Dalcha (meat and dal)

There are many versions of this dish. The one I learned from is from my Meera Taneja book, that Kevan bought me for a birthday present – in 1981 I think – in Edinburgh. I have probably adapted it a fair bit, but it is still not the dalcha they make in Hyderabad really. But it is a great dish, another good comfort food one. And a very good way to use up bony meat.

1 kg mutton with bones (or with extra bones), cut into chunks and washed.

1 mug orange lentils

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 tablespoons of ghee

1 teaspoon methi seeds

A good handful of karyapak

1 large onion, sliced fine

3 green chillies finely chopped

2 tablespoons G&G paste

1 taspoon turmeric

Two mugs of tamarind juice – about single cream consistency

Large handful or coriander leave

Salt – 3 teaspoons?

First wash, soak and boil the dal in not too much water – just enough to cook it nearly dry.

In a big sauce pan heat the ghee (or the oil if you are feeling healthier), put in the cumin seeds and the methi seeds. Soon as the cumin crackles, put in the onions and chillies, and when they are translucent, put in the g&g paste. Str fry until a nice light brown, add the turmeric and salt and a bit of water now to stop it sticking to the bottom. Keep stirring. Now add the meat, keep stirring till browned, adding water to stop it sticking, cover and cook till tender. Now add the cooked dal, stir it around for five minutes, then add the tamarind juice, the salt, and a good pint of water. Boil and let it all simmer. Garnish with coriander leaves. Absolutely delicious with hot white rice. Soupy and brothy and meaty and bone-y with a lovely hot and sour tang.