Make one of the city's iconic dishes at home. Photo: Saee Koranne-Khandekar
If you’ve lived in Mumbai, you’ve probably broken your Kheema Ghotala virginity at an old Irani café, and washed down the elation with some sweet and milky chai after. Kheema Ghotala is one of those iconic Mumbai dishes—some say of Parsi/Irani origin, while others may argue that a dish like that is the lovechild of a great dish left over the previous night and a practical mind trying to avoid waste the next morning.
The word 'ghotala' is most often associated with 'scam'. In Mumbai although it just as well works to define 'confusion'; both connotations befitting the nature of the Mumbai Kheema Ghotala—a hot and spicy mix of minced goat meat and scrambled eggs. It should be a mandatory order if you decide to have your breakfast at an Irani or for that matter, even a quick lunch. Served with soft, slightly chewy Mumbai laadi pao to mop up the flavourful fat and carry the delectable meat in, this makes for an excellent meal to pick up your mood and your appetite. Punctuated with liberal amounts of finely chopped green chilies and the citrus notes of fresh coriander, the Kheema Ghotala clears sinuses, readies the mind for a day of work, and gets your creative juices flowing—all for a pittance.
I wanted to play with the Kheema Ghotala a bit and make it more of a Sunday home brunch dish, and a Shepherd’s Pie proved to be the perfect way to bring a little oomph to a dish that is so sophisticated in terms of its flavour profile, and is yet mistakenly considered pedestrian.
Don’t get intimidated by the long list of ingredients—they are pantry staples and the method is ridiculously simple—the dish practically makes itself. Paired with a fresh, crisp salad and a chilled beer, this one ticks all the boxes for a lazy Sunday family meal.
Recipe for Kheema Ghotala
2 cups minced goat meat (keep some fat in)
4 green cardamom
1-inch stick cinnamon
1 bay leaf
2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped
2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
2 teaspoons freshly made ginger-garlic paste
4 hot green chilies, finely chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seed powder
1 heaped teaspoon coriander seed powder
¼ teaspoon garam masala
½ - 1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander stem
a handful of freshly chopped coriander
Salt to taste
4 large boiled potatoes, peeled and mashed
2 tablespoons grated hard cheese such as cheddar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 eggs, soft boiled
1. Place the mince, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, half the ginger-garlic paste, half the turmeric powder, and a little salt in a mixing bowl. Mix well to combine.
2. Place the bowl in a pressure cooker containing a little water at the bottom. Cook the mince for 1 whistle, then turn down the heat for 3-4 minutes. Remove the bowl of mince after the pressure has dropped naturally.
3. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and green chili and fry until fragrant.
4. Tip in the onions, coriander stem, and the remaining ginger-garlic paste and fry until the onions brown.
5. Now, add the tomatoes and fry well until the oil begins to separate at the edges of the pan. Add salt to taste and all the remaining powdered spices and fry them well for a minute.
6. Tip in the cooked mince and stir on medium-high flame until the flavors are combined. Adjust seasoning if required. Add the fresh coriander, mix through and turn off the flame.
7. Meanwhile, mix the potatoes and grated cheese together.
8. Now, place the soft boiled eggs in the pan containing the mince and using a fork, mash them up roughly. The yolks will cook in the heat of the pan and during baking.
9. Layer the mince and egg mixture in a baking dish and top with the potato mixture. Use a fork to flatten and make patterns on the potato mash.
10. Bake in the center rack of a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees centigrade for 10-12 minutes until the fat from the mince begins to sizzle at the edges of the pan.
11. Serve hot with a side of fresh garden salad and a cold beer.
When Saee is not playing harrowed mum to her three children (and sometimes, WHILE she is playing harrowed mum), she is cooking up recipes in her head or in her kitchen, and finding parallels in world cuisine.