A tasty twist

A tasty twist

Down foodpath

I grew up in a family where food was an important part of our conversations. But I learnt how to cook only after I got married. My mother-in-law is a terrible cook and I knew that I had to take over the kitchen so that I could have the kind of good food that I am used to having over the years.

Back home, my mother and grandmother would make the house smell good with their creations. Mom would make the typical Maharashtrian food, while my grandmother was an expert in making Chettinad-style dishes. Weekends would be a food bonanza at home and that’s always one of my favourite food memories.

When I started learning how to cook about 4 years ago, I didn’t really know much. I would burn and overcook the ingredients, but I’ve slowly mastered the art. I started buying cook books and learning to experiment with flavours. I realised that cooking isn’t as hard as people make it sound. As long as one adds the right amount of salt and spices, everything will taste good. I do, however, think that one needs to be in a good mood to whip up something delicious as well.

I find cooking and baking to be a stress relieving therapy after a tiring week at work. Though I cook almost all the cuisines, Indian dishes are one of my favourites. I love the amalgamation of spices and masala and that gives out a great result at the end. Though there are other similar cuisines that involve the same process, Indian dishes have its own charm.

I’d like to believe that I enjoy cooking and baking equally, but a little voice inside my head tells me that I love baking a bit more than the other. With cooking, if something goes wrong, you can always add something else to make it taste better, whereas with baking, it is the exact measurements that give the right results.

Though I learnt it the hard way, I’m proud to say that today, my chocolate brownies are one of the most demanded baked goodies. Due to popular demand of recipes, I started a blog called Flavor Flame Fusion.

I always thought cooking would be like rocket science — impossible to achieve. Even the sound of the grinder used to scare me. But my mother has been a huge support. I would call her countless number of times in a day to find out about a certain recipe. Though she’s a fantastic cook, I am ecstatic to say that my ‘mutton biryani’ is much better than my mother’s; I have my father and sister to vouch for that too!

The recipe that I’m sharing today is Seyal ghosht, a Sindhi-style lamb gravy. The word seyal means slow cooking the meat in its own juices along with a blend of onion paste and herbs. The slow cooking of the meat along with a mild spice concoction creates a unique, rich and flavourful gravy. This dish can be served with any type of roti, naan or plain rice.


Seyal Ghosht


Chopped onions - 2
Tomatoes - 2
Full fat yoghurt - 1 cup
Coriander leaves - 2 sprigs
Green chillies - 4
Lamb (few with bones)       - 1 kg
Cinnamon stick - 1 inch
Bay leaves - 2
Black cardamom - 2
Green cardamom - 4
Whole black peppercorn       - 2 tbsp
Cloves - 4
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Coriander powder - 2 tbsp
Cumin powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste


In a blender, add the yoghurt, red chillies, coriander leaves and whole black peppercorns. Blend them into a fine paste.

Rub this mix to the lamb pieces and let it marinate for a minimum of 2 hours.

In a wok, add 2 tbsp of oil and fry the chopped onions until golden brown. Once cool, blend it to a fine paste and set aside.

Next, blend the tomatoes to make a smooth paste and set aside.
In a large wok, heat some oil and add the whole spices (cardamom, cinnamon stick and cloves). Let them splutter and make the oil fragrant.

Add the pureed onion and ginger garlic paste. Cook till the raw smell disappears and the oil starts to separate.

Once the onion paste is cooked, add the tomato puree and stir in. Cook till all the water evaporates from the mixture, on medium flame.

You may now add in the dry spice powders (coriander, red chilli, turmeric) and salt to taste. Now, add the marinated meat and stir well to coat the pieces. Marry all the ingredients.

Check for spice and salt levels. Reduce the heat to a low flame and cook the meat with a close lid until it is completely tender. This will take a good 40 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the quantity of the meat.

Occasionally, open the lid to stir and ensure the gravy does not stick to the bottom. You may add additional water based on the consistency preferred.

Once the meat is tenderised and the gravy has reached its desired consistency, the dish is ready to be served hot with.

Jyothi Varne
(As told to Anila Kurian)