​​Ghushtaba - pounded mutton meatballs in a yoghurt gravy


First published in 2022
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Romy says: "Often served at wedding celebrations and restaurants, ghushtaba is also an important part of the wazwan. Simple meatballs are simmered in a yoghurt-based gravy, in a flavoursome dish known by Kashmiri Muslims as ‘The Dish of Kings’."




For the meatballs

  • 600g of goat leg, or use mutton or lamb leg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp of lard, or used ghee or rapeseed oil

For the stock

For the shallot paste

For the gravy


For the meatballs, remove any fat from the meat and reserve the bones for the stock.

  • 600g of goat leg, or use mutton or lamb leg

Cut the meat into pieces and rub with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt


Place the meat on a wooden board (or smooth stone) and pound with a wooden mallet. Remove any pieces of sinew and keep pounding until the texture and colour of the meat
resembles pâté


Add the lard, ghee or oil and continue to pound

  • 1 tbsp of lard, or used ghee or rapeseed oil

Finally, add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pound until everything is well combined and the meat has a paste-like texture. Alternatively, use a food processor to blitz it all to a fine paste


Divide the mixture and shape into 4 large balls with wet hands


For the stock, place the bones in a large pan and add the water, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon and salt


Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, until the stock is reduced by half to 500ml. Remove and discard any scum that comes to the top. Once reduced, set aside


Make shallot paste: Pour the ghee into a heavy-based saucepan and heat to 170°C/340°F on a digital thermometer. Alternatively, you can drop in a tiny piece of shallot: if it floats to the surface, then the ghee is hot enough; if it sinks, the ghee is not hot enough yet


Once the ghee is hot, add the chopped shallots in batches and fry until golden brown and crispy

  • 1kg shallots, peeled and finely chopped

Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and cool


When the crispy golden shallots have cooled down, grind to a fine paste with a pestle and mortar. You must have patience to get the right consistency. Keep grinding until the mixture changes colour to creamy white and the texture becomes like a paste. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, you can blitz in a blender, but the taste and texture won’t be the same. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use in dishes when required. It will keep for up to a week


To make the gravy, heat the ghee or oil in a separate large pan over a low heat. Add the whisked yoghurt and cook for 5 minutes, whisking continuously so that the mixture doesn’t curdle


Add the crushed garlic and 2 tsp shallot paste, along with the ground ginger and fennel. Now, add the meatballs, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring


Add the stock and cook for a further 15 minutes until the gravy thickens. Mix in the dried mint and leave to rest for 30 minutes. Resting helpings the broth to seep in the meatballs

  • 1/2 tsp dried mint

Serve hot, with steamed rice

First published in 2022
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