Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bihari Boti Kadai- a rustic, fiery gateway to bliss...

My husband loves my cooking but has one significant gripe. I am never consistent in rustling up the same-tasting dish over and over, especially if he has liked a particular curry a lot. He says he can guarantee, I wont be able to come up with the same stuff again. Whis is true! I cook everyday, but in all these years of our marriage and being a family, I am quite surprised to recall that, indeed, I not only hardly repeat recipes, I also go on a different tangent even when I am supposed to stick to it... do any of you have that 'problem' too? Strange! Good thing then that I am writing some of the favourites here. Today I am sharing a rather easy lamb recipe. Bihari Boti Kadai- lamb or beef chunks cooked in a spicy blend. No onions-no chopping required. Which is always a bonus.

I dont really know for sure if this dish is from the state of Bihar, India. I simply, know it as Bihari Kadai and have been making it since forever. Boti ofcourse, refers to the largish chunks of meat with bone in. Kadai- as a dish refers to any 'gravy-curry' made in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent/Pakistan. The gravy could be thin and runny or even a thick masala flavoured one, to be eaten with breads. Bihari Boti kadai is quite spicy, so adjust the chillies according to your preferance and you wil be good.

Here's what you will need.

Lamb/Mutton/Beef  : 1 kg, I usually take shoulder cuts of a baby goat.
Ginger-Garlic paste : 1 tbsp heaped along with paste made of 5-8 (reduce if you want)- I simply ground them all together.

*You may even take boneless chunks of meat of your choice.

For the Bihari Masala, spices to dry roast and grind to a coarse powder:

Cumin seeds: 1.5 tsp
Corriander seeds: 1.5 tbsp
Pepper corns      : 1 tsp
Gram flour (besan) - 1tbsp (optional)
Dry roast the spices and gram flour on a gentle heat. Cool and girnd.

Salt to taste.
About 5-6 tbsp of oil (reduce if you aren't big on cooking with lots of oil)
A fresh lemon to squueze over in the end and a few ginger jullienes to garnish (optional).

Marinate the meat in the ginger-garlic-chilli paste along with the spices you powder. If you have time, as always I recommend a marination of at least 4 hours or more, even over night. However, if you dont have time, worry not, just marinate and mix, and begin to cook! I did too this time because I had surprise visitors. And I served this for breakfast actually with parathas and a big cup of masala chai. Heaven!

Heat the oil in a 'kadai'-  Add the marinated meat and cook(really that simple) initially on high heat for a couple of minutes then reduce the heat to medium/low. This dish is supposed to be dry, so aim for that in the final stages. A lot of moisture will be naturally rleased by the meat/salt combination, let it all help cook the meat and then gradually let it dry on its own while cooking.

The colour here is still that of raw meat and spices, the water is being released now...

Again, over the next forty-fortyfive minutes, if you are slow cooking it on the stove top, you may have to baby sit it and watch for any burning/sticking -to- the -bottom action happening. In which case, all you need to do is keep adding a little water, say about 1/3 cup of hot water. Always try and add warm/hot water to curries, helps retain the flavours better than just adding regular/cold water. I usually keep a big mug of hot water around myself. You may also pressure cook with 1 cup of water to hasten the process but dont omit the 'bhunoing' process in the begining for at least twenty minutes and untill oil has seperated.

Half an hour in to cooking, see how the colours change! I added extra hot chillies for our guests who enjoy it like that. So just follow the recipe if you are not ok with too much heat.

Then go ahead and pressure cook, once 'almost' done, remove lid, leave the pan open and cook to evaporate any water/moisture left.  Keep mixing and stirring untill the final look is thick, dry with the marinade sticking to the meat pieces. In the last few minutes, while you are letting the excess water evaporate, all 'doneness' of the meat will be achieved now. So dont worry even if pressure cooking it hasnt cooked the meat completely. Usually, you will find beef taking time.

Do you see how all the moisture is gone and the spices stick to the meat? Using 'besan' also helps in that.

I used thai red chillies to garnish as well as in my marinade paste, feel free to use whichever chillies you enjoy normally.

Garnish with ginger jullienes and serve with a wedge of lime to sqeeze over if preferred. Also ofcourse, you will need to make some warm chapatis to make it a perfect meal.


  1. My mouth is literally watering..... Looks so divine....
    Will definitely gonna try your recipes.


    1. Thanks Akanksha, please do try whatever takes your fancy and send me feedback if you can. :)

  2. I almost forgot now how many times i actually tried this, whenever i had to woo someone .. and it came out as perfect as ever. Last night i cooked it for few French friends (no doubt with lot less spices) and its still a show stopper. Thank you :)