It was DH's birthday this week. In honor of this special occasion, dear readers, I'd like to present one of his all-time favorite dishes to you. Let me tell you though, this isn't a recipe for the faint of heart. It's earthy, it's deep, it's layered, it's soulful, it's spicy, it's rich, and most of all, it's meaty. And in a strange way, it actually tells you a lot about DH himself. Because although DH, and every other red-blooded Pakistani male I know, gets really excited about this dish, it's one that certain ladies with discerning taste (ahem, oui, c'est moi) also secretly drool over. I say "secretly" because we're ladies, and we would never drool in public!
Back to DH. Hmmm. That reminds of this Old Spice body wash advert running on TV here in the US these days - "Look at your man, now look at me, now look at him again, now back to me". AHAHAHAHAAAAAaaaaaaaauuuhhhh, ahem. Sorry. The post-pregnant mind y'see. She wanders.
Seriously now, back to DH. One of the reasons I say this dish reminds me of him is because DH is a guy's guy all the way, talking sports and cars till the cows come home, but he also has the secret superpower to charm the pants off any woman! Ok, wait, maybe not any woman, probably just me. But the ladies do love him, and can I tell you why? Every single girl out there will get it the minute I say it. Because he listens. Oh yes, he really truly does. And he responds, even going so far as to try and understand. There is nothing better than being madly in love with a man who turns out to be your best friend. And that's where I'm going to stop talking about DH in public, before I embarrass him further.
Click here for printable recipe
2 lbs beef fillets, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
2 tsp meat tenderizer powder (optional)
1.5 tsp garlic, crushed
1.5 tsp ginger, crushed
1 tsp poppy seeds (khus khus)
1/2 tsp black cumin seeds
1/2 tsp white cumin seeds
6 green cardamom
1-2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp gram flour (besan)
1/2 cup oil
1 large white onion, sliced
4 small hot green chillies, sliced
1 cup yogurt, whipped
1.5 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
Sliced onion rings for garnish (optional)
1. Grind together the poppy seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, cardamom and cloves.
2. In a large bowl, combine the ground spices with the ginger, garlic, gram flour, red chili powder, turmeric, salt, meat tenderizer powder (if using), and yogurt. Mix well to make a thick paste.
3. Add in the beef fillets and coat them well with the paste. Marinate overnight.
4. The next day, heat oil in a large pan, and saute onions till golden-brown. Add the marinated fillets to the pan, with all of the marinade. Add in half the green chillies. Now cover and cook on low heat for an hour or so, stirring occasionally till meat is completely tender and sauce is thickened to your liking. I add a bit of water at this point, because I adore the gravy, but this is traditionally a dry meat dish, so you can omit the water if you wish.
5. To finish it off, throw in the cilantro, remaining green chillies and the lime juice. Stir to combine, then turn off the heat and serve. The best accompaniment to this is a type of pakistani bread called sheermal - it's slightly sweet and thick and decadent - and you can find it in the freezer section of most Indian/Pakistani specialty stores. Or you can substitute parathas, and they work beautifully too.
Verdict: Man. Oh. Man. This stuff is good enough to make me bite my fingers off as I'm digging into this. It's fantastic as a party recipe. Although the recipe is quite lengthy, you can see how easy the dish actually is to put together. The work is all in the marinade, that's it. But oh, the flavors, dear readers! They sing! So although half the fun in making this dish for me is to see DH's smile light up my heart - and it is an amazing one, dimples n all - the other half is purely for my own selfish satisfaction.