The goulash that I have had in India are not really goulash-like. Is it any wonder that I have got corrupted too? However, this was inspired by a goulash recipe. It can safely be called a stew. I adore stews. They are mostly one pot meals and I can add whatever is at hand to make something tasty as well as healthy. The pumpkin and jaggery added a sweet note, supplementing the paprika. The vinegar balanced that out. The starch from the plantain gave the stew thickness. Needless to say, it can be done with other red meat too. We ate it with a potato-starter based rye bread, ripped and tweaked from the New Complete Book of Breads.
250 gm beef, cubed
1 onion, minced
1 teaspoon paprika or lal Kashmiri mirch
1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon jaggery
1 green plantain, peeled and cut into thick pieces
400 gm pumpkin, cubed
2 Tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 cups water
Heat oil in a pressure cooker. While the oil is heating, mince the onions. Saute onions until they pick up brown specks. Add the bayleaf along with it. Once the onions are browned add the paprika or its substitute as well as the salt. Cook for a minute. Add the beef cubes and brown them at low heat. Stir frequently. Once the colour of the meat changes, add the jiggery and coat everything. Simmer for 4-5 minutes to melt and caramelise the sweetener a little. Add the water, close lid and pressure cook the meat. In my Futura, it takes 12 minutes on high pressure to cook beef or goat.
Cool cooker before opening lid. Add plantain pieces and cover the lid. Add some water if the liquid is reduced. Cook 2 minutes at low heat. Cool completely again. Open cooker to add the pumpkin pieces. With the lid open this time, cook the pumpkin. Pressure pumpkin, makes it melt so this is best done while you watch it like a hawk! Should take about 5-7 minutes for the pumpkin to be done. Add the vinegar and more salt if necessary to finish the product. At this point it needs to be tasted to suit your family’s set of taste-buds!
The vinegar can be totally left out, but as I mentioned, this had been inspired by goulash, and I wanted a sour tang which wine usually adds.