Wazwan – the famous culinary tradition that originated in Kashmir – is a multicourse menu of exotic dishes that have been around for thousands of years. The recipes use a mix of indigenous ingredients, spices and Mustard Oil to create their unique flavours. In today’s post, we look at a dish called Rista… a preparation of meatballs in a rich, spicy gravy.
There is one ingredient in this recipe that’s typical of Kashmir – cockscomb; it’s a Kashmiri spice that is also used as a colouring agent. In Kashmir they call it Moval. In Wazwan preparations, Moval is soaked in water for one hour. The extract is then drained and kept ready for use.
So let’s get started with our Rista. Here are the ingredients that you will need:
- Mutton, boneless: 1 kilogram
- Meat Fat: 300 gram
- Mustard Oil: 300 millilitres
- Cockscomb (Moval) Extract: 200 millilitres
- Ginger Powder: 1 teaspoon
- Red Chilli Powder: 1 teaspoon
- Fennel (Saunf) Powder: 3 teaspoon
- Saffron: 1 teaspoon
- Asafoetida (Heeng): 1 teaspoon
- Cardamom (Ilaichi), crushed: 4
- Bay Leaves (TejPatta): 2
- Cinnamon (Dalchini): 2 sticks
- Cloves (Laung): 3
- Salt: to taste
The mutton needs to be treated in a style that is typical of Wazwan preparation methods. Before he starts making Rista, the Kashmiri Chef (Waza) will get the mutton ready. He takes a smooth stone slab and places the mutton and the meat fat on it. He then takes a large wooden mallet made of walnut-wood – this is known as Tukni. He pounds the mutton using the mallet, adding the meat fat as he continues pounding – till the mutton and fat mixture becomes soft and pulpy. He then adds cardamoms, ginger and a little salt. Next, he coats his hands with a layer of Mustard Oil and shapes the mutton into small palm-sized balls.
The preparations also include soaking the saffron in around 300 millilitres of water.
And of course, you have the Moval extract that you prepared and kept aside earlier.
Heat the Mustard Oil in a large pan. Add the red chilli powder, asafoetida and salt. Pour in around 300 millilitres of water. Keep stirring. A rich, red gravy will begin to form.
Add the saffron, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon and fennel. Pour in around one litre of water and bring the mixture to a boil.
Into the boiling gravy, add the meatballs – and allow the mixture to boil for an hour. Reduce the heat and add the Moval extract. Let the mixture simmer for another 15 minutes or so.
Well, that took quite a bit of time but it’s totally worth the effort! Your traditional Wazwan Rista is now ready to be served. It is usually eaten with steaming hot Basmati rice.