There was a time when I found vegetables like zucchini, red capsicum and mushrooms quite cool. What we Indians call ‘exotic’ vegetables. But, all you need to do to discover the real ‘exotic’ is to leave India for a bit and then come back. It is then that you will discover the sheer wealth and variety of produce that grows in India (Pro tip – follow the hashtag #IndianFoodMovement and #KnowYourDesiVegetable and your head will be blown).
For example, I am ashamed to confess that it took me almost six years of cooking professionally to learn that chickpeas didn’t just come out of tin but you could them in their fresh green form too. After this I wanted to learn more about all the cool produce we have and just this winter that I have discovered things like red amaranth (laal chawli), purple yam, ponkh and rat tail radish (laal mougri).
Since a few months now, I have about five screenshots of recipes of Bhaji Dana ma Gosht on my desktop. Some are from blogs and others contributed on Facebook groups. I have been meaning to try out the dish but frankly eat a ton of veges is not on any Parsi’s priority list and I had so much leftover Umbariyu to get through that cooking some more spinach was not something that I really wanted to do.
However, I did want to start off this year’s #AtoZChallenge with a cool recipe and A for Apple yielded zero exciting brain waves. I was complaining about this to my partner which she was reading some listicle about how Amaranth is the new Kale and ‘Ting’ the light bulb went off in my head. I decided to make Bhaji Dana ma Gosht (finally) but instead of spinach I would use Amaranth and on an impulse I decided to replace the green pea ‘dana’ with green chickpeas instead! While the traditional recipe uses chopped leaves, I decided to puree mine and make it into a Palak Paneer-esque style creamy gravy.
I am happy to report that my experiment was successful and it passed the #BawaGroom gobble test. Here’s how you can make some too.
Bhaji Dana ma Gosht
- 2 onions, chopped & made into a paste
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 bunch Amaranth leaves
- 1 tsp dhana-jeera masala
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 0.5 tsp red chilli powder
- 500 gram boneless mutton
- 100 ml fresh cream
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 200 gram fresh green chickpeas (harbhara chana)
- salt to taste
- 200 ml oil
- Chop the onions roughly and make a paste out of it in a food processor. Fry this paste in some oil until the moisture evaporates and it turns brown. Set aside.
- Roughly chop the Amaranth leaves and saute them in some oil. Make a paste of the leaves in the food processor and set aside.
- Peel the fresh chickpeas (Harbhara Chana) and boil them for 10 minutes in hot water. Keep aside.
- In a pressure cooker, add the leftover oil, the onion paste and the ginger garlic paste. Saute for 2 - 3 minutes.
- Now, add in the dry spices - the dhana jeera powder, garam masala and red chilli powder.
- Once the spices no longer have a raw smell, add in the Amaranth paste as well as the mutton and salt. Saute for another couple of minutes. Add in about 500ml of water and close the pressure cooker. Allow to cook for about 3 whistles and 10 minutes on slow.
- Once the pressure is released, open the pressure cooker and allow the gravy to simmer - you want to create a thick gravy. Add in the fresh chickpeas at this stage so that they absorb some of the flavour.
- Finish the gravy by adding the cream. Turn off the gas and finally add the lemon juice. Serve hot with soft pav or roti's.