Showing posts with label saunf. Show all posts
Showing posts with label saunf. Show all posts

Apr 5, 2016

Haak Maaz (Kashmiri Collards with Mutton)

Haak Maaz Kashmiri Mutton with Collards Indian goat recipe sheep

This is the famous staple dish of Kashmir called haak maaz. Haak refers to the unique variety of collards grown in Kashmir. Maaz is the Kashmiri word for the meat of either a sheep or goat. Simply served in a clear broth, the collard greens are braised with mutton and traditional spices until tender. Not something you'd typically think of as a "curry" or even as Indian perhaps. It is more like a soup or stew in Western terms. Ground fennel, smoky black cardamom, rich Kashmiri mirch, peppery cassia bark, and fiery dry ginger provide the warm aromatic notes that perfectly compliment the gamy mutton in this recipe. Traditionally served with heaps of the short grained rice raised in Kashmir, this rustic dish would be excellent served as a hearty meal with a crusty loaf of French bread too. 

Haak Maaz Kashmiri Mutton with Collards lamb

As it is a cold weather sort of dish it would've probably been more appropriate to post this in the Fall or Winter. I am posting this now as the haak or Kashmiri collards will soon bolt in the heat and fall prey to the caterpillars of Spring. Most of Kashmir lies above 5,000 feet in altitude and has a cooler climate than my subtropical valley here in Nepal at 3,000 feet. This year's haak will just be coming up in the warming spring weather of Kashmir after the snows have recently melted. I can only grow haak in my subtropical valley October through March. So here's what Kashmiri haak looks like in both it's cooked and uncooked states. If you'd like to grow a similar variety of haak in western countries I'd recommend "Georgia Southern" collards.

First, the haak is cleaned and rid of any fibrous stems by tearing. Then you basically start making a stock for the dish. Save all your bony, cartilaginous, and or sinewy pieces of mutton for this dish, those are the parts that make the most delicious broth. The mutton pieces are fried to add flavor by caramelization. Kashmiris would add just garlic or asafoetida but I also add a little onion for a richer stock. Remember this has to be a clear broth so the garlic cloves are left whole. The spices are added but not tempered, the mutton is then combined with the haak and left to braise until tender. A pressure cooker makes short work of this and a slow cooker would probably work well too.

1/2 kg or 1lb mutton cut into 3-4 inch pieces, bone in preferred
1/2 kg or 1lb collard greens
2 TBS cooking oil (mustard oil if you wish to be authentic)
2 tsp salt
1/4 C onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic/lahsun, whole or 1/2 tsp asafoetida/hing
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch ( or 1 tsp paprika plus 1 tsp cayenne powder)
2 tsp ground fennel/saunf seeds
1 tsp dry ginger/adrak
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
3 black cardamoms/kali elaichi, bruised in a mortar and pestle
12 black peppercorns/kali mirch, ground coarsely

Here's what to do:
1) Strip collards/haak by tearing the leaves away from the stems and woody bits. I cheat and use a kitchen shears.

2) Clean collards/haak of any debris or insects by immersing it in salt water for about 30 minutes. 

3) In heavy bottomed stock pot or pressure cooker fry mutton pieces in cooking oil of choice with 1 teaspoon salt until beginning to brown. Kashmiris called this color red not brown. (This led to a bit of confusion when I was told to fry meat until red. Meat is red when raw. How do you fry it until it is red?)

4) Add onion, garlic, and all spices to fried mutton pieces. Add enough water so that mutton is covered by at least 1/4 of an inch.

5) Add cleaned collards/haak and 2 teaspoons salt to mutton and spice mixture in pot.

6) If using pressure cooker seal lid in place and allow to cook for 5-6 steams for a Nepali goat or 3-4 whistles for a Kashmiri sheep.  If using stock pot add 3 cups water and simmer covered for 3 to 4 hours until meat is tender adding water a 1/2 cup at a time as necessary to prevent drying out. If using slow cooker make sure the meat is covered by at least a 1/2 inch of water and allow to cook covered for 4-5 hours until meat is tender. Salt to taste and serve warm.

Helpful hints:

This dish can also be made with lamb or venison, adjust cooking time accordingly.

This dish can also be made with baby bok choy or kohlrabi leaves instead of collards. In the late Spring and Summer when we can't grow haak I make this dish with baby bok choy, as Summer ends I make it with kohlrabi greens.

Do not make this with turnip greens. I made this with turnip greens once and it was met with resounding disapproval from my Kashmiri family. I know, their neighbors the Punjabis eat turnip greens in their delicious "saag" but for whatever reason Kashmiris will not eat turnip greens unless they are cooked with turnips. Who knew?

Apr 3, 2016

Ingredient of the Week: Fennel, Saunf, or Badian

Fennel, saunf, badian, finocchio, fenouil, fenchel, hinojo, marathon, barisaunf, madhurika, adas, wooi heung, whatever you wish to call it here 'tis:

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a hardy perennial herb belonging to the carrot, parsley, and celery family. It features feathery leaves, tiny yellow flowers, and glaucous green hollow stems. Fennel prefers sandy, well drained soils and a moderate climates as found in it's native habitat along the shores of the Mediterranean. Fennel is also considered an invasive pest in my native California and you will often see it growing wild along the sandy shoulders of highways and roads.

All parts of the fennel plant are edible, including the bulbous roots, strongly flavored leaves, and it's seed like fruits. The licorice-like flavor of flavor of fennel comes from the aromatic compound "anethole." Anethole is the same terpenoid responsible for the unique flavor of anise and star anise, hence the similar aroma and taste. Fennel tends to be a bit milder in licorice flavor than anise or star anise.

Many Desi cultures use fennel seeds in their cuisines. In the Kashmiri language fennel seeds are called "badian," and interestingly anise and star anise are called badian in Kashmiri too. "Saunf," "madhurika," and barisaunf are other names fennel seeds are called by in Desi-dom. Fennel seeds are a dominant flavor in many savory Kashmiri dishes, Gujarati cooking, and are one of the five spices in the classic spice mix called "panch phoran" used in Nepali, Bhojpuri, Maithili, and Bengali cuisines.

 Fennel seeds' warm, aromatic, licorice-y, and sweet notes are a great pairing with the gamy flavor of the mutton or goat so favored in Desi cuisines. Surprisingly to me fennel seeds also add an interesting punch to blander dishes such as dals too. The flavor of fennel seed tends to grow upon cooking, if not judiciously used fennel's bold flavor can overtake an entire dish.

"Mukwhas" is a breath freshener and digestive aid commonly served after meals in Desi countries. I'm sure any Westerners whom have ever been to an Indian restaurant will be familiar with it. Fennel seeds both dry roasted and with colorful sugar or silvered coatings are usually the main ingredient in all the various blends of mukwhas. Mukwhas is derived from the Hindi and Urdu words "mukh" meaning mouth and "vas" meaning smell.  Other mukwhas blends may also include rock sugar, date sugar, coconut shavings, sesame seeds, rose petals, tamarind leaves, cashews, salt, turmeric, coriander seeds, peanuts and cashews.

Helpful hints:
Dried fennel seeds are light green when fresh and slowly age to a dull grey.  For culinary usage always choose the greenest fennel seeds you can find for the best flavor.

An interesting aside:
I have been notified that I have been nominated for the "Best Food Blog"  AND "Best New Blog" awards on the  nepaliaustralian blog so get on over there and vote for my blog if you choose at:

Be sure to check out all the other amazing blogs in all the different categories and vote for all your favorites!!! Winners will be announced in May.
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