Chef Dirham Haque, Executive Sous Chef, Four Seasons Hotel Bengaluru, is a master of the dum pukht style of slow cooking. Here he shares the recipe to one of his favourite dishes, Changezi Raan, named after the founder of the Mongol Empire.
Chef Dirham Haque’s love for food goes all the way back to his childhood. As his father was a UN official, Chef Dirham spent his early years living in various places across the world. His love for food meant some of his most cherished memories are of the different cuisines he experienced. At home, his mother, a most proficient cook, also inspired his inclination towards the culinary arts.
Chef Dirham specialises in the dum pukht style of cooking, a technique which has its origins in the royal kitchens of the Mughal era. This method of slow cooking allows the infusion of flavours into meat or vegetables cooked for hours. “Not only is there an art to this, it also is a very precise way of allowing the slow seepage of flavours and nuances to imbibe with the meat,” he says.
Among his favourite dishes, Changezi Raan is a popular delicacy that has culinary influences that are essentially a blend of Afghan, Indian, Iranian, Pakistani, Central Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines, and is said to have its link with the founder of the Mongol Empire, Genghis Khan. The dish is believed to have been named after him, as he had penchant for it. This hearty dish is based on the philosophy of the Slow Food movement.
If you want to have a delicious throwback with an iconic dish, try your hand at making Changezi Raan at home.
- 1,000-1,200gm whole leg of lamb
- 40gm mint leaves
- 300gm onions
- 150gm tomatoes
- 25gm green chilli
- 40gm ginger
- 30gm garlic
- 100gm lamb stock
- 50gm full fat yoghurt
- 40gm coriander powder
- 40gm degi mirch
- 10gm green cardamom
- 10gm black cardamom
- 5gm cloves
- 5ml mace
- 5gm bay leaves
- 50ml malt vinegar
- 50ml mustard oil
- Salt to taste
The first step is to marinate the lamb for 8-10 hours or overnight. For this, thoroughly wash the lamb and tap it dry. Rub salt and degi mirch on the meat. Add malt vinegar, royal cumin seeds, ginger and garlic paste and green chilli paste. Refrigerate.
The lamb stock also needs to be made beforehand. For this, use bones and simmer it on slow heat for 14-16 hours.
Finely slice onions, make a paste of tomatoes, finely chop the green chillies and mint leaves.
In a heavy bottomed pan, add mustard oil, all the whole spices, finely sliced onions and let it caramelise.
Add the yoghurt and let it cook until the oil separates from the mixture.
Now add the tomato paste and coriander powder, and cook until the oil separates again.
Add the marinated leg and cook on high heat so that the surface becomes dark brown, sealing the outer layer of meat.
Add the lamb stock, ensuring the entire leg is covered in the liquid. Cover the vessel with a tight-fitting lid and let it cook for at least six hours on very low heat.
After six hours, check to see if the lamb is cooked. Now strain the liquid and reduce it further to get a thick gravy.
Skewer the lamb leg and cook it on tandoor for 4-5 minutes.
Serve with gravy on the side or bathe the leg in it. Goes best with Peshawari Naan.