So here’s something to make up for all the vegetarian food I’ve sent your way lately, just to be clear I absolutely stand by all my veg. food and it was delicious. We’re headed home next week and then soon after Baby Boy’s school re-opens so lots and lots to do before we leave, that means I really can’t afford to chit chat much, but a little I will.
This recipe like the Lal Maas, is my mother in law’s and it’s not just lip smacking, it’s also a life saver, in more ways than one. Mama always made this pickle when her sons a.k.a the husband and his brother, were away at college; all Indian mothers are pretty much obsessed with feeding their children and Mama in particular would probably grow wings and fly across oceans if she found out either one of her sons was not getting enough to eat, so always arming them with a truckload of this pickle made her feel like her sons were taken care of at least for a few months, of course once in college the famous meat ka achaar was devoured by one and all and finished on day one. Mama till date sends this achaar with my brother in law whenever he leaves home for Bombay, she would like to send it with us too but the thought of a bottle with lots of oil rolling around in our bags as it changes three flights is just too much to handle so we just eat our share at home. Like any pickle it stays for months, and can be paired with pretty much anything from rotis to parathas to rice. I love how a pickle, this one in particular, can take a simple meal like dal chawal to a different level altogether. As pickles go, this one is super simple to make, minimum ingredients and spices are used so the meat flavour really comes through. I’ve only ever made it using mutton/goat meat but I’ve had friends who’ve tried this recipe with pork and beef as well and were quite pleased with the results. Here’s Mama’s meat ka achaar recipe, which just doesn’t taste like hers no matter how closely I follow her instructions but it comes pretty close and that’s good enough for me. Give this recipe a try, it might just become a life saver for you too.
- Mutton/Goat meat – 1kg (boneless cut in small bite size pieces)
- Garlic cloves – 50 grams (sliced)
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
- Chilli powder – 5-6 tsp
- Nigella seeds (kalonji) – 2 tsp
- Fennel seeds (saunf) – 2 tbsp
- Cumin seeds (jeera) – 1 tbsp
- Black Cardamom – 2
- Cloves- 7-8
- Bay Leaf (dried) – 2
- Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
- Salt – 2 tsp
- Lime juice – 2-3 tbsp
- Mustard Oil (or canola/vegetable oil) – 350-500ml
- In a heavy bottomed pan of suitable size, add the meat, turmeric powder and salt. Cook the meat on medium heat (covered), stirring it occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. The meat will take about 40 minutes to cook though it depends on the size of the pieces. If the liquids dry up and you find the meat is sticking too much to the bottom of the pan, add water a tablespoon at a time and make sure all the water has completely dried up once the meat is cooked.
- In a separate large pan, heat the oil, add cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf. Then add the cooked meat and keep the flame low-medium so as not to excessively fry the meat which in turn would make it hard. After a couple of minutes add the garlic and continue cooking for a minute or two. * If using mustard oil, heat it to smoking point first, cool slightly then use as usual.
- Take it off the heat and add the fennel, cumin and nigella seeds. Let it cool for 2-3 minutes then add the chili powder and lemon juice. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly.
- Store in a sterilized jar if you plan to keep it for long. I keep the pickle refrigerated in a regular jar with a lid, as it never lasts more than a week.
* Various other spices and nuts can be added, however we like to keep it simple so the flavour of the meat really shines through.
* This can also be made with bone in mutton but keep in mind it won’t stay for as long.
* If you want to store it longer you’ll probably need to add the entire 500ml oil, otherwise 350ml is enough.
* If topped with enough oil, it will keep for a month refrigerated; can be re-heated before serving.
* If you need to add more oil at a later stage, heat the oil, let it cool and then add it to the pickle.