Friday, September 30, 2011

Kid Stewed With Potatoes

No, I'm not recommending you eat your children - although I hear they can be tasty. An unexpected gift of goat meat today sent me to my cookbook collection to find recipes, and well, I couldn't resist sharing this one with you. With a name like this, it's just got to be fabulous.

Kid Stewed With Potatoes
from My Bombay Kitchen, Traditional and Modern Parsi Home Cooking
by Niloufer Ichaporia King

Kid papeta ma gos is a dish for festive occasions like weddings; meat braised with fried potatoes is enriched and thickened with milk from a cow or a coconut. This is a dish to convert people who think Indian food is not for them. It proves that "spiciness" has little to do with how hot something turns out. It is truly meat and potatoes in excelsis. The method is essentially the same as for a simpler braised meat, kharu gos (see above). Accompany this with a bright green vegetable. Serves 6 to 8.

1 1/2 to 2 pounds well-trimmed cubed shoulder or leg of kid; or lamb, stewing veal, or boneless chicken thigh meat; or 4 to 6 lamb shanks, sawn in halves or thirds
2 teaspoons Ginger-Garlic Paste (see below)
6 tablespoons ghee
6 to 8 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered lengthwise
2 to 3 dried red chiles
2 (2-inch-long) sticks cinnamon or cassia
4 cardamom pods
4 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large onion, finely chopped or sliced
4 to 5 cups rich milk, half-and-half, or coconut milk 
1 teaspoon (or more) salt
Sprigs or whole leaves of fresh coriander (cilantro), for garnish

Rub the meat with the paste and let it sit for at least half an hour.
Heat half the ghee in a heavy skillet or pan or medium-high heat. Fry the potatoes until they get a golden skin. Remove them from the pan and set aside. In a Dutch oven, heat the remaining ghee. Sizzle the chiles, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and cumin seeds for a minute before quickly the adding the onion. Lower the heat and let the onion soften and begin to brown for a few minutes. Add the meat, tossing it constantly so that it colors without burning or sticking to the pan. Add splashes of water as necessary to keep things from sticking.
Pour. in enough milk to come up to the top of the meat without flooding it. Add about 1 teaspoon salt for a start. Bring the liquid to a boil; lower the heat, cover, and let the meat simmer gently until it's tender but not in shreds, which will take at least 45 minutes for kid or lamb, an hour for veal, and less than half an hour for chicken. Lamb shanks will take about 1 1/2 hours. Halfway through the cooking, add the fried potatoes. the milk will cook down into a thick, curdy gravy. If you want a smooth sauce, remove the whole cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves before giving the cooking liquid a few pulses in a blender or food processor, then return it to the pan.
Serve garnished with the fresh coriander.

Ginger-Garlic Paste
Every Parsi household must have its supply of this paste. In households where there is a grinding stone and a person to do the work, it is prepared every morning, along with the other pastes needed for the day's menus. the preparation of pastes is now more often done in an electric wet-dry grinder, which can almost duplicate the smooth texture produced on a stone. Fortunately, Ginger Garlic Paste can also be easily prepared in a food processor. It keeps well for up to two weeks refrigerated, and even longer in the freezer. Or if you're in a rush, you can combine equal quantities of very finely chopped or grated peeled fresh ginger and garlic, just as much as you need for the recipe. Makes about 1 cup.

About 1/2 cup roughly chopped peeled fresh ginger (about 4 ounces)
About 1/2 cup roughly chopped peeled cloves garlic
About 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
Vegetable Oil

In a wet-dry grinder or food processor, grind the ginger and garlic to a smooth paste, using as little water as possible. Add the salt if you plan on storing the paste. Pack it into a small, tightly covered jar with a nonreactive lining to the lid. Pour a thin film of oil on top of the paste. Store in the refrigerator.

Note: Ginger-garlic paste is now commercially available, both in India and in the United States. It's a good idea to look at the ingredients before you buy any. I like Poojiaji's for emergencies because it is preserved with small amounts of vinegar and salt rather than additives with a metallic aftertaste. Of course, nothing is as good as a paste ground at home.

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