Nov 28, 2012

Aatu kaal kuzhambu (Paaya) - Goat trotters stew

In Tamil cuisine, there is a special way to cook virtually all parts of a goat . Unlike chicken dishes, dishes made with each part of a goat, taste quite different from each other.

When following the traditional way of preparing this, my mom cleans and cooks the trotters in the night. The next morning, the stew is prepared and the trotters are cooked a little more. It is a very involved process.

But, I am going to show you a no-sweat way to make this stew, without compromising the flavors.

  • goat trotters, cleaned - from 2 goats, about 3 pounds
  • onions, finely minced - 1 big
  • tomatoes, finely chopped - 1 big
  • chilli powder - 1 tbsp
  • coriander powder - 3 tbsp
  • coconut, shredded - 1/2 
  • mint - 5 sprigs
  • cilantro, chopped - 1/2 cup
  • ginger paste - 3/4 tbsp
  • garlic paste - 1 tbsp
  • bay leaf - 1 lea
  • cinnamon - 1" stick
  • fennel seeds - 1 tbsp
  • oil for sauteing
  • turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  • salt to taste
Preparing the trotters
  1. If you are lucky to have access to seared / smoked trotters with the skin on, skip this section.
  2. Rest of us probably get the trotters bleached white and with no skin. You can still simulate the flavor by broiling the trotters in oven.
  3. In a foil lined baking dish, arrange the trotters in a single layer and broil on high for 10 minutes or until the bones have adequately browned and the liquid runs clear.
  4. Remove from oven and let it cool.
Preparing the stew:
Using a slow cooker (the no-sweat way):
  1. In the crock pot, add the prepared trotters and all other ingredients except coconut. Cook on high for 4 hours or slow for 7 hours.
  2. One hour before it is done, add the coconut.
  3. Enjoy your stew. 
Told ya it is no-sweat!

Using a pressure cooker (the long-winded way):
  1. The night before, fill a 5 liter pressure cooker with enough water to cover the trotters. Add the turmeric powder, little salt and pressure cook the trotters for 5 whistles.
  2. The next morning, transfer the trotters and the stock to another vessel. 
  3. Rinse out the pressure cooker and heat oil on a medium high flame.
  4. Before the oil starts smoking, add bay leaf, cinnamon stick and fennel seeds. When the spices have warmed up, add the minced onion, ginger and garlic. Stir and allow the onion to turn soft.
  5. Now add the tomatoes and a little salt to sweat the tomatoes.
  6. Stir once or twice, until everything turns into a slurry.
  7. Now add the pre-cooked trotters, chilli powder and coriander powder.
  8. Add back the water that was used to pressure cook the trotters.
  9. Cover and cook for 3 more whistles.
  10. When the steam has subsided, stir in coconut, mint and cilantro.
  11. Let it come back to a boil before removing from fire.
This stew makes an excellent side dish for traditional breakfast dishes like idli or dosa. It also goes well with chunky ciabatta and a garden salad.

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