Friday, January 28, 2011

Recipe: Kashmiri Ghushtaba - Meat Ball Curry - Short cut method

Ghushtaba and Rista are 2 extremely famous Kashmiri dishes. The process of making these dishes that take the most time is the pounding of the mutton to mince it up and turn it into soft meat balls.

I had ordered a home delivery of chicken meat balls along with my regular order from the "chicken butcher" expecting tiny meat balls that could be sauteed as a starter. What arrived home was much larger. Too large to be an appetiser and slightly oversalted. Hence I had to pop them into a curry to neutralise the salt and flavour the meatballs.

Taking into consideration the size of the meatballs, I thought a Ghushtaba sauce would be the best option for today. and I found a traditional recipe in Wazwaan: Traditional Kashmiri Cuisine

If you don't have meatballs, the traditional way is to pound half a kilo of boneless fatless mutton cubes until it is fine paste. Remove any tough white fibers that may appear. Add 4tbsp white butter, pinch of cardamom powder and about 3/4 tsp salt. Pound some more and then with wet hands make balls around 100gms in weight

1/2 kilo meatballs - chicken or mutton (mutton is traditional)
400gm Curd/Yoghurt well blended with equal volume water and gently simmered together until it reaches half the volume - 400gms
 400gm volume - plain meat stock (just boil meat/chicken for 45 minutes - I used stock cubes)
2 tsp ghee (an indulgence - since it is still winter, you can skip the ghee if you prefer)
4 small green cardamoms
4 cloves
1 tbsp fennel seeds (saunf) powdered
1 tbsp dry ginger powder
8 cloves garlic
1 large onion
salt to taste (if you use stock cubes or ready made meat balls, these will already have salt in them)
2 pinches of dry mint leaves - optional

The traditional method of making ghushtaba is a slow process of adding ingredients. I skipped a few steps and combined some of them together. The end result was quite good. So the method below is the shortened method.

Grind together the onion, garlic and fennel seeds (if you don't have it in powdered form).
Gently fry this paste in 1 tsp ghee until light brown, but cooked (not raw)

Mix the reduced yoghurt, stock, meat balls and 1 tsp ghee and bring to a quick boil. (The consistency when you start out should be a thin stock.)
Then add all the other ingredients except the onion paste and cook covered for 10 minutes.
Now add the onion paste and cook covered on a low flame until the curry is thicker and has reached your desired consistency. Make sure your meatballs are cooked.
 Notice how much the liquid is reduced and the change in consistency

Sprinkle dry mint leaves as garnish if you like (I didn't have any at home, but the dish still tasted very good)

Serve hot with Rice.

This is an excellent "Indian" dish to serve your friends who are apprehensive of heavy "Indian" spices

The Original and Traditional recipe can be found on page 37 of


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