Kunna is a rich meat dish which is associated with the city of Chinniot in Punjab. Legend has it that it was actually originated from Mir Pur, Kashmir and became famous as Chinnioti Kunna Gosht when it reached Chinniot. Just like almost all famous food we can only discuss and share these historic culinary stories but can not be absolutely certain about authenticity. Who ever created this scrumptious meal was definitely a genius and we will always be thankful for introducing this gem of a dish to the food world. In Pakistan everyone calls it a Chinnioti specialty.
Kunna is traditionally cooked in a big clay pot over low flame for relatively longer duration of time in ghee. It is made with chunks of mutton ( people make it with beef and chicken too) and has slightly thick and smooth gravy. For Kunna gosht, mutton is supposed to be super tender and ultra moist and juicy even though it is not pan roasted like most meat dishes. The main ingredient that gives Kunna it’s signature aroma and taste is Black Cumin Seed. Most of the time we incorporate white cumin seeds in our cooking but this one requires black cumin seeds.
Firstly, ghee is melted in a clay pot and then some sliced onions are softened in hot ghee. Then meat joins the club and gets cooked only for a few minutes at this point, only to get the color changed without browning. With the addition of ginger and garlic paste and basic seasonings and spices it is then cooked over low medium flame for about 90 minutes. Once tender, it is thickened with a paste of water and flour but not as thick as Nihari though. I used a combo of white rice flour and tapioca flour for thickening of the gravy while keeping it gluten free. Then it is left on simmer for few more minutes.
I didn’t have a clay pot so I cooked it in a regular metal pot. Mutton for Kunna gosht has slightly bigger pieces of meat with bones. I used boneless mutton which was cut in medium sized pieces. This will not mess with the flavor of the dish a bit. In general, cut of the meat and it’s size will only effect the cooking length.
Serve it hot with naan/roti. See how tender the meat is! What are we waiting for then? Let us cook..
A rich and fragrant meat dish from the city of Chinniot!
- ¾ cup ghee/clarified butter
- ½ cup sliced onion
- 1.5 kg mutton, slightly bigger pieces with bones (I used small boneless pieces)
- 1½ tbsp ginger paste
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 2 tsp salt
- 1¾ tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp tumeric powder
- 2-3 small pieces cinnamon sticks
- 2 black cardamoms
- 4-5 green cardamoms
- 6-7 whole black pepper corns
- 4-5 cloves
- 1 litre water
- 1 tbsp white rice flour
- 1 tbsp tapioca flour
- ½ cup water
- 1 tbsp black cumin seeds
- 2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (methi in Urdu)
- 4-5 whole dried red chillies (or use ⅓ tsp crushed)
- ¼ tsp nutmeg powder
- ¼ tsp mace powder
- 1¼ tsp garam masala powder
Melt ghee in a clay pot or regular pot and add sliced onions.
Cook over medium flame for 2-3 minutes, while stirring, till softened. Make sure onions don't get any color.
Add meat pieces and cook for 3-4 minutes only till color changes.
Add in ginger paste and garlic paste.
Add in salt, red chilli powder, coriander powder and tumeric powder. Stir well.
Add in black and green cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon sticks and black pepper corns.
Pour in one litre of water. Cover the pot and let it cook over low medium flame for about 90 minutes.
Make a paste of white rice and tapioca flour with half cup of water and add to the cooking meat while stirring to avoid and lump.
Lower the flame to simmer. Add in black cumin seeds, dried fenugreek leaves, red chillies, nutmeg and mace. Cover the pot and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
Switch the flame off, sprinkle garam masala and serve hot with naan/roti.
- If you don't have any gluten restrictions then used regular fine white wheat flour.
- Check seasonings before serving.
- If you don't prefer ghee, use cooking oil.
- Do not substitute black cumin seeds with white cumin seeds.
- It doesn't require ginger, lemon and coriander garnish while serving.