Thursday, June 30, 2011
Xacuti with home made vegetarian 'mutton'
The free spirit mates, having tried egg substitutions in baking and bringing you party starter ideas earlier, bring you jaw dropping dishes that are deceptively non-vegetarian in looks and may be as nearly in taste, this month, though most of us would not know, how close!
It was Dhivya's brainwave that we recreate classic non-vegetarian recipes, making them totally vegetarian or better vegan, if possible. Her conditions were that we make them look as close as possibly non vegetarian, but we were not allowed to use store bought mock meats and such stuff.
Few days prior to that, I had watched on Khana Kazana show, Sanjeev Kapoor cooking the famous Xacuti with chicken. That was a 'Goa special' episode and this dish, captured my attention with the long, complex list of spices used. I was curious to try a vegetarian counterpart using all of those spices listed there.
Later few of my friends on Facebook were discussing another Goan dish, where one of them wanted to know if she can make it vegetarian. The reply was, obviously yes! They suggested the vegetables that can be used too. Also there was a cottage cheese option for the dish, which makes the taste closest to chicken dishes.
Now all this got me into working on the Xacuti. There is also a vegetarian mutton kurma listed under Mangalore dishes in the Preett cookbook. The recipe to make a mutton look-alike was given there. Also there was a comment that vegetarians usually take it for a mutton dish. These gave me sufficient pointers to cook my Vegetarian Mutton Xacuti and I am here sharing the recipe.
Do not be discouraged with the long list of ingredients. The final product is way too good to be intimidated.
The Xacuti gravy recipe has been adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor's website. You may find the recipe here, just a click away.
The vegetarian mutton has been adapted from Preett way to cook - 101 recipes from India and elsewhere. That calls for deep frying the pieces which I have opted to shallow fry. Also I have used whole wheat flour while they suggest all purpose flour.
Hence I discuss the recipe in two parts, one making the veg mutton and then the gravy.
Have this with hot steamed rice or opt to have with rotis, it makes a lip smacking side dish!
Preparation time: about 5 hours
Cooking time : about 2 hours
For the vegetarian mutton:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/8th teaspoon sodium-bi-carbonate (cooking soda)
1/4 teaspoon olive oil (for vegan version or ghee for vegetarian)
2 teaspoons oil for shallow frying
How to prepare the vegetarian mutton:
Add salt, soda-bi-carb, olive oil, chilli powder to the flour. Knead to a slightly loose and soft dough adding sufficient water. I use vegetable stock to knead the dough. You may also use whey from making paneer if available.
Keep this in a bowl covered with a damp cloth for 4 to 5 hours.
Make cylindrical rolls of the dough and steam them for about 15 minutes.
Remove, allow them to cool and cut in small size cubes.
Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry these cubes until they are golden. Mine appear red from the stock I have used and the chilli powder.
Keep them reserve until the gravy is ready.
This yields roughly 220 grams of the pieces. (I rounded the spices to 250 grams equivalent)
For the gravy:
(the list was for 1 kilogram of mutton. I have reduced to proportion.)
250 grams of vegetarian mutton pieces
1/2" piece ginger
3 cloves of garlic
1 green chilli
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut
2 green cardamoms
1/2" stick cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 small petal of the star aniseed
2/3 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon carom seeds
1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 thin blade of mace
1/4 teaspoon cooking poppy seeds
1/8th teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/8th teaspoon mustard seeds
4 black peppercorns
2 dry red chillis
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 medium onion chopped
1 tomato chopped
1/2 tablespoon tamarind pulp
Salt as required
1/2 tablespoon Fresh grated coconut
1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
Grind the ginger, garlic and green chilli with the juice of lime to a paste. Apply this to the prepared mutton pieces and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Roast the coconut to a nice golden brown and aromatic with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil.
Dry roast all the spices on a low fire. If you are cooking for a bigger quantity, dry roast each of these separately. I had very little and hence chose to do it in the same pan, taking care to drop the heavier ones first and adding gradually the rest.
Cool the spices and grind along with coconut and turmeric powder to a very smooth paste. Wash the jar of the blender and retrieve the adhering paste too.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan. Add the onions and saute' until they are pink.
Add the prepared pieces. Saute' until the oil separates.
Add the ground masala and on a low fire cook this well until any raw taste subsides. You may not have to do this long as you have already roasted the spices.
Sprinkle water to the cooking mass to avoid burning.
Add the tomatoes and cook until they turn to a pulp.
Add the tamarind pulp and sufficient water. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes until the pieces absorb the flavours.
Remove from the heat. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with some fresh grated coconut and coriander leaves.
Serve hot with steamed rice. Traditionally, this is served with rice in Goa. However, it does taste good with rotis, naan and phulkas too.
When we discussed this, Deepti googled to find that Xacuti has been derived from Sa-go-thi which is the name for mutton as used by the Marathas. As read on wiki it is known as chacuti in Portuguese too.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this recipe. Now head over to my fellow free spirits' pages to check what they have brought for you. Be warned that you are in for tremendous ideas.