Nizam Mir Osman Ali was the most exalted among the Indian princes. At one time, he was considered to be the richest man in the world. Accounts of the opulence of his court in his capital – Hyderabad – are awe-inspiring. His love for exquisite food allowed the culinary art to blossom in the city and Osmani Qurma was one of his best loved dishes. Probal Narayan Deb, a great cook and a descendent of a Kolkata Maharaja, cooks this recipe. He inherited it from his grandmother which is how he knows that it’s over 100 years old. He also says the dish will bring a sparkle to the eyes of whoever eats it. Prabal’s grandmother learnt it from the Bwarchis, specialist chefs, who used to prepare dinner parties at the family palace.
1.2 kg Shoulder of mutton (goat meat)
100 – 125 gms ghee
2-3 bay leaves
6-8 small cardamom
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tsp white cumin
100 gms onion paste
300 gms onion slice
50 gms ginger paste
30 gms garlic paste
125 gms sour curd (yogurt)
3 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder (for colour)
1 tps turmeric powder
15-20 gms cashew paste
15-20 gms poppy seed paste
10-15 charmagoj paste (local ingredient. Cashew & poppy seed paste be enhanced in case of non availability)
1 litre stock
1½ tbsp coriander leaves
1½ tbsp mint leaves
4-5 green chillies
1¼ cup coconut milk (1st extract)
1 cup coconut milk (2nd extract)
1 tsp saffron
1, Clean mutton, de-bone, cut into 2” pieces, wash and dry.
2. Make 100gms of onion paste. Peel, wash and slice 300 gms of onions.
3. For the curd mixture, whisk in a food processor, the yogurt with the red chilli, kashmiri red chilli poweder and turmeric powder.
4. Finely chop the coriander and mint leaves.
5. Halve the green chillies lengthwise and de-seed.
6. Crush the saffron threads with the back of a spoon and mix it with coconut milk (1st extract).
7. Heat the ghee in a frying pan, add onion paste and fry till golden brown.
8. Heat more ghee in a pan, add bay leaves, white cumin, small cardamom, cinnamon and cloves, stir over medium heat till the cardamoms begin to change colour. The, add the onion slices and stir fry until glossy.
9. Next add ginger and garlic paste and stir fry until golden brown. Add the curd mixture and fry until specks of fat appear on the surface.
10. Now add the meat, salt and sugar to taste and sauté for 8-10 minutes. Add the fried onion paste, the cashew, charmagoj and poppy seed paste stirring constantly till specks of fat appear on the surface. Then add the stock and cook until the meat is tender.
11. Remove the meat and strain the sauce. Once strained, put the meat back in the pot and add coconut milk (2nd extract), green chillies and cook over a medium heat for a few minutes. Finally, add coconut milk (1st extract with saffron) and bring it to the boil.