4 months! Its been 4 months today since the nurse put her in my arms for the first time. After 9 long months of sickness, discomfort, cravings and wait, finally we saw that tiny little thing. Eyes like him, lips like me, nose – well I still believe they are my dad’s although Papa disagrees.
I had been through that emotion before. Thought I had figured it out and was pretty sure this time it couldn’t be any different. Sure, until lying on my bare chest for the first time, warming my heart up more than her body, she opened her eyes and looked into mine. Then into her dad’s who was standing right next to me. Those big brown eyes. Lashes so long they were practically touching her red, translucent cheeks. She looked perfect just like her big sister. Also, she had a strong throat just like her big sister. I could tell you that because she cried hysterically. Well, so did I! We continued to for a long time, just gazing at each other. It was very much like the first time and still nothing like it. Wish I was better with words to be able to describe it. But unfortunately I am not!
Hours, days and weeks after that particular moment are a haze. Kept breastfeeding and diaper changing through them all. Nights were longer than days although both equally exhausting. Babies are hard, let me just tell you that if you do not already know.
Best were and still are the mornings though. Waking up to the butterfly leaning over the baby’s crib trying to kiss her good morning. Or some days just cuddling with her and humming to her, her favorite song. Little birdie, she calls her for “she has a sweet voice just like a baby bird”, she says. She sings happy birthday to her on the 2nd morning of every month without fail and insists on baking a chocolate cake for her. Abhishek and I were worried about her feeling insecure for her not being our only center of the world anymore but she’s proved us terribly wrong. She couldn’t be a better big sister to the little birdie although we will see how that goes once the cute little doll grows to be snatching her babies and sharing her closet. But for now she’s doing good.
So am I. Got spoilt rotten by Mummy Papa for 3 very short months. Warm saffron milk in the morning with a stupendously delicious aate ka laddoo to heal my body and steaming hot rotis smothered with ghee served with a simple tadka dal to heal the soul. One day there were dal ki poori for dinner and another day Papa’s Chicken Curry for lunch. Life was good and amazingly flavorful until they left last month leaving us just craving for a little more.
One dish we made Papa cook again and again this time was my Aunt’s Mutton Do Pyaza. A very simple dish made with goat meat (can be easily replaced with lamb) and equal quantity of thinly sliced onion. The two are slowly cooked together until the onion melts down to a smooth paste and lamb begins to fall off the bone. A few whole spices are used to marry the two together and deepen the flavors. No marination or long list of confusing ingredients required in this dish and it still packs tons of flavor. I thought there couldn’t be a better dish to share with you here while breaking the ice after several months of silence. Hope you like it!
1/2 cup mustard oil (can be replaced with an oil of your choice)
2-3 black cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 whole red chili (I add extra green chillies to add some heat)
1 1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoon coriander seeds (crushed)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon turmeric
5-6 cloves of garlic (smashed)
1- 1 1/2 lbs red onion (thinly sliced)
1 1/2 lbs goat/lamb chops
Salt to taste
Sliced ginger and chopped cilantro for garnish
Use a heavy bottom pan with a heavy lid for this dish.
Heat oil over high heat. Once the oil is nicely hot add the whole spices (black cardamom, cinnamon, chili, cloves, cumin seeds, coriander and bay leaves).
As the sputter add garlic. Cook for 30 seconds until it turns golden. Add onion.
Turn the heat to medium and cook the onion until it turns golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add turmeric and salt. Stir. Add goat/lamb chops.
Stir well mixing the meat well with onion. Cover. Turn the heat to medium low and cook until the meat is done.
Depending on the size of chops and also the quality of meat cooking time may vary from 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir and scrape every few minutes and cook covered.
Some people like the curry a little thin so you can add a little water if you like. We like our mutton do pyaza dry so we cook it in the liquid oozing from the meat itself.
Once done, turn the heat off and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Garnish and serve hot with naan, roti or any bread of your choice.