Mughlai cooking in India is popular for all the right reasons. Deep, rich flavours with spices that are at the helm of curries. The warmth in these curries and the layers of flavours are second to none. Dishes like nihari and kofta are part of the repertoire.
Visiting family homes for a traditional Mughlai feast was always a treat. My favourites include murgh mussallam, kheema and korma. Mughlai cooking is renowned for its variety of kebabs and biryanis; both are a must at celebratory occasions & weddings as well. There are lots of authentic Mughlai restaurants worth trying out in Delhi and Bombay serving an array of dishes with closely guarded family recipes that have been used for generations.
My favourite include Delhi Darbar in Bombay for their drool worthy biryanis, also Karims and Moti Mahal in Delhi are worth checking out. A few friends in Delhi also recommend the Great Kebab Factory and Parathewalli galli as well.
I always make an attempt to replicate that taste and this Nalli gosht recipe is just that! A deliciously thick curry with ground spices, yoghurt and fresh coriander with lamb shanks soaking in all the flavours.
The recipe is a tad lengthy and also will need time and slow cooking but the wait and all the effort will be rewarded with perfectly cooked lamb shanks with meat falling off the bone.
4 lamb shanks (preferably small ones; you can get the butcher to trim them as well)
6 cloves of garlic
2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (mild paprika)
1 tsp coriander powder
For the curry;
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
1” cinnamon stick broken in half
6 green cardamom pods
12 black peppercorns
2 medium white onions thinly sliced
2 green chillies slit lengthwise
½ tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or mild paprika)
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 heaped tbsp tomato puree
4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
Salt to taste
½ tsp nutmeg
Fresh coriander chopped for garnish
1 tbsp lemon juice
Add the lamb shanks to a bowl. Blend the garlic and ginger with a little water to a fine puree to form a paste. Mix the chilli powder and coriander powder with the paste. Marinate the lamb shank in this spice paste for a few hours or even overnight.
To make the curry; in a heavy bottom large sauce pan heat the oil along with the butter. Add the cinnamon stick, green cardamom, cloves and peppercorn. Sizzle for a few seconds as they infuse the oil. Now add the onions and cook on a medium flame for 10-12 mins stirring often. Add the slit chillies and stir. The onions will start to soften and go light brown; at this stage add the chilli, turmeric and coriander powder. Stir well to cook the spices. If it gets too dry add a splash of water.
Add the tomatoes puree and frying for a minute making sure the spice mix does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Tip in the marinated lamb shanks sealing the pieces and cooking for 7-10 minutes. Add the Greek yoghurt along with the water and stir well to make a creamy gravy. Season to taste. Bring the curry to a boil and simmer for an hour stirring half way through the cooking process. Make sure to turn the lamb shanks over to coat them in the curry. Now add the nutmeg powder. Stir well and simmer with the lid slightly open for 20-25 minutes. The lamb at this stage will be tender and the curry will thicken. Garnish with coriander and some lemon juice. Serve with roti or naan and your choice of salad.