If the idea of eating RAW meat is scary, then this is not the post for you!
For me, no travel to the mountains is complete without exploring the cooking styles, local cuisines and most importantly the local meat.
In my last travel to Mukteshwar, Uttrakhand, I came across one of the most unique styles of serving goat meat.
Smoked (not aged or dried) but fresh smoked goat meat with skin is thinly sliced and marinated like a pickle in mustard oil, freshly ground spices ( coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, peppercorns, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, cloves, and red chili peppers etc). The meat is left for an hour or so and is served raw!
The whole goat with skin is smoked to the point where the outer fat layer gets slightly charred and the the meat itself gets infused with the smokiness created by the pinewood oils and its aromas.
The meat fiber, during the smoking process, becomes less tensile. Reminded me of the Japanese Sashimi and I was quite surprised to discover that such a style of raw meat dish exists in our cuisine in India as well!
Our host offered us the to try the meat and did not explain what we were about to taste. My first bite reminded me of the mutton pickle I had tasted in Himachal, however that version was pre-cooked.
On my second bite I realized that the meat was raw! And to my utmost surprise, I was loving it! It was smokey, juicy, spicy, pickely tender meat with almost a pork like flavor and texture. The skin was slightly chewy and with every bite it released more flavor and slowly melted away. The meat itself was tender and full of flavors too.
That night, I ate that entire plate of ‘achari’ mutton, died and went to meat heaven!
This dish really tops my list of meat recipes and is definitely one of the most unique types of meats I have tasted.
If you are ever in the Kumaon region of Uttrakhand, do visit the local butcher and get the ‘bhuna’ or smoked variant. I will definitely travel to this region again for this dish.
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