Come Spring and the first thing I yearn to cook is Kachnaar. Though I was a choosy eater as a child and particularly avoided many vegetables but the mild, pleasant aroma of Kachnaar always pulled me to the dinning table. I’m sure I eat with my nose first, then with my eyes and finally comes the tasting stage.
Never heard of Kachnaar ?! Well, this deciduous tree of the Bauhinieae plant family is native to South Asia and South East Asia, and is known by many different names …such as Indian Orchid tree, Camel’s Foot Tree and Mountain-ebony.
For cooking we use the young and tender buds of the tree…when the buds open up they can’t be added to a curry. The buds last a very few days, the early days of spring and for this reason Kachnaar is considered a delicacy and sold at a very high price.They have a meaty texture and bitter-sweet taste which is balanced by the generous use if tomatoes and yogurt in the curry.
If you live in the region or can get these delicate buds, don’t miss eating them cooked in a curry, with or without lamb meat, at least once a season !

For Kachnaar Gosht, Bauhinieae Buds in Lamb Curry :

I kg Kachnaar ( will yield almost 350 g buds)
1/2 kg lamb, shoulder cut ups
2 medium onions, chopped
4 tomatoes, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 black cardamoms
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1+1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 cup pain yogurt
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil

This Is What You Do :

Heat oil in a deep pan, add onions. Fry till they are golden brown.
Add garlic and all the spices, sauté for a few seconds. Add meat and continue to sauté till meat is golden brown on all sides.
Add tomatoes, continue to sauté another 2-3 minutes.
Add 2 cups water, reduce heat to medium low, cover the pan and let simmer for 30 minute or till the meat is half done and water considerably reduced.
Add Kachnaar buds and yogurt. Continue to cook covered, till the meat is really tender and buds cooked but still firm.
Uncover, raise heat to medium, stir till the oil separates from masala.
Stir in lemon juice and serve hot with roti bread.

Serves 4-5

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