now add diced potatoes and cook further for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Don’t let the onion paste burn.
- Add 2 cups of water to the mixture. Mix and let it boil on a high heat. Once boiled, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer(cover the pan) and cook for 25 mins till potatoes are thoroughly cooked, curry has thickened and the oil starts floating on the top of the curry. If the curry has thickened too much for your taste then add ½ cup of hot water and let it simmer for 2-3 mins.
- I love to add a dusting of roasted & crushed cumin seeds on the curry along with fresh chopped coriander leaves before serving.