So if you spoke to me last year cookbooks, you would most probably heard the statement, “Oh I am so done with them. I find cookbooks boring” and the likes. I went into that phase sometime around two years ago and the phase lasted for a good year or so I think, then came this new breed of cookbooks (or may be I just got introduced to better cookbooks) and my love for cookbooks started all over again. I am still selective about the cookbooks I pick up and I surely look for one which has something more than just recipes because to be honest one can find all recipes on the net today.
But there are such gorgeous books I have found over the last six months that each one has been worthy of falling in love with. The ones that contain beautiful childhood stories like BongMom Cookbook, the ones that have breathtaking pictures like “Persiana” I recently bought and many more. And while this love of cookbooks was growing again, Aparna Jain, the author of the Sood Family Cookbook started a Facebook group which gets together and tries a cookbook every month and I am having such a good time with that group. I haven’t worked with all the books they chose but still I have bought and experimented with atleaast 3-4 GOOD cookbooks this year and I think the one that tops the list is the Sood Family Cookbook.
As the name suggests the book is a compilation of the recipes from the extended Sood family. The first version of the book was self published and essentially meant for the family members but I am glad it reached the masses because each recipe in the book is stellar and so are the illustrations which go with the book BTW. Some of the recipes like Pahadi Kala Channa and chach walle aloo are now pretty much staples at home and just when I was thinking these two are my favorite foods from the book, I made The Unbeatable Pahadi Mutton and oh god just how good was it.
There are recipes and then there are RECIPES. Make no mistake the Pahadi Mutton is most certainly of the second bracket. The man ate the mutton and after finishing the whole meal said “Boss, this curry has depth and character”. It’s a curry which involves patience and as Aparna’s aunt says it’s the labour of love and when I told N this he was like ofcourse “Character is build over time, you can’t get it quickly. Success, yes character no”. Such is man, giving life gyan while talking about a fingerlicking mutton curry.
Like I said this dish is a labour of love, the mutton is first marinated for 6 hours or overnight (I actually ended up marinating it for a week in deep freeze since I had a family emergency after marinating it) and then slow cooked for about 3 hours or so and then in the end smoking it with coal for about 5 minutes. That smoking is what takes it to an altogether different level if you ask me. So don’t make this dish on a day you are in a hurry but whenever you make it I assure it will be the star of the evening so you go easy on anything else you want to make that day because this doesn’t need anything apart from a few paranthas or rice. I made a couple of changes to the recipe from the book, the book uses more of garlic and less of ginger paste. I just used the standard ginger-garlic paste one buys off the shelf but the biggest change I made was the amount of ghee used. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of ghee and somehow I just couldn’t get myself to use that much ghee. I reduced the measure to 2 tablespoons. It does increase my work in terms of more stirring but the taste was still spectacular