Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Slow-cooked Pot Roast- Pasandey

This dish was our staple in the mid- 1980s. We had just moved back from Dubai, leaving behind an idyllic life. My mother was homesick. We lived in an apartment overlooking the beach. She spent hours gazing out of the window, doodling, listening to music and would wax poetic about old days. The dinner menu was the furthest thing from her mind. We were on a regular diet of torai, daal, chawal and roti and on good days, pasandey. It was delicious in the beginning till we all had too much of a good thing and one of us burst out at the dinner table, 'again'?!!

2 lb. beef (flank steak is best, if not available, use skirt steak or brisket cut)
1 med. onion sliced
1 large onion chopped
*21/2 tsp. coriander powder
*21.2 tsp. cumin powder
*1/2 tsp. red chili powder
*1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 tbsp poppy seeds (khaskhas)
2 cup yogurt
sea salt to taste
olive oil
1 sprig cilantro (chopped)
2 - 3 green chillies (chopped)
lemon wedges
* The spice measure above are restrained. Feel free to adjust based on personal preferences.

- Roast the spices (coriander, cumin, red chili and garam masala powder) in a dry, preheated pan till the mixture turns fragrant and darkens slightly (2-3 mins). Add to the uncooked meat and mix well.
- In a separate hot pan, drizzle oil till the surface is well-coated (about 2 tbsp.) and add the onion slices (to get even thickness, a mandolin is very useful). Once they start caramelizing and browning, remove from heat and add this mixture to the meat also.
- Finally, add the yogurt, diced onions, poppy seeds and salt. Mix well, allow to rest for a couple of minutes and then refrigerate for 2-3 hrs.

- Drizzle some oil on a preheated pan and add the marinated meat. Mix and allow to steam up on high heat.
- Reduce heat to low and let meat cook covered till tender, about an hour.
- Once tender, uncover and cook further till any liquid that has accumulated evaporates and oil starts separating, 20-30 minutes.
- Serve with chopped coriander leaves, chopped green chilies and lemon

My mother's original recommendation at the end of her recipe was, 'eat with paratha'! I like fragrant basmati rice. Both work, your choice. Bon appetit!