A steaming bowlful of tariwala gosht with tandoori roti served on a rickety table at a no frills dhabba (roadside home cooked stalls) near Ambala. It’s the food that brings us here on every visit. The tandoori dishes and dal fry are amazing but the gosht is definitely one to try as well. There really isn’t much much gosht/ mutton in the dish (well it is a no frills dhabba!) but to be honest it’s the gravy that I have always craved. I would happily devour a bowl of curry with roti than eat the meat unless its working my way through the Nalli/ marrow filled pieces. This thin soupy curry is spiced with ginger, chilli and tomato and served with some onions and lemon on the side. I ask for extra ‘tari’/ gravy which is perfect to dip the leftover roti in. Its perfect comfort food and made with basic ingredients that have some amazing flavours.
Tariwala gosht is very much part of everyday Indian home cooking too and a basic curry that most households make. This can be made with chicken or mutton. My mum made a similar curry on Sundays with mutton. Despite such humble ingredients the warmth and balance of spices in the dish was something I always loved. While the mutton was simmering away, the aromas were so enticing and I couldn’t wait to tuck in with some rotis. If there was any left we would eat it the following day just with some crusty bread roll too.
I cook it for the family every now and then, reminiscing over the taste that brings back those childhood memories. The flavours, the vibrant colour of the dish, served with tandoori roti or naan is a thing of beauty. I use lamb as its easier to source and equally delicious. Also most households would use just fresh tomatoes but I swap that for half the amount of tomatoes along with tomato puree which give the added colour to the gravy. I also add some chunks of potato to make hearty. Serve with naan or roti and salad.
Add the garlic and ginger to a blender with a splash of water and blitz to a smooth fine paste. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onions and fry for 25 minutes until they begin to change colour and go brown. Stir a few times through cooking making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Don’t rush this as the colour of the onions adds more flavour to the curry and also thickens the base gravy.
Add the whole spices and fry for a further minute. Add the tomatoes and the tomato puree and stir well. Continue to soften the tomatoes for 4 minutes making sure to mash them slightly with the back of the spoon. Add the garlic and ginger paste and stir well cooking out the raw flavours for a couple of minutes. Add the coriander, chilli and turmeric powder and fry for a few seconds.
Now add the lamb chunks, stir well coating the pieces with the spices and sealing the lamb for 10 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Season to taste. Simmer on a low heat with the lid on for 50 minutes stirring half way through cooking.
Add the potato chunks and continue to cook over a low heat with the lid on for 15 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through and the lamb is succulent. Garnish with garam masala, slivers of ginger and fresh coriander. Serve hot with naan and salad.