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LAMB PEPPER WITH CHIRONJI

March 3, 2012 6:59 pm 0 comments

Lamb Pepper with Chironji is an exceptional meat preparation that tastes extremely well, spiced with black pepper and green chilies. This dish is one of the finest delicately rich mutton recipes and cooked in a very simple way adding freshly ground spices.

This dish makes a meaty, decadent dish, enriched with subtle flavors and is typically a northern India dish. Generally the style of cooking meat dishes is elaborate in north India as they are basically influenced by the Moghul cuisine. The lamb pepper with chironji characterizes a rich dish; lamb pieces nicely coated with a thick delicious velvety sauce, fragrant, aromatic rather spicy and hot.

Pepper and Chironji being the main two ingredients in this dish give a hot peppery taste and nutty flavor from the chironji paste. Chironji is a tiny brownish nut used in lots of sweets and korma preparation. It is mainly used in cooking of shahi kind of varieties, rich in taste and flavors. It is an excellent substitute to almonds. Use of chironji gives a wonderful sauce consistency and flavor to your dish. Generally most of traditional authentic lamb dishes like lamb khorma, lal maas, Rogan Josh (a rich meat curry) involves elaborate and expensive ingredients, especially use of the silky cashew paste that gives the sauce a perfect consistency and rich creamy texture and taste. Most of these dishes with this refined ingredient bear witness to the dish’s roots in Moghul royal court cooking. These authentic lamb dishes are gourmet delights reserved for special occasion or wedding banquets.

As Chironji is one of the vital ingredients in this recipe, let’s know some information on Chironji, its uses and benefits. Chironji is also known as Charoli or Saara Pappu. They are the seeds of Buchanania lanzan used as a cooking spice primarily in India. They are tiny almond flavored dried seeds of a bush called Buchanania lanzan, primarily cultivated in the northwest region across India. After the hard shell is cracked, the stubby seed within is as soft as a pine nut.

They are commonly used in sweets in India. However, they are also ground into powders for thickening savory sauces and flavoring batters, and stewed into rich, meaty kormas. Since they taste like almonds, they can be substituted for garnishing Indian popular desserts like Halwa, Kheer, Payasam, Kulfis, Sheer Korma and Double ka meetha.  It is also one of the important spices of India. The seeds are also known for their medicinal benefits. The seeds are used in the Ayurveda and Unani system of medicine.

It is used whole as well as in powdered form. Besides, crushed and powdered chironji is also used in thickening the curries. The powdered form of these almonds like seeds is used as a spice in Indian cuisine. The meat dishes and stews also make use of these tiny seeds. Charooli also enhances the flavors of batters and many drinks. Chopped seeds are also used in salads and soups. The nutty flavor of charoli enhances the taste of kebabs.

Now I will be making this very delicate rich dish of mutton using some simple techniques when you cook this mutton. For this mutton preparation, we would be using 2 methods of preparation. The first process will be cooking the meat in a pressure cooker and then the second is shifting the lamb mixture in a non-stick pan to make it slightly dry. So to start preparing this luscious dish, Lamb Pepper with Chironji, firstly take a blender and add dry spices like coriander powder, cumin seeds, red chillies and chironji. Grind all these ingredients together to form a smooth paste by adding required water and keep aside.

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat some oil and add cumin seeds, finely chopped onion, pinch of salt and fry the onions turn golden brown color. Then add turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste and mix well till the raw flavors are gone. Next add in the blended paste of chironji and mix well and cook for 5 minutes. Add tomato pure and cook till you see oil floating on the surface of the gravy. Now add the mutton or lamb pieces, salt to taste and mix well. Cook this until the mutton is tender and soft.

Once the lamb is done, take a non stick pan and transfer the moisture or gravy from the lamb and cook till it gets thick and then add some garlic and freshly ground or crushed pepper and mix well. Add the lamb pieces and cook until the mutton gets golden brown in color. Plate it in a serving bowl and finally garnish with some freshly chopped coriander and serve hot with naan, roti, chapatti etc.

This one dish, I did most enjoy recently especially when I cooked on a really pinching cold winter day; it made a remarkable spicy lamb creation. Do give it a try.

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