If you know Urdu you know Shola means flame but why is this particular dish called Shola Afghani? I have absolutely no idea. I don’t know if it is actually from Afghan Cuisine. But one thing I am sure of and can guarantee is that you are gonna love it. It is very simple but extremely yummy. It has three basic ingredients; beef, rice and yellow lentil (mong ke daal), rest is all regular spices we have in our desi kitchen cabinets all the time. To me, it is like Haleem’s cousin and since I don’t cook Haleem anymore due to same old gluten free requirement… (do I sound like a broken record?) this is THE substitution. This is more or less my awesome Khala’s recipe. Again I would say Urdu is so rich and amazing as we have such beautiful words for our relatives instead of aunty and uncle only.
Let’s breakdown the cooking process; you cook daal and rice with regular daily use spices with plenty of water. No need to pre soak them. Rice needs to get all mushy to give thick consistency to the dish. In another pot you bhoonofy cooked beef (browning meat with fried golden brown onion in oil) which I have explained in Butter Chicken, with spices and tomato puree. I freeze boiled mutton and beef to save cooking time while preparing a meal without adding anything but water. Make sure beef is well cooked and tender. Then you mix meat and daal mixture, blend them well together, enhance the flavor with tarka and garnish with fresh coriander, lemon and ginger.
I have a very low threshold for spices so if you are a strong person and enjoy living on the edge, go ahead and upgrade the spice or/and salt level. You can use chopped tomatoes, about 4-5 medium, instead of puree. I prefer puree. Cooking time may vary according to your geographical location. Add more water to adjust consistency you like. It will yield a very generous amount so be kind and share it with your neighbors.
A hearty meal using simple and staple ingredients with minimum preparation.
- 1 cup yellow lentil, washed mong ke daal, no soaking required
- 1 cup rice, washed no soaking required
- 2 1/2 litres water
- 1 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp red chilli powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp corriander powder
- 3/4 tsp tumeric powder
- 1/4 cup cooking oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 300 gm lean beef, cubed and cooked
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp red chlli powder
- 1 tsp corriander powder
- 1/8 tsp tumeric powder
- 6 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 medium green chilli, chopped
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp sliced ginger
- 1 medium green chilli, chopped
Combine yellow lentil and rice in a large cooking pot. Add water, salt, red chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder.
Let cook on medium high flame for 40-45 minutes, stirring at regular intervals to avoid lumps and sticking to the bottom of the pan. Rice and lentil will be very tender and the mixture will thicken. Remove from the heat when done.
While daal and rice are cooking, heat oil in a small pan and fry sliced onion till golden brown.
Add cooked beef and brown well, about 4-5 minutes, on medium flame. Add ginger and garlic paste and cook well, stirring continuously, 2-3 minutes. Add in salt, red chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder.
Add tomato puree, mix well and cook till oil separates from the mixture, 3-4 minutes, while stirring continuously. Add green chilli. You add a little water during the meat browning process if you feel the mixture is sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat when done.
Add meat mixture with all the masala and oil to the cooked daal and rice mixture. Using a hand held mixer blend it all together. (or use a blender or food processor and blend in batches)
Place on medium flame and heat through.
For tarka, heat oil in a small frying pan and fry onion slices, ginger slices and chopped garlic till golden brown. Add to hot daal meat mixture, Stir.
Garnish with lemon wedges, sliced ginger, chopped fresh green coriander and green chilli. Serve hot with naan or enjoy with a spoon!