The first thing that normally comes to the mind of a non sindhi would be sindhi kadhi, when they hear the word sindhi kitchen. Yes no doubt about it that the sindhi kadhi is so delicious that its fame has really spread.. This delicious kadhi accompanied by crisp potato tuk and meethi boondhi is a scrumptious meal, which is normally had on lazy sundays for lunch, because it leaves you feeling so satiated that you just need to have that lethargic nap.( do we really need that excuse to nap?..hmmmm…)
Sindhi cuisine has its influences from varied cultures, and what comes across is that this delicious food actually is quite simple to cook and needs few basic ingredients generally. Which leaves people rather surprised and asking “is that all?” In my kitchen I don’t cook Sindhi food very often since my cooking has been influenced by regional cooking of India.. my food will generally have the maharashtrain or bengali or southern Indian touch.But when I do cook Sindhi food then definitely it will be proper Sindhi, be it a pulav , saibhaji and jeeri aaloo combination or khichdi methi aloo and curd, or even bhugal chicken and phulka not forgetting the delicious spicy seyal mani and bread and the yummy loli or koki, or even dal pakwan which my children love.. Sindhi food can be as simple as eating khichdi, fried potatoes and mango slices accompanied by fried khecri or murukus, I remember many a warm summer nights when my mom served just this to us and we ate it with relish.. did we even once think that this was almost a full carbohydrate meal? no, not at all ..those were the good old days….
Sindhi food has a good non vegetarian variety also.. In days bygone it was fish and mutton which were an important part of the Sindhi cuisine, chicken has only gained popularity in Sindhi households in recent years. My late mother in law used to make the best methi machhi ever.. we literally used to lick our fingers when we ate it with a hot phulka. Ah well, food well cooked is food cooked with love..I can go on and on about the various dishes which are part of the Sindhi heritage, but today i will share my Sindhi fusion mutton curry recipe with you.
Early memories of eating mutton bhugal or teevarn as its called in sindhi, was when my mother made teevarn bhugal or daag mein teevarn( onion based)once a week , normally on saturdays or sundays for lunch. my parents were vegetarian, but mom made it for my grandfather and us. Baba(my grandfather) would request our neighbours the sakhranis or chuganis to buy the teevarn because my mother refused to step into the mutton market. For baba, eating teevarn had to go hand in hand with a peg of whiskey or sindhi daaru(country liquor or gin which is infused with fruit peels, pepper, rock candy, saffron and other wonderful ingredients.) Sometimes when special guests were called home for dinner, mom would send me to buy kebabs and bheja fry from this quaint sindhi restaurant called DIL-KUSH restaurant, which was situated not far from agarwal colony where we lived, at the corner of babajan chowk. The kababs were to die for, memories of those kababs still makes my mouth water, served with onion kechumbo.(sliced onions with lime and salt) this old uncle owner wrapped the food in dried leaves and then with newspaper..very eco friendly even then… but then, those were the good old days when plastic usage was minimum. sadly this restaurant shut down in the early 1980″s.
The recipe which i will share now is usually the base for sindhi pawa(trotters, or paya) but I cook my mutton using this recipe of my mother, its easy enough to follow..
Take a square piece of muslin cloth, about the size of a man’s handkerchief and put these spices onto it
1 tsp cummin seeds
1 pc of cinnamon ( about an inch long) and 2 small dried bay leaves
4 cloves and 12 black peppercorns and about 4 cardamoms
4 small shallots and 3 cloves of garlic and a small piece of ginger
2 tbsps raw rice and 1 tbsp raw chana dal
Tie this into a secure potli and make a bouquet garni, put this packet of spices into a pressure cooker, add half kg boneless mutton cubes, and half kg mutton with bone into the cooker, add sufficient water and close the lid, cook for about 8 whistles on medium flame. Remove the bouquet garni, open it gently, and put the spices into a mixer and blend using about one cup of water, strain this spice water and keep aside.
Now take a pot, add about 4 to 5 tbsps of oil, and add 3 finely chopped onions. saute until onions turn pale golden in colour.
Add shah jeeri or caraways seeds to the onions
Add 2 tbsps of ginger garlic paste and continue sauteing
Now add 2 sliced tomatoes and puree of 2 boiled tomatoes
Continue sauteing till every thing comes together and then add dry spices like turmeric, red chillie powder, corriander powder and lastly the king of all masalas …garam masala., season with salt.
Now is the time to add the boiled mutton together with the stock. mix well and let it cook covered for 10 mins, then add the strained spice mixture little by little, using as required, about 3/4 cup should be fine. Cover once again and simmer till your kitchen is engulfed with the fragrance…abt 15 mins on a low flame, adjust the thickness of the gravy , it should be semi thick and slightly sticky due to the starch in the rice.
Finally add lots of chopped corriander leaves , stir and serve hot with phulkas or bread slices.. and some sindhi kechumbo .
Rub some salt onto 2 sliced onions, and leave for 5 mins, then wash under running water, squeeze the water out and put the onions in a bowl . now add 2 sliced green chillies , 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp vinegar. mix well and refrigerate.( i even add grated boiled beetroot and grated carrot to my kechumbo)
FOR VEGETARIANS I WOULD SUGGEST MAKING LOTUS STEM AND POTATOES, USING THE SAME ABOVE METHOD.