Since the mid 90’s, my mother was presented with a cook book by a friend. She is a great cook and I cannot recollect her using it for any recipes. The Indian Delights book by Zuleikha Mayat still resides on the kitchen shelf and is in immaculate condition.
Its an excellent read and has stood the test of time, the first edition of the book was published in 1961!!
No Gujarati household is complete without a copy (even if they don’t use it!). My copy is the Thirteenth Edition from 2007!
One recipe really comes to mind, Dum ka Gosht, or Smoked Mutton. Mrs Mayet cooks a relatively straightforward mutton curry. Now here’s the innovation (well 1960’s innovation). She makes space for a small metallic pot which is placed inside the main cooking vessel. Red Hot Coal is placed into the pot with a 2 tablespoons of oil/ghee. The oil evaporates on contact with the smouldering coal which results in a plume of smoke. The pot is closed and sealed with a damp cloth and left for 30 mins. The outcome is a mutton curry infused with a delicious, smoky flavour.
The black and white image in Mrs Mayet’s book is really striking. I’ve always wanted to try out the recipe but was dissuaded by the Red Hot Coal! Also, how am I going to light a single piece of coal?
My EUREKA moment came whilst walking down a windy High Street in North London. I walked past a Shisha/Hookah shop.
Swift-Lite charcoal is a fast lighting coal conveniently packed in foil.
Buoyant with my idea, I quickly made for home to try out this new concept.
I simply added a fully lighten hot shisha coal to a ramekin containing ghee. I’m sure you’ll agree that the results are quite impressive. This resulted in the food developing a subtle, smoked flavour, which is not overwhelming.
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