Aaloo gosht shorba saalan

by makeupfoodppl

Ok, so I have been craving for simple, home made Pakistani food for a few months now. I guess that’s what happens to most Pakistanis after they’ve been living outside Pakistan for over a few months. I never thought there would come a day, when I would miss dishes like loki ki bhujia, bhindi do pyaza, paalak gosht and most of all, basic, homely, humble, mutton shorba saalan. And then it suddenly dawned on me that I don’t know how to make any of these dishes!

When one lives in Pakistan, this kind of food is made all the time by your khaansaama i.e. domestic cook or your mom/grandma or just somebody. And truth be told, I have taken it for granted all my life. I remember coming home from school as a child and being famished, the first thing that I would ask Abdul, our cook, was ‘What’s for lunch?’ The answer usually was ‘shorba saalan’. (For those who don’t know, ‘shorba saalan’ is a meat based, soup like gravy.) On such days, I would be depressed. And I developed such a dislike for ‘shorba saalan’, that I never learned how to make it. I never thought I would need to. I detested the stuff. And now, as an adult, for the past few weeks, nothing but shorba saalan would do.

I scouted quite a few Pakistani take out joints. And the strange thing is, that even Pakistani restaurants don’t offer this very basic dish. Sure you get nihari, korma, karhai etc. And sometimes they’re even good. But basic mutton shorba? No where. Then I went through my collection of cook books. I have a decent library. Lots of material on pastry, pasta, cakes, and even a couple of indian recipe books. But nothing that has a basic Pakistani shorba saalan recipe. And one thing I have discovered since moving out of Pakistan is that for me, Indian cuisine does not replace Pakistani food. I am not a patriot in any way. I just prefer Pakky food over Indian. There, I said it. And there is a huge difference between the two types of cuisine.

So, next I turned to google. And got a zillion Indian recipes and some Pakistani recipes. But they just didn’t sound right. This morning, however, my luck took a turn for the better. I was on Youtube and came across a channel called ‘CookWithFaiza’. I randomly clicked on a video entitled ‘mutton keema kachori’. It was a well made video, she explained the whole process beautifully and the best part was, she was from Lahore, Pakistan and all her recipes were Pakistani! I went through her list of videos and lo and behold, there it was. ‘Aloo gosht ka shorba’!

I am making it right now. And for those who are interested, here is the recipe:

1 kg mutton chops (Faiza insists we use chops as they impart maximum flavor to the dish, as opposed to other cuts of meat. I did not because there were none available and have used bone on mutton cubes.)

2 large onions, ground into a paste

4 tomatoes, pureed

4-8 cloves

4-8 black peppercorns

1 cinnamon stick

4-5 green cardamoms

2 black cardamoms

1 tsp zeera, whole

1 heaped teaspoon, red chilli powder

1 heaped teaspoon, zeera powder

1 heaped teaspoon, coriander powder

1 1/2 teaspoons, garam masala powder

2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste

1 cup yogurt

Salt, to taste

1 cup ghee or oil

3-4 green chillis

1-2 tsp dried methi

6 medium potatoes, cut in half


Heat oil in a pan. Add whole spices and fry for a few minutes. Add onion paste and fry for a minute or so and add ginger garlic paste. Stir cook for five minutes on high heat. Add the meat and stir cook till it changes color.

Add the ground spices and stir fry for a minute or so. Add the tomato paste and cook on high heat till water is mostly evaporated. Add the yogurt and again cook till water is gone. All this is done on high heat and the pan is uncovered throughout. Add 3-4 cups of water, bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Let it cook till meat is tender. Add potatoes and 1-2 cups of water and cook for 5 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Adjust salt, if needed. Sprinkle with methi, garam masala powder and green chillis. Eat!

Thanks so much CookWithFaiza. You have a fan in me. 🙂