I am chauvinistic. I like it when a man cooks. In my case these men who cook are not those who live with me. They are my father-in-law, friend’s husband, friend and my bro.
We were all of 14 and 11 when we took to food and its various possibilities. We poured over books and magazines. Wine and entertainment was purchased from road-side stalls and recipes of the different salads and trivia about different cheeses were read and re-read. Ikea tables would be nailed together in our heads and bowls of beautiful food would be laid out. I would even use a red-checked table cover and often be picnicking by a stream.
Dadabhai, the brother, elder was always into meats. He would sulk with the bard in the last frame of every Asterix because he was not getting to gorge on the pig roast. While in Koh Samui, when we attended a beach regatta party, I saw a live demo of that frame, and I was whisked back to those post dinner nights when he would wistfully look at Obelisk digging into that tied and barbequed meat delight. These days he has some Sunday evening favourites, prawn cocktail, the Kolkata Mocambo way, risotto, paella and mutton roasts. One weekend afternoon, I decided to pay heed to his self proclamation and telephoned him for this simply magical roast recipe where the oven is not used.
My food word for this recipe would be nostalgic.
When you go shopping look for:
Mutton, a kg cut in roast pieces
Whole onions, about four
Small potatoes with skin
2 tbsp whole peppercorns
The recipe would be:
Put together the mutton, the onions cut into halves, a tsp of whole peppers, eight glasses of water, salt to taste, one tomato in a large deep pan and set it to boil. Allow it to simmer for fifty mins. Then drop in the potatoes. After another ten mins take aside the mutton pieces and the potatoes. Strain the broth. Fry each piece of mutton to a light golden brown colour. Also, fry the potatoes until red. Once all the meat and potatoes have been fried, place them in a large bowl. Go back to the broth and thicken it. Add pepper powder, check the salt and in the end throw in a dollop of butter. I read somewhere; ”I always cook with wine, sometimes I add it to my food”. In this case too, half a glass of red wine lifts the country feel of the broth to another level. Simmer for a minute more. Pour the hot golden liquid into the meat bowl. Garnish with rosemary.
Serve hot. With some nice rye bread.