Monday, March 4, 2013


Life was so much simpler when my biggest dilemma in life was deciding between having vada sambhar or idli sambhar?  This was as a child or during my growing up years! Stepping into matrimony changed all of this. Time and again it was emphasized that the way to man's heart is via the stomach, this trek has been quite treacherous! My mom-in-law's single minded passion was cooking, she was renowned for her culinary skills - hence I say my trek has not been an easy climb!!

Among the innumerable  dishes that she so dexterously dished out  the spicy Tahari was one of them.
Friday night casserole - The spicy tahari with yoghurt dip was also a huge favorite of my family.
My daughters who are happily settled in matrimony  get nostalgic about this dish, so this post is on popular demand from within my family and friends as well.
*Forewarning: The use of spices such as red chilli powder, green chilli paste, various other spices makes Tahari  spicy but tangy as well!!

Cooking and preparation time about 45 minutes. Serves 6-7
1 kg Mutton
3 cups Basmati Rice + 1/4th cup of masoor dal/Red lentil.

 2-3 small onions sliced
3 tomatoes chopped
2 medium sized potatoes peeled and diced
1 cup oil
1 tbsp Red chilli powder 

1teaspoon turmeric (1/2tspn when pressure cooking mutton and 1/2 tspn at the time of cooking.)
3-4 green chilli (grind to a paste along with 1/4th bunch of cilantro)
2 tbsp ginger and garlic paste 
11/2 tsp dhania powder/coriander powder/
1tsp zeera powder/cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
½ cup yogurt 

 Salt to taste 
few sprigs of curry leaves
 ½ tbsp Black Pepper corn
1-2 Cinnamon Stick
3-4 Cloves
2-3 cardamom

1bay leaf
Juice of one lime.

1-2 tablespoon butter/ghee
Water to pressure cook mutton 1/2 cup and water to cook rice.
Seasoning & Garnish
Coriander leaves and Mint Leaves( finely chopped )

Clean and wash the mutton pieces & drain thoroughly. 

Wash the rice and soak it in surplus water for about 1/2 hour.
Pressure cook the mutton, adding about 1/2 cup water, 1/2 tspn salt, 1/2tsp turmeric powder,  pressure cook for about 3-4 whistles. Let it cool.
In a heavy bottomed pan add oil and heat, to the hot oil add the diced/cubed potatoes and fry until golden brown, remove the fried potatoes on a paper towel and leave it aside. To the remainder of the hot oil add the thinly sliced onions & fry till they change color - translucent.
Add cinnamon stick, cardamom,black peppercorns, cloves, bay leaf and curry leaves. Let it splutter and fry.

Add ginger & garlic pastes along with the green chilli and cilantro paste, fry for a minute. 
Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder,dhania powder and zeera powder and cook for a minute or two. Then add chopped tomatoes and yoghurt and cook until well blended and the oil floats atop.
Add the mutton and cook until well blended i.e would be a minute or two. Add lemon juice,salt, chopped cilantro and mint leaves. Add water.
The ratio when cooking rice is 40:60 (40 rice and 60 water.) Drain the rice and add as the water is about reach boiling point.
Allow to cook at a medium heat,for about ten minutes then add potatoes,sprinkle the garam masala over the rice.To enhance the flavor I add a tablespoon or two of butter or ghee at this point. Cook on low heat for another 6-7minutes,ensuring the lid is tightly placed on the pan.
Before serving garnish yet again with fresh coriander leaves and mint leaves.
Yoghurt dip/chutney would be great accompaniment.

Tip: Addition of butter/ghee not only enhances the flavor it adds texture to the rice,ensuring they do not turn out sticky!!