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Memories from my Nani

Passport & Plate - Achar Gosht

Pakistan | Saturday, 7 March 2015 | 5 photos

1 kg Sirloin Beef, cubed
3 onions, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 whole garlic bulb, crushed
2 Tbsp. crushed ginger
12 Jalepenos Peppers, seeded and washed in cold water
1 cup yogurt
Olive oil
1 dried red chilli
Kosher salt
Coriander powder
Tumeric powder
Jalepenos Pepper filling:
4 Tbsp Aniseeds
2 Tbsp. Nigella seeds
2 Tbsp Fenugreek seeds
Ground Coriander
Fenugreek leaves
Cumin seeds
Ground Cinnamon
Ground Green Cardamom
Bay leaf
Black pepper


How to prepare this recipe
1. Chop onions and fry with 1/4 cup of oil until golden brown.
2. Add 1/2 tsp. tumeric and 1 cup yogurt, stir.
3. Add cubed and washed beef, stir for 5-10 minutes.
4. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add dried red chili.
5. Add 1 tsp of each paprika, coriander powder, 1/2 tsp. cayenne and 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt (to taste), stir.
6. Add diced tomatoes and cover for 40 minutes.
7. While beef is cooking, wash and clean peppers, make a slit on one side and prepare filling. (Wear gloves as I didnt have any and my hands are still stinging).
8. For filling combine all filling spices and squeeze 1/2 to a whole lemon juice, combine until forms thick paste, fill peppers.
9. Once 40 minutes are up for the beef, add the filled peppers with 1/2 cup of water and cover, let cook for 10-15 minutes, until peppers are soft. Sprinkle with home-made garam masala (Toasted and grinded cinnamon sticks, clove, cumin, black peppers and cardamom).
10. Serve with Sweet Pea Rice or Home-made naan.


The story behind this recipe
When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I remember my Nani Ami (maternal grandmother) came to visit us in Canada from Pakistan. She prepared this dish. I remember watching over her as she cleaned the peppers, her eyes would water and her fingers would turn pink from the spice. I couldnt believe that she went through all of the trouble just to prepare a dish for our family that she learned from her own mother. After trying Achar Gosht for the first time, I instantly fell in love. I wanted more of it. Sadly, after my Nani returned to Pakistan I knew I wouldnt be eating it again for a while. After a year of waiting, she came to visit again, this time for the U.S. (where she eventually moved to) and eating this dish became a once a year tradition. By the time I reached my early 20s I decided it was about time I learn to make it. One of the last visits before my Nani got sick, I stood over her, she was quite short, so it looked as though I was towering her, and I watched her every cooking move. How she cut the beef, how she carefully stirred the gosht, and how she cleaned and filled the peppers, as if it was a piece of art. She was delicate and gave the peppers lots of tender, love and care. Needless to say, that was the last time we cooked together and ate achar gosht. The recipe was passed down from my great grandmother to my Nani, to my mother and now to me. After watching and helping my mother make it a few times, I decided it was time that I try on my own. I did everything the way I remembered my Nani cooking and to my surprise, it turned out just like hers! So I was told by my family.

Now when I make it, I listen to hindi music from one of my Nani Ami and Nana Abu's (maternal grandfather) favorite bollywood music, I sing, I dance, and I remember every step of the cooking process in which my Nani undertook.

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