This is again one of those meals that’s a product of my imagination. Really, I start planning Sunday lunches on Thursdays, which is incidentally a crazy day at work and this is what keeps me going. Some people think I’m obsessed and others think I’m plain crazy but as for me, I really couldn’t care less because this is something I enjoy doing.
Seriously, I don’t think I’ve overspent in a clothes store as much as I have in a supermarket or a grocery store and if it is one of those places that stocks produce from all over the world, then God save me!
|Lamb chops with veggie pulao and caramelised baby onions
finished with some fresh curd spiked with chaat masala
Coming back to this meal, it was one of those Sundays when it was just my dad and me at home and we wanted to take advantage of that and try something new. Now you must know this – that when my dad meant ‘try’ something it actually means that he gives me the instructions while he’s catching up on the crossword and I’m in the kitchen doing all the beating, stirring and sauteing! – yes, that’s what it was like. And perhaps that’s the reason why I miss him so much, why once or twice I’ve spoken out aloud wondering what to add to the dish next only to realise that I’m talking to myself. This dish actually began as an experiment from whatever we had seen on the telly but as we progressed we began adding our own twists and turns to it to end up with a delicious end product.
Let’s start with the lamp chops
300 gms of lamb chops, cleaned and cut
For the marinade:
1 tbsp of tamarind pulp
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk of lemongrass, chopped
1 small piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tsp of raw papaya paste
Salt to taste
Mix all the ingredients together for the marinade and add some water if it becomes too thick, season it well. Now apply the paste evenly on the lamb chops and allow them to marinate for at least 3-4 hours, don’t exceed 5 hours because the raw papaya is a great tenderising agent and overshooting the time will result in meat that’s way too soft.
On a flat-surfaced pan smear some oil and heat it on a medium flame, place the marinated lamb chops on this and cook until they are done well, stirring occasionally when needed. Continue cooking until they begin to turn brown on the out side. Now at this point you can cover and cook further for another 20 minutes until the chops are done or like me, transfer the chops on to a baking tray and grill them for 15 minutes until done.
For the vegetable pulao
1 cup Basmati rice, soaked in water for 40 minutes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
5-6 French beans, chopped
2 tbsp of green peas
1 inch stick of cinnamon
1 star anise
3 tsp of ginger-garlic paste
2 green chilli, slit
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Heat oil in a pressure cooker and fry the spices in them until they change colour. You can also use ghee instead of the oil for a richer flavour to the pulao.
Now add the onion to this followed by the green chilli, ginger-garlic paste and turmeric and saute well. Once the onions and the spices have begun to lose their raw taste add the rest of the vegetables and the red chilli powder and mix well, stir for a minute or two on a medium flame. Add the soaked rice to this, adjust the salt and mix well. Now add 2 cups of water and allow the pulao to cook for 3 whistles.
For the caramelised baby onions
4-5 baby onions, use the small sambar variety or the spring onion whites
A pinch of sugar
Heat the butter in a pan and add the sugar to this, when the sugar starts melted and turning brown add the onions to this and mix so that the sauce coats it. Cover and let it cook for about 3 minutes.
You can plate this any which way you like but this is what I did – filled some pulao to the brim in a bowl and inverted this on to a plate. On top of this went the lamb chops and I drizzled the residual sauces over the meat. The baby onions went next to this. To balance the flavours, I mixed some fresh curd with salt and some chaat masala and spooned this on the side.
It looks like a gourmet meal and I must admit I was quite surprised at this, my dad more than me actually since I paid attention to the plating, but the ingredients of this dish are simple to put together and all you need is some amount of planning to execute this.
*If your palate leans towards spicy food, then go ahead and add some chilli to the marinade. You can compensate by making a blander rice dish like a jeera pulao or ghee rice.
*Substitute lamb with any other kind of meat if you like, but pay attention to the cooking time.
* Instead of onions you can also cook carrots or turnips the same way.