This rich Mutton Karahi recipe comes to us from Saima Ateeq, who was born and raised in the very north of Pakistan, on the border of Afghanastan.
Saima's version of Shinwari Karahi always uses lamb. (More on that in a minute.) The lamb is cooked in a very generous portion of tallow (fat from the lamb's tail) or ghee, along with fresh tomato, garlic, and ginger.
This Shinwari Mutton Karahi recipe is ultra rich, it's true, so also you'll want to make the very simple lemon, onion, and chile salad she recommends. The sharp salad, Naan bread, and yogurt drink (Lassi) all work together with the succulent lamb to create an explosion of flavors and textures!!
Questions About Shinwari Mutton Karahi
What does the word "mutton" mean in Mutton Kirahi?
Saima says where she grew up in the KPK region of Pakistan, mutton meant any smaller animal - a lamb or sheep, for instance. In this recipe, Saima always uses lamb.
What cuts of lamb work best in a Shinwari Karahi recipe?
The best cuts of lamb for Mutton Karahi are the shoulder and ribs. If you choose a fattier portion, use a little less ghee, if you choose a leaner portion, use the entire cup.
What do you serve with Shinwari Mutton Karahi?
This dish is super rich, so all the accompaniments are sharp, fresh, crisp, or carby. Saima recommends fresh Naan bread, a yogurt drink (Lassi), and a simple salad of onions and chiles marinated in lemon juice.
(Personally, I made it all stretch a little father with rice also.)
What kind of green chiles do you use for the onion salad?
Saima says don't worry too much about this. I used Serranos because they were long and green like Saima described.
If you don't have garlic ginger paste, how do you make it from scratch?
This is a great recipe from Swatsthi's Kitchen. I would not recommend using garlic and ginger on their own because they'll burn in the oil.
About Saima, Contributor of this Mutton Karahi Recipe
I reached out to Saima to come on the podcast because I noticed that Saima often achieves the difficult balance of being unfailingly kind and unfailingly frank in her opinions on many topics. It’s hard to do both at the same time, but when someone does so successfully, that for me, is the type of person I’m most curious to speak with and most likely to learn from.
For this episode, Saima chose to share a lamb dish she made with other members of the Pashtun race in Northern Pakistan for the Muslim celebration of Eid Al Adha. The unique thing about this particular lamb dish is that Saima's family began making this dish by slaughtering a sacrificial lamb. The act commemorate God's provision to Abraham with a lamb to replace the sacrifice of Abraham’s son.
This episode covers dozens of topics including the making of this dish, how Saima’s faith became deeply personal to her, and why she is so critical of the West. Listen all the way to the end and you’ll even hear about her grandfather, the water diviner, and how to make roti from sourdough!
What this Mutton Karahi recipe means to Saima.
My memory of this dish is mainly attached with Eid-up-Adha. My father or my mom would cook it together and basically everyone would be checking it until it’s cooked. As a child, our father would put some for us and encourage us to eat it. If we wouldn’t want to eat it with Fresh Nan bread then he would ask us to just eat it with our hands. Some of my most precious memories attached to food revolve around my father.