A simple Aloo Ghost (Meat and Potato Curry) is one of those dishes that is loved by everyone. This dish perfectly defines what comfort food is on a cold winter’s day. Today however, I am not sharing the recipe for aloo gosht. If anything can meet the level of this perfect specialty, it is Shaljam Gosht Curry (Turnip and Meat Curry). Few things are tastier than a rich, steaming pot of mutton curry with chunks of beautiful shaljam (turnip).

With the cold slowly spreading across the country, turnips are a new addition to the shelves at vegetable markets. I remember eating sweet shaljam gosht in the form of a bhujiya (dry), as this is how it was always made in my family and in most Punjabi families. After my marriage, I learned to cook shaljam gosht curry from my mother-in-law. This is a Kashmiri adaption of the dish.

My mother-in-law makes it in a curry form just like aloo ghost but with the addition of sugar at the end, just like it is done in a bhujia curry. The taste is almost magical. The rich and deeply flavored gravy/ broth, tender chunks of meat and soft textured turnips all combine to give it an authentic taste. I leave it to you to decide which one contributes the most towards the dish’s taste.

Many people cook meat in a pressure cooker first and then make curry using oil and spices; others cook it in oil, add spices first and then cook the meat in water with a lid, or pressure cooker. Either method should deliver the taste and texture. Slow cooking the meat, masala and turnips will yield a flavorsome, rich curry with tender meat falling of the bone and turnips drenched in flavors of a perfect curry (shorba).

For me, texture is the most important thing while cooking any curry. It needs to be perfect, with no visible onions and tomato skins floating around. The perfect curry has a perfect look to it — which also means being able to see oil floating on the surface of the dish. The oil rising to the top never means that the curry is drenched in oil — it just means that curry was cooked long enough for the oil to separate from the water of the curry. This method is indeed a special trademark of traditional Pakistani cuisine. My mother-in-law considers the curry not-well-done if the oil is not separated during the cooking process.

Garnish the dish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with boiled rice.

Ingredients:

  • Shaljam (Turnips) – 4 (medium size)
  • Ghost – ½ kilo (with bone)
  • Onion – 1 (large)
  • Garlic-Ginger paste – 1 tablespoon
  • Tomatoes – 2 (medium)
  • Green Chilies – 3
  • Salt – 1 teaspoon
  • Red Chili Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric Powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Coriander Powder – ¾ teaspoon
  • Sugar – 1 teaspoon
  • Fresh Coriander Leaves – as required
  • Oil – ¼ cup
  • Preparation time : 30 minutes
  • Cooking time : 120-150 minutes
  • Number of servings (yield) : 5

Instructions:

  1. Peel the turnips and cut them each into two or four part, as desired. Soak them in a bowl of water so they don’t turn brown
  2. In a pressure cooker, add meat with a cup of water, onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for 10 minutes after the whistle starts blowing (Caution: Carefully open the pressure cooker lid)
  3. Now let the meat cook on normal heat until the remaining water in the meat is completely dried. Stir continuously to mash the onions, garlic and ginger
  4. Now add oil to the meat and fry the meat and onion puree. Stirring occasionally until the onions turn golden brown
  5. Add in the blended tomatoes and all the spices. Add half a cup of water to the masala to avoid burning. Stir the masala vigorously, mashing the tomatoes into the onions
  6. Once most of the water has dried up, turn the heat up high and begin to mash the mixture hard until the mixture seems to come together in a dry clump and the oil begins to separate from the sides (I use a hand blender at this point, directly inside the pot to form a smooth masala)
  7. Add turnips and sugar into the meat and masala. Cook the turnips and meat until the oil leaves the sides of curry. Cook on a low flame for another 10 minutes
  8. When oil rises to the top, add 3 cups of water to the curry. Bring to a boil and lower the flame and cook the curry for an hour. The meat will become tender along with turnips, and the curry will be perfectly balanced with a layer of oil on the top
  9. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander

Fatima Ali

I am trained to be an IT professional. I served National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) for six years after graduating from the same university. As long as I can remember, cooking good food has been my passion and it makes me happy. My cooking lessons were a bit unusual though. Back in the day when digital did not mean much, my father would record cooking shows (knorr ka kitchen, kaukab khuwaja and Zee Khana Khazana – Chef Sanjeev Kapoor) for me to watch endless times later on, before trying the recipes out. I would make brownies and cold cake almost every day while my mother was asleep. This was my way of surprising her every evening. My mother cooks amazing food too and I have tried many of the recipes written in her recipe book. I draw inspiration from a number of chefs from televised cooking shows such as Late Chef Farah, Chef Rahat, Chef Mehboob, BBC Food, Masala TV, Chef Shai, Chef Sharmeen, Master Chef Australia and my ultimate favorite Chef Shireen Anwer. I would not be as good a cook I am now without passive guidance from each one of these.