Sindhi cuisine is probably one of those unique elements of regional Indian food that resonates very closely to where they hail from. The Sindh community from the Indus Valley civilization have brought along a delicious repertoire of dishes that have left their mark across Punjab, Gujarat and even Maharashtra. I feel so fortunate to have family friends from this community who have not just shared recipes but also where I’ve had a chance to sample some fantastic food.
If you are given an invite to a Sindhi household its one you would never want to turn down. From Sai Bhaji pulao, Aloo tuk, Sindhi biryanis as part of a main meal or snacks to amazing unique breads like dodha made with sorghum flour or sindhi Koki made with chilli and pomegranate powder. All versatile and worth a try. The flavours, use of spices and method of cooking make it special.
One of the dishes I have eaten a few times and something my mum adapted at home too was a ‘Seyal Gosht’; a sindhi lamb curry (traditionally made with mutton in India) that’s slow cooked in a coriander, chilli marinade and simmered with whole spices. The key to this lamb curry is there is no water added during cooking and also the inclusion of cardamom and caraway seeds which are added towards the end. Eaten with a type of traditional bread ‘dodha’ its so so delicious! I rang my dear friend 7 years back who gave some tips on cooking this dish. This ‘seyal gosht’ recipe might seem like it has a long list of ingredients but it’s honestly worth a go. I’ve been cooking it ever since. For a day to day meal I serve it with chapattis but when I have friends around I always try and make jowar rotis. It doesn’t need much else just a simple salad and some sliced green chillies.
Add the lamb to a large mixing bowl and add most of the yoghurt to it. Add the remaining yoghurt (around 2 tbsps) along with the chillies and coriander in a blender and blend to a fine paste. Pour this mix over the lamb and mix well. Set aside to marinate for a few hours or preferably overnight.
Separately add the onions to a blender and blend to a smooth paste with a splash of water. Set aside in a bowl and in the same blender; add the tomatoes and blend to a smooth puree.
In a large heavy bottom non-stick sauce pan heat the oil on a medium flame. Add the black cardamom, cinnamon and cloves letting them sizzle for 2-3 seconds. Now add the onion paste and fry well for 12-15 minutes. Make sure to stir a few times while it’s frying to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. The onion paste will begin to loose all its moisture at this point.
Now add the chopped ginger and garlic and fry for 2 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric and chilli powder and fry for a minute. Stir well to scrape off the pan it its sticks to the bottom. At this stage add the pureed tomato and fry for 5 minutes. Stir well and add the marinated lamb along with any leftover marinade. Stir and cook on a medium to high heat sealing the lamb pieces for 7-8 minutes. Season to taste
With the heat on a low setting now stir well mixing all the spices along with the lamb and with the lid on cook the seyal gosht for 45 minutes. Make sure to stir a few times through the cooking just so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Now add the cardamom powder and coarsely ground caraway seeds. Continue cooking on a low heat with the lid on for a further 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander and green chillies. Serve with chapattis or pulao and some salad.