January 2, 2013

As they say, if you can’t write a post on the first day of the year, do it on the second. So here goes:

The mercury went on a tailspin from the last week of 2012, and on the 30th, after entertaining guests till the evening, the empty house suddenly felt cold and miserable like a Yorkshire moor. The television did nothing to lift my spirits and i found the kitchen, still swirling with warm flovours of the mutton curry i cooked in the afternoon, inviting.

The goulash i had at Taj hotel, Agra (Pic: Dwaipayan Ghosh Dastidar)

The goulash i had at Taj hotel, Agra (Pic: Dwaipayan Ghosh Dastidar)

What now, i asked myself, after switching on the room heater. What would Heathcliff have done were he trapped in a freezing mansion? Pine for Catherine? Nah, a voice told me from within: He would have cranked up the oven and made a pot of Hungarian goulash to keep warm and cheerful!

Now, i did never attempt a goulash before, though i had a nice bowl of it with rice at Taj hotel, Agra. All i could remember was it had a liberal helping of stewed diced carrots and onion rings and that the mutton (they didn’t serve the authentic beef version) was unusually tender.

A version of Hungarian goulash (Pic: cumi&ciki/Flickr)

A version of Hungarian goulash (Pic: cumi&ciki/Flickr)

Determined not to look up the net, i started dicing carrots, onions, tomatoes and garlic pods. There’s a confession for the gastronomic purists: there was no paprika at home, though the mutton chunks were already tender after being marinated in yoghurt for 24 hours.

This, though, was a challenge in itself: the goulash I was to make would take on the flavour of curd; simply put, it could turn into an Indian curry instead of a continental stew. I needed something to neutralize and then overwhelm the curd. What could it be?

The answer lay in the glass in my hand: cabarnet shiraz — Sula’s medium-bodied peppery red wine.

Another take on the authentic goulash (Pic: WordRidden/Flickr)

Another take on the authentic goulash (Pic: WordRidden/Flickr)

The recipe:

The pan was heated in a jiffy and in went the onion and garlic followed by the tomato. A stir later, i sprinkled a liberal helping of oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley and pepper to add a Italian twist to was to come. In went the mutton and after five minutes of lightly stir frying it, i poured about six ounces of the wine and an equal quantity of water, just enough to drown the meat. Covering the pan, i let the thing simmer for 45 minutes during which, ahhh, the house started smelling of winey meat and i instantly felt a tad warmer! A couple of chillies slit down the middle and a sprinkling of salt was added and so were another six ounces of wine or so and three cups of water. After an hour of further simmer — yes, you need to be patient because slow cooking takes time — the goulash or whatever you call it, was ready to be had with a baguette.

And finally, Goulash-e-Hind, my version of a slice of Hungary in Hindustan! (pic: Dwaipayan Ghosh Dastidar)

And finally, Goulash-e-Hind, my version of a slice of Hungary in Hindustan! The meat soaked in an enormous amount of wine and turned beet-red. (pic: Dwaipayan Ghosh Dastidar)

The next day, i looked up an authentic recipe of Hungarian goulash, though by then it was too late or “too good”, as a dear friend put it after polishing off a bowl of the stew with some fresh sesame bread.

A glance at the recipe (http://homepage.interaccess.com/~june4/goulash.html) of June Meyer whose mother is from Austria-Hungary, makes it clear how much i deviated, unknowingly so, from the authentic dish. But as they say, all’s well that tastes well!


6 Responses to “Goulash-e-Hind”

  1. Sharmi said

    Lovely and fabulous language!! And yummmm…

  2. shreya said

    Such yummy dishes. Loved it by the snaps itself. I wish I could have the recipes over with me so that I could have prepared the same as you did. Very nice post. Keep blogging with lots more.

    • netdhaba said

      Hi Shreya,

      Thanks for stopping by and liking the blog. More importantly, thank you for forcing me to log on to my blog after nearly 2 years. Please let me know which recipes you want and that will give me an excuse to write a recipe-laden fresh post.

      Take care

  3. shreya said


    I prepared the dish as u have instructed and it turned out to be just wow. I was actually looking for a spicy mutton roast recipe. If u feel free plz provide me the same I shall be thankful to u. Thank u so much for the warm rep…

  4. netdhaba said

    Hi Shreya,
    Good to know that you made a killer goulash! Wish I could have tasted it 🙂 As for mutton roast, instead of pretending I am the best one to lecture you, here’s a link from the blog of Jamie Oliver, one of my favourite chefs: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/lamb-recipes/best-roast-leg-of-lamb/
    Or, you could go through this detailed Guardian recipe: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/apr/11/easy-roast-lamb-recipe-back-to-basics
    PS: The Brits, i feel, do the best roasts: spicy yet understated

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