My dad had it really good while he was growing up. Most Hindu kids growing up in the 50s in India had to go behind their mothers' backs in order to sneak a taste of meat or eggs. Most kids, but not my dad. My grandmother took great pride in her meat, seafood, and egg cooking skills. She insisted that her children eat meat even though my grandfather was a strict vegetarian. And like most kids who have it good, my dad did not realize how lucky he was! He was an extremely picky eater until he was a teenager. Many of the amazing things his mother made, like this meatloaf, he would reject, instead dining on flatbread with scrambled eggs! Luckily for me, he not only learned to love eating the meat, seafood, and eggs, he also learned how to cook them!
This dish is, strangely, named after a dessert called Mysore Pak. Mysore pak is a sweet and buttery sweet named after the South Indian city of Mysore. The name for the sweet dessert somehow got stuck onto this savory meatloaf--likely due to the shape of the final dish. Also, our Surati dialects managed to transform the word Mysore into a pronunciation of "mehsoor" thus leading to the final Gujarati name for this dish--Mutton nu Mehsoor.
This dish is very easy to make and can readily be made with ingredients available at any supermarket. In India, we would have used ground goat meat, however as lamb is much easier to find in the states, we used lamb. Beef would be a great substitute if goat or lamb are not available. Unlike conventional meatloaf, the meat is cooked before being baked and is made delicious with the addition of onions, a variety of wet spices, cashews, and garam masala. It is then placed into a baking dish, allowed to cool for a bit, mixed with some egg, and baked until set. It is tasty and quick, and would be a great dinner with a salad or some Indian inspired slaw on the side. Be sure to eat the meatloaf with plenty of fresh lime juice! Enjoy!
Note: Charoli is a nut that is rarely used outside of India. It adds a subtle sweetness to the dish that is entirely optional. If you'd like to try it, your best bet would be at a well stocked local Indian grocery store.
1 lb. coarsely ground goat, lamb, or beef
1 medium sized onion
1 tsp. ghee (clarified butter)
1.5 tsp. finely minced serrano chilis
1.5 tsp. ground or grated fresh ginger
1.5 tsp. ground or grated fresh garlic
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/3 cup cashews, broken into 1/2 inch pieces
2 Tbsp. charoli seeds, optional
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. garam masala
Salt, to taste
2 eggs, beaten
Peel and cut the onion into quarters. Use a food processor to process the onions until they are coarsely minced. If you do not have a food processor, use a hand grater on the largest hole grater. Place the onions in a fine mesh sieve and apply some pressure until the liquid has drained well from the onions. Warning: Be careful! This is a very tear inducing step!
Heat a pan over medium heat. Add the ghee, and allow to heat until fully melted and warmed through. Add the ground meat, and begin to brown while breaking up the pieces to get a finer meat texture. Continue to cook until the meat appears to be mostly cooked and some fat and liquid have separated from the meat. Add the drained onions, and stir to mix completely. Add the serranos, ginger, garlic, salt, and turmeric and continue to cook until some of the liquid seems to have evaporated. Add the cashews, and stir to blend. When the meat looks fully cooked and much of the liquid has disappeared, add the garam masala and lemon juice and stir completely. Add more salt, lemon juice, or garam masala to taste.
Turn on the oven to 325F.
Carefully empty out the meat into a container large enough to have the meat be a 3/4 inch thick layer. Spread the meat out, and allow it to cool for about 15 minutes, or until cool enough that it will not cook raw egg. When the meat is cool, pour the eggs on top, and using a fork swirl the egg into the meat, to allow it to act as a binding agent.
Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Slice, eat, and enjoy with plenty of fresh lime juice!