The Origination of Pakistani Gosht RecipeThe classic Namkeen gosht has mild, earthy flavors, which is unlike any other recipe that exists in most South Asian cuisines. This dish stems from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and its surrounding regions. These include Afghanistan, Central Asia, and the tribal belt. Namkeen gosht has several variations in other intricate dishes similar to this one. Most mountain people tend to enjoy this kind of meat. It is a way of staying warm and robust through the harsh weather and tough, rigorous terrain involved in these mountain areas. The warrior nature instilled within the Pukhtuns, Mughal ancestors (Mongols), and others in similar mountainous regions primarily encouraged the consumption of undomesticated animals.
Pakistani Namkeen Gosht
- 1 kg/2 lbs of mutton or goat leg, (cut into small pieces)
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ tbsp freshly chopped ginger (see tips)
- ½ tbsp freshly chopped garlic
- Salt 2 tsp (leveled or as per taste)
- 4-5 green chilies slit down the middle (optional, see tips)
- 2 coarsely sliced, medium-sized onions
- ¼ - ½ cup oil (see tips)
- Water as required
- 600 grams yogurt (see tips)
- 5-6 sticks of cinnamon (optional)
- 5-6 pods of cardamom (optional)
Take a deep pan or a big wok add the oil and place it over medium heat. Fry the ginger, garlic, onion, and green chilies for less than a minute, then add the mutton along with the seasonings and spices (salt, black pepper, cinnamon, and cardamom). Stir over high heat for a couple of minutes to allow the meat to release its juice caused by the heat.
Seal the pan with a lid and place it over a simmer on low to medium heat for 20-30 minutes. Eventually, turn the heat down to a low flame and cooking the meat until it is tender enough to fall off the bone. This may ideally take an additional 30 minutes. (see tips)
Avoid adding water, but if required, add a little at a time to complete the process of cooking the meat till it is tender.
Open the pan, stir till you see some oil has raised to the top of the surface. Now discard the onions, cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks (if you wish) and garnish the dish with freshly chopped coriander and green chilies (optional). Serve immediately with naan and lemon wedges to the sides, enjoy!
You can always use a ginger-garlic paste for this recipe; however, it is recommended that you may chop/mince the ginger and garlic to maintain the freshness of the dish.
Note that the level of salt mainly depends on your preference and taste buds. Namkeen gosht must not be mistaken for containing heaps and unhealthy amounts of salt; rather, it is the mildness of this dish that gives it the name.
You may choose to omit the green chilies from this dish; however, it will provide an extra kick of heat and flavor needed to cut through the mildness and the natural flavors of the meat. You can also use whole dried red chilies instead, but If you are not a spice lover, you can skip this ingredient.
If you are using freshly slaughtered meat, the animal fat could easily serve as the fat base to cook the meat, and it should suffice. However, if not, you can always add some oil based on the given measurements.
Instead of yogurt, you could also use a ½ freshly diced tomato. Using yogurt maintains the delicacy and gives an appealing softness to the dish, whereas tomatoes give the dish a more karahi like feel; instead, to distinguish between the two, we prefer using yogurt. However, you must note both are optional to use. Your Namkeen gosht will taste just right without it, in fact, more traditional Namkeen gosht recipes do not contain either of the two. It is just used to intensify the gravy of the dish slightly.
Cinnamon sticks and cardamoms are entirely optional but are preferable; it gives the meat an earthiness to it and enhances the authentic flavors of the meat.
The meat releases juices that gradually evaporate, causing steam to emit within the pan, sealing in the juices of the meat, and slowly cooking it to perfection. The natural juices should be enough to tenderize the meat. However, if the need arises, you can always add a little water at a time just until the meat is fully cooked through. The cooking time may vary, so you have to look out for the dish from time to time. A good trick to see whether the meat is cooked or not is to check whether or not it easily detaches itself from the bone.