Shakooti Rassa

Shakooti Rassa (shah-koo-tcc russ-hu) is a spicy lamb and vegetable dish from the west coast of India. Serve it with Pur is or Chapatti.

6 green chillis, seeded

6 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves

3 garlic cloves

2-inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon salt

16 fl. oz. thick coconut milk

2 lb. boned leg of lamb, cut into

1-inch cubes

5 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter

½ fresh coconut, grated

1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds

1 tablespoon white poppy seeds

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped

1 lb. potatoes, peeled and cubed

Place the chillis, coriander leaves, garlic, ginger and salt in the jar of an electric blender. Blend at high speed, adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of the coconut milk to make a smooth puree. Alternatively, pound the ingredients to a smooth puree in a mortar with a pestle.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the spice puree with the meat cubes. Set aside for 6 hours.

In a medium-sized frying-pan, heat

2 tablespoons of the ghee or clarified butter over moderate heat. When it is hot, add the grated coconut, cumin seeds, poppy seeds, peppercorns, turmeric and nutmeg and fry, stirring constantly, for

5 minutes or until the ingredients are lightly browned. Remove the pan from the heat and set the mixture aside to cool. When the mixture is cool, put it into the blender with

4 fluid ounces of the remaining coconut milk and blend until the mixture forms a smooth puree, or pound in a mortar with a pestle. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat the remaining ghee or clarified butter over moderate heat. When it is hot, add the onions and fry, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Add the coconut and spice puree and fry, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Add the meat and chilli mixture and fry, turning the meat cubes over frequently, for 10 minutes. Pour in the remaining coconut milk, stir well to mix and bring to the boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes.

Add the potatoes and more salt if necessary. Continue cooking, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened.

Remove the pan from the heat. Spoon the shakooti into a warmed serving dish and serve immediately.

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