Yakhni is comfort food. Its a Sunday afternoon meal.
Especially when it’s cloudy and foggy and not sunny, a bowl full of slightly sour but wholesome yakhni . Tastes best with boiled rice sometimes with a roti like Taftaan.
So this is a Kashmiri soup like curry that is generally part of a wazwaan or a part of a feast .
It has a whole lot of Praan or kashmiri onion fried and made into a paste and cooked along with this curry.
I’m not a Kashmiri,but have Dogra ethinicity. Close, but a totally different ball game. So this green thing you see in the picture is a saree that my mum bought from a show room 46 years ago. This embroidery is done with gold thread or “suchcha tilla” and with a chinar leaf pattern. It was embroidered on Chinon silk,that just wasn’t strong enough to last so long. So since I’m all about preserving my heritage and heirloom pieces,this embroidery was transferred to another saree that I now wear .
So almost every one I know has many sarees with Kashmiri embroidery but I know no one with this pattern or embroidery.
So this curry is also part of my heritage and I’m sharing it with you. So go make it today.
The cuts of meat ,take the ribs shoulder and foreshanks of lamb. The younger the better.
Mustard oil is the best way to so it. And grind your saunf fresh and sift it through to get rid of the hard bits. The ginger powder though, has to be bought,as it is difficult to grind .
Try not to use super fresh set yogurt. Not super sour. Just sour will do.
Also make sure you sift the chick pea flour as that is susceptible to lumps. And that will spoil your curry.
Also fry the onions and make sure you drain them and dry them out on kitchen paper to crisp then grind them.
And try to make this a few hours prior to Service, because once the cooked curry cools and is then reheated, it always tastes better.
Yakhni-Kashmiri Mutton Curry
750 gms fresh cut mutton – meat from the same animal
500 GM’s yogurt
½ cup mustard oil
Salt to taste
6 green Cardamom, 2 black cardamom, 1-2 inch piece cinnamon, ¼ tsp peppercorns, ½ tsp coriander seeds, 10-12 cloves , ½ tsp cumin seeds , 1 small piece mace or Javitri
1 generous Pinch saffron optional
2 tbsp ginger powder or sonth
2-3tbsp fennel seeds or saunf powder
2 tbsp besan or chickpea flour powder
1 cup fried onions
Wash and pat dry the meat.
Tie the whole spices in a cheesecloth and shape a bouquet garnis and pop it into a pressure cooker with the mutton.
Add approximately 1 litre of water and 1 tsp salt .
Cover and cook for approximately 2 whistles. If you’re not using a pressure cooker ,add a little more water and simmer till the lamb is almost cooked -al dente type. Simmer on low heat.
Remove the pieces into a plate. And strain out the stock or the yakhni . I always squeeze out the bouquet garnish to extract maximum Flavor.
Reserve the yakhni. Whisk the yogurt well to ensure there are no lumps.
Grind the onions with some water or yakhni. Also whisk half the chickpea flour into the yogurt.
Heat the mustard oil in a heavy bottomed Pan or a casserole till it smokes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool a bit.
Place the lamb pieces in the oil and allow to brown a bit. Shallow fry them in batches.
Remove onto a plate.
In the same oil now add the whisked yogurt to which the chickpea flour was added and cook stirring continuously till the yogurt comes to a boil. If you don’t stir continuously,the yogurt will split .
Now add in the reserved yakhni and mix well. Slowly pop in the fried meat along with whatever juices there are.
Add the onion paste and stir well.
Adjust the seasoning after the yakhni has simmered for at least half an hour.
Stir in the sonth and saunf powders stirring well so that there are no lumps formed. Allow to simmer another 5-10 minutes and turn off the heat.
After you add the dry ginger powder you must not boil the acne vigorously or else it’ll become better.
A slow simmer is what is needed.
Soak the saffron in a spoonful of hot milk and try and mash it down with a spoon. Stir this in.
Just before serving the yakhni, gently heat the dish remembering not to allow it to come to a vigorous rolling boil. It needs to be served hot and not typing steaming hot.
Serve the yakhni over a bed of plain boiled rice or with taftaan. That coming up next.
Share part of your heritage and stories with the world. You’ll only gain some more.
Serve a glass of a Kashmiri kahwa after the meal, to help cut down the richness of the yakhni. Kahwa again has many versions, but that’s a story for another post.