A thick, reduced and intensely flavourful sauce coats meltingly tender meat. Bhuna Gosht a traditional mutton or lamb preparation is a curry you won’t forget – jam packed with North Indian personality.
I am an absolute sucker for a good curry, and they don't come much better than Bhuna Gosht a complex marriage of spice and fragrance where flavours are BIG if not MASSIVE and with meat you can cut like butter, this Bhuna Gosht is one of my most treasured recipes ever. The original recipe comes from a Madhur Jaffrey back I bought back in the 90s. It looks like a raggedy old treasure map now, and if you let it open on its own it'll invariably reveal the bhuna gosht recipe in all its sauce splattered glory.
What is Bhuna Gosht? A twist on the classic.
'Ghosht' is a Persian word meaning meat or flesh and generally refers to mutton. Dishes using Ghosht typically imply that mutton, goat or lamb is the main protein. There are many different preparations for Gosht, but in this North Indian and Pakistani preparation the word 'Bhuna' refers to 'curry', in this case a thick, reduced sauce that becomes a 'curry fry'. The sauce is heavily reduced and intensifies in colour and flavour as a result.
I took my cues from the hight priestess of Indian Food herself, Madhur Jaffrey who suggested that along with goat, mutton or lamb, the use of beef and pork are also permissible. Not traditional or super-authentic, but who cares? When you taste this dish, my Pork Bhuna, you'll agree it doesn't matter.
Stuff you'll need
Making Bhuna Gosht isn't super taxing, but you'll need a spice grinder or pestle & mortar to make the special curry powder. It's THIS powder that makes the magic happen. This Bhuna Gosht isn't a particularly spicy curry, but it is intensely fragrant and flavourful - thank in part to the unique blend of spices.
The Curry Powder is made up from a complex blend of whole spices. They're dry fried to bring our the natural oils and activate more flavour. They're then blended to form a fine powder - the use of a coffee or spice grinder is a labour saving option I couldn't do without, but if a pestle & mortar is more your scene - be my guest. See the recipe below or the picture above for the spices at play.
Meat - Mutton, Lamb, Goat, Beef or Pork are fine. They're all meats that benefit from slow cooking. If you have meat on the bone like goat, you'll be in for even more flavour! My recipe uses pork butt.
Aromatics - Onion, garlic and ginger are the extra additions of flavour. Onion also acts to break up during cooking to create a wonderful glossy sauce.
Step by Step
Making the bhuna gosht isn't much effort at all, the only fiddly bits are making the curry powder and staying with it at the end to reduce it into the thick slick of flavour. Here's how this magical curry comes together.
Marinate the meat. Simple as dusting it with turmeric and salt and leaving it while you prepare the rest of the curry.
Grind the curry powder. As I mentioned earlier, dry toasting the spices then blending them into a powder is light work with a spice grinder. Or an enjoyable workout with a pestle & mortar.
Reduce the sauce until it's a hefty, creamy slick of a sauce.
Serving suggestions and more Indian curries
I like to serve this curry with Indian breads - it's one of those sauces that clings to the meat, so you can scoop at your leisure and not get into that much of a mess. For the most part, I buy my chapati, roti, paratha and naan pre-made and I pop them in the oven or on the BBQ to heat just before serving. I also eat this curry with Basmati rice, which is no second choice by the way.
If you like the idea of this thick, clingy sauce you'll also like my Lamb Madras curry or my Beef Balti - both have insanely intense flavour and thick, glossy sauces.
If you're in the game for a curry, but not sure where to start - take a look at my lists of current favourites. My 20 Best Curry Recipes is a great start along with my 10 Best Chicken Curry Recipes. Hope you make something from the list - let me know if you do and how you got on! Love to hear from you all!
Here are some quick links to some of my favourite curries ever
A curry dish from the North of India and Pakistan. It's a complex blend of spices in a thick reduced sauce. The dish is usually made using mutton or lamb. But can be made with goat, beef and pork too.
Can I freeze Bhuna Gosht?
Yes, bhuna gosht freezes excellently, and improves with age. I'll stay fresh for 2-3 months. Either thaw and reheat in a pan or cook from frozen in the microwave - with both options, add a little water first so that it doesn't completely dry out during reheating
Sprinkle the pork with turmeric, salt and sugar and set aside.
Add all the spice paste ingredients to a dry frying pan over a moderate heat. Stir a little until the spices begin to pop and jump around the pan. Stir for no more than 30 seconds to avoid them burning - this will make curry bitter. Remove from the heat and quickly pour the spices into a spice grinder or pestle & mortar.
Grind the spices into a fine powder then pour in around 1 cup water. It'll be quite wet. Set aside while you complete the other steps and it'll thicken up.
In a food processor or using a hand blender, blend the onion, garlic and ginger into a puree.
Heat a wok or large pan with the oil over a moderate/high heat. When hot, drop in the curry leaves and let them splutter for a few seconds, before adding the onion paste. Stir fry this paste for about 5-7 minutes until browned and most of the moisture has evaporated.
Add the tomato and again, stir for 5 minutes until it's beginning to break down. Be careful no to let the paste burn.
Add the spice paste, and stir for about 30 seconds before adding the pork and 1 cup water. Stir well to combine everything. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Pop on a lid and cook for 1½-2 hours until the pork is tender (you may need to adjust this time if you're using a different meat as they may take longer). The curry should be very gently bubbling.Stir every 15 minutes or so to ensure things are not sticking.
Once cooked, check for salt levels and adjust if you think it needs more. That's it!
Serve with Indian breads or lots and lots of fluffy basmati rice.