​​Ghushtaba - pounded mutton meatballs in a yoghurt gravy

​​Ghushtaba - pounded mutton meatballs in a yoghurt gravy

This Kashmiri dish of mutton meatballs with a yogurt gravy is often eaten as part of a wazwan, a multi-course Kashmiri banquet. Ghushtaba are often served as the grand finale to the whole banquet, which can feature several dozen different dishes
  • Cooking:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    For the meatballs, remove any fat from the meat and reserve the bones for the stock.
  2. Step 2

    Cut the meat into pieces and rub with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt
  3. Step 3

    Place the meat on a wooden board (or smooth stone) and pound with a wooden mallet. Remove any pieces of sinew and keep pounding until the texture and colour of the meatresembles pâté
  4. Step 4

    Add the lard, ghee or oil and continue to pound
  5. Step 5

    Finally, add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pound until everything is well combined and the meat has a paste-like texture. Alternatively, use a food processor to blitz it all to a fine paste
  6. Step 6

    Divide the mixture and shape into 4 large balls with wet hands
  7. Step 7

    For the stock, place the bones in a large pan and add the water, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon and salt
  8. Step 8

    Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, until the stock is reduced by half to 500ml. Remove and discard any scum that comes to the top. Once reduced, set aside
  9. Step 9

    Make shallot paste: Pour the ghee into a heavy-based saucepan and heat to 170°C/340°F on a digital thermometer. Alternatively, you can drop in a tiny piece of shallot: if it floats to the surface, then the ghee is hot enough; if it sinks, the ghee is not hot enough yet
  10. Step 10

    Once the ghee is hot, add the chopped shallots in batches and fry until golden brown and crispy
  11. Step 11

    Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and cool
  12. Step 12

    When the crispy golden shallots have cooled down, grind to a fine paste with a pestle and mortar. You must have patience to get the right consistency. Keep grinding until the mixture changes colour to creamy white and the texture becomes like a paste. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, you can blitz in a blender, but the taste and texture won’t be the same. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use in dishes when required. It will keep for up to a week
  13. Step 13

    To make the gravy, heat the ghee or oil in a separate large pan over a low heat. Add the whisked yoghurt and cook for 5 minutes, whisking continuously so that the mixture doesn’t curdle
  14. Step 14

    Add the crushed garlic and 2 tsp shallot paste, along with the ground ginger and fennel. Now, add the meatballs, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring
  15. Step 15

    Add the stock and cook for a further 15 minutes until the gravy thickens. Mix in the dried mint and leave to rest for 30 minutes. Resting helpings the broth to seep in the meatballs
  16. Step 16

    Serve hot, with steamed rice