Legendary Dishes | Palak Gosht / Saag Gosht (lamb and spinach curry)

BANGLADESH INDIA PAKISTAN

Gosht is the traditional ‘curry’ dish of Afganistan, Bangladesh, northern India and Pakistan, each region with its own distinct version of the method developed by the Moguls. This involved an aromatic marinade to tenderise the meat, usually goat and mutton. The combination of garlic, ginger and onions with ground spices – typically cardamom, cinnamon, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, onion seeds and turmeric – has given gosht legendary status among dishes that feature the array of spices available in the Indian Sub-Continent, despite countless interpretations at home and abroad ever since merchant sailors brought their mothers’ recipes to ports everywhere.

Gosht is believed to be the dish that inspired the balti tradition of Birmingham, England in the 1970s.

Gosht made in the traditional Mogul fashion can be found in Indian restaurants all over the world.

Among our favourites are the Indian restaurants in Manchester, England, particularly the Sanaam Restaurant in the southern Manchester suburb of Rusholme.

Among the most popular is the gosht made with lamb and spinach and an assortment of aromatic preparations. It can be a simple affair, with garlic, ginger, onions, tomatoes and lamb and spinach flavoured with red chillies and turmeric, or it can be an elaborate affair Mogul-style with various spice mixtures and aromatic pastes, the meat marinated before cooking!

Adding browned onion paste will give the gosht a korma flavour, adding extra yoghurt will reduce the spicy heat but allow the intense flavours to remain.

Chilli-Spinach Paste for Condiment

  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 30 g spinach, chopped small
  • 4 green chillies

Grind spinach, green chillies and lime juice together to form a coarse paste.

Garlic-Ginger Paste

  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 15 g root ginger
  • 1 garlic clove

Blend garlic and ginger with a little water into a paste.

Browned Onion Paste (optional)

  • 300 g onions, chopped
  • 60 ml water
  • 15 g ghee

Heat the ghee in small frying pan, add the onions, sauté over a medium heat stirring occasionally until the onions display a dark brown colour. Stir 4 tablespoons of water into the onions, stir. Leave the onions to absorb the water, about an hour.

Marinade

  • 120 g yoghurt
  • 30 g ginger-garlic paste
  • 3 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt, large pinch

Mix together yoghurt, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, and garam masala. Marinate the lamb in this mixture overnight.

Spice Mixture 1

  • 1 black cardamom, de-seeded
  • 2 cm cinnamon piece
  • 6 green cardamoms

Spice Mixture 2

  • 10 g black mustard seeds
  • 10 g cumin seeds
  • 6 curry leaves
  • Asafoetia, pinch

Spice Mixture 3

  • 15 g turmeric
  • 15 g garam masala
  • 10 g cumin, ground
  • 10 g coriander, ground
  • 5 g salt

Base Sauce

  • 800 g tomatoes, peeled chopped
  • 600 g onions, chopped into small pieces
  • 400 g root ginger, chopped into small pieces
  • 300 ml water
  • 12 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 6 fresh green chillies, chopped
  • 4 dried red chillies
  • 2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves

Sauté onions in oil in a large pot over a medium heat until they begin to take on colour. Add garlic and ginger, stir for a few minutes. Add the green chillies, fry in the mixture for a few minutes. Remove pot from heat, leave to cool. Add the red chillies, tomatoes and water to the mixture. Blend in stages, stir the fenugreek leaves into the mixture.

Primary Ingredients

  • 1.35 kg lamb, leg / shoulder meat, cut into chunks
  • 650 g yoghurt (optional)
  • 600 g spinach after stalks removed, blanched in hot water for 30 seconds, coarse chopped

Heat oil in a large pot.

Add black cardamom seeds, cinnamon piece and whole green cardamoms (spice mixture 1), fry for a minute.

Add asafoetida powder, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves (spice mixture 2), fry for 10 seconds.

If using add the browned onion paste, stir into the spices.

Add the base sauce followed by coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, turmeric and salt (spice mixture 3). Decrease heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove lid, continue to cook over a medium-low heat, the sauce should bubble with small eruptions (see photo above). Do not stir. Leave to reduce for 90 minutes.

Add lamb with its marinating mixture.

If using add the yoghurt at this stage.

Keeping the heat medium-low, cover and cook until the lamb is tender, about 2 hours.

Add spinach, fold into mixture, cook for 5 minutes.

Serve dressed with the chilli-spinach condiment and a choice of chapati, naan, rice – bread or rice.