Down memory lane: This Eid, enjoy my mother’s recipe of Mutton Dum Piyaza!
Each Eid reminds me of the happy times I spent celebrating Eid as a kid at my maternal grandparents’ house in Rawalpindi some 20 or more years ago. Funnily enough, it was the hustle and bustle the day before Eid that I found most exciting.
Being the eldest grandchild, I believed my job was the most important one; to make sure the mehndi was prepared well in advance. This was achieved by constantly nagging my Ammi and khalas. Mind you this was not the instant cone mehndi era, a lot of time and effort was put in preparing dry Mehndi with brewed tea and mustard oil. It was left to sit for hours before it could be applied on the hands.
The kitchen was the most happening place for me. Haleem and kheer was prepared a day before Eid. Six-eight kilos of kheer were prepared on the outdoor firewood stove as the daighcha (similar to a giant stock pot) was too big to fit on the conventional gas stoves in barri Ammi’s (my maternal grandmother’s) kitchen. The kheer would take five to six hours of physical labour to become thick, creamy and light pink in colour. The trick to perfect Kheer was to stir it constantly for six hours to ensure it does not get burnt at the bottom of the pan as this could spoil the taste and smell of the kheer.
That much labour was not one man’s job. So Ammi, my khalas, mamoos, Sheeda-the cook, Shayra- the cleaner, Jan bhai – the driver plus gardener – all took turns to stir the kheer for six hours. Barray Abbu (my maternal grandfather) was the final authority and quality control office who would sign off on the kheer before it was finally cooled, ladled in to serving bowls and decorated with silver leaf, slivered almonds and pistachios.
Those who contributed their muscle power to stirring the kheer were the first ones to be offered the kheer on Eid day. I find myself smiling as I recall those cherished Eids I had spent at my grandparents’ house. Technically I should be sharing the recipe for that very kheer but The Express Tribune had asked me to write a savoury, meaty post for Bakra Eid so here it is.
This is a recipe from my mother’s Eid menu, one that was a favourite and befitted the Eid dastarkhuan perfectly; Mutton Dum Piyaza.
You will need a pressure cooker and a non-stick pan with a lid to get started!
Mutton – ½ kg
Onions – 3 large – sliced
Tomatoes – 4 medium sized (chopped)
Ginger paste – 1 tsp. (heaped)
Garlic Paste – 1 tsp. (heaped)
Oil – 5 tbsps. (I prefer sunflower oil)
Cinnamon Sticks – 2 (1 ½ inch long)
Black Cardamom – 2 whole
Roasted cumin seeds (zeera) – 1 tsp. (heaped – slightly crushed in pestle mortar)
Roasted whole coriander seeds – 1 tsp. (heaped- slightly crushed in pestle mortar)
Dried red chillies – 4 whole
Cloves – 6
Black Peppercorn – 8-10 (whole)
Salt – 1 tsp. (adjust to taste)
Water – 1 ½ cup
Garnish for Dum (steaming):
Large onion – 1 (sliced in rings)
Medium sized tomatoes – 2 (sliced in rings)
Green chilli – 1 (thickly cut)
Ginger –julienne – 1 tbsp.
Oil – 2 tbsp.
Roasted cumin seeds – 1 tsp. (heaped – crushed)
1. Heat five tablespoons of oil in a pressure cooker and add the mutton. Sauté it on high heat for three to four minutes till it changes colour on all sides.
2. Add the ginger/garlic along with all the whole dried spices to the meat (cumin, coriander, cloves, cardamom, peppercorns, and cinnamon). Fry for one to two minutes. Don’t let the garlic burn.
3. Add onions and fry them till they are translucent. No need to brown them. Deglaze the pan as per need with ¼ cup of water and cook the onions further. Ensure nothing gets burnt at the bottom.
4. Add salt and chopped tomatoes. Cook further for one minute. Add about a cup of water. Mix and put on the lid to pressure cook the meat. The meat I use takes about 15 minutes of pressure cooking resulting in 3/4 of the meat tendering done. The rest is cooked during dum (steaming).
5. Once the pressure cooking has been done, remove the lid and check the tenderness of the meat. Once the meat is tender to your liking then proceed with shifting the meat and the liquid into a non-stick pan to dry the water over high heat.
WARNING: Watch out for aggressive boiling bubbles jumping out of the boiling liquid. It will splatter on the stove and your hands. Protect your hands; the stove can be cleaned later.
6. Once ¾ of the liquid has dried, add two tablespoons of oil and cook further till all the water dries up and the oil comes out on the sides.
7. Lower the heat to the minimum. Now add layers of sliced onions, green chillies, julienne ginger and tomato slices. Also sprinkle the crush cumin seeds.
8. Close the lid lightly and let the raw vegetables steam cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes.
9. Open the pan and mix it. Serve it with a garnish of fresh coriander and green chilli.
This dish pairs beautifully with roghni naan, give it a try and let me know what you thought of this heart’s delight!
The expat Pakistanis in the Far East like me celebrated Eid yesterday on October 15th so Eid Mubarak to everyone back home!
Please pray for peace, stability and harmony to return to Pakistan and let’s not forget to include the less fortunate ones in our celebrations.
Have a scrumptious Eid!
PHOTOS: AMBREEN MALIK
This post originally appeared here.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.