A big thank you to Kathy Gori from The Colors of Indian Cooking for this recipe!
A note from Kathy:
People have been writing down favorite recipes since the development of writing. Ancient cookbooks exist almost everywhere in the world, and are wonderful windows into along, long ago past. They’re found on every continent, and in many languages. Some ancient texts are written in cuneiform on clay Like the Yale Tablets from 1700 BC that has lasted since the fall of Babylon, or De Re Coquinaria the Roman cookbook of Apicius. There’s the Medieval Islamic Kitab al-Ṭabīḫ from 900 AD, Le Viandier, a French cookbook from 1300 AD, a Catalonian cookbook Llibre de Sent Sovi, from 1324, and from China Yinshan Zhengyao from the Yuan dynasty in 1334.
Some recipes have been treasured over ages and just recently collected such as In Bibi’s Kitchen, Recipes and Stories from Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries That Touch the Indian Ocean
Chef Freddie Bitsoie’s book The New Native Kitchen: Celebrating Modern Recipes of The American Indian
And from the University of Texas at San Antonio: 200-Year-old Mexican Recipes downloadable for free
Now that it’s cold and wet up here in Northern California, I’m firing up my Homdor Tandoor oven to do some Winter Kitchen Cooking, and what better to start with than a recipe from one of the oldest cookbooks the Mansollasa a 12th century Sanskrit text put together by the Kalyani Chalukya King Someshvara lll who ruled South India. The book is a guide to EVERYTHING: dance, astrology, horticulture, medicine, government ethics, games, painting, poetry, music, and FOOD! My sister-in-law could have probably told me reams about this book since she reads Sanskrit…but she’s in New York and I’m here so I went digging.
The book and its recipes still exist and I decided to cook one of them. It’s a simple recipe, easy to prepare, and can be done on a BBQ, but it was created for a Tandoor Oven. It’s a simple marinade, and most ingredients you may already have.
- 2 Tbs lemon juice
- 2 Tbs mashed raw papaya
- 1 Tbs Ginger paste (grind fresh chopped ginger w/ a tiny bit of water in a food processor or blender until you have a paste )
- 1/4 cup onion paste (made the same way as above)
- 1 tsp Green chili paste (serrano chili done the same way)
- 2 Tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 3 Tbs vegetable oil
- 1 tsp salt.
- 2 lbs of boneless lamb leg cut into chunks for skewering aka tikkas. Make cuts in the meat with a sharp knife so the marinade can penetrate the meat.
- A couple of new potatoes
- This is super simple. Just take all the ingredients above (EXCEPT THE SALT AND POTATOES) and mix them together in a bowl.
- Put everything in the fridge and let it sit for at least 8 hours or better yet, overnight.
- Add the salt to the marinade 15 minutes before cooking, and mix everything again.
- Cut your potatoes into chunks, you’ll be using them as stoppers for your skewers.
- Rub your skewers with some oil.
- Then thread the meat chunks on the skewers, sticking a chunk of potato on the end as a stopper.
- Brush them with the leftover marinade and let them sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes or so while you get your tandoor oven nice and hot. This dish cooks at about 480 degrees.
- When the temperature has reached around 480, put your skewers into the tandoor oven and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Take them out, stand them upright against the tandoor to let the drippings fall for about 5 minutes.
- Then, back into the oven for another 5 to 8 minutes depending on how done you like your meat.
- Remove the meat from the skewers and serve it up, sprinkled with a bit of fresh cilantro.
Need to marinade 8+ hours.
I served the Bhaditraka with Basmati rice with saffron, sultanas, almonds, Indian Creamed Spinach, and fresh Papaya Raita.
*Photo credit: Alan Berger