I’m picky about my mutton & just HAVE to share that Samar Ataullah has just fed me the quintessential perfect roast mutton leg!! Utterly divine!!
Slow roasted for over five hours on a low heat to get to that perfect tenderness, Samar makes a Mechouia Style Lamb Leg with Cumin Dipping Salt. It’s roasted in garlic, cumin & rock salt flakes for what seems like forever and ends up being this stunningly soft leg with the most amazingly crusty masala. It really is gorgeous, to smell, see and taste!
It’s a Moroccan speciality and we all fell on it like beasts at the Iftar table today.
The crust is slightly salty with the garlic and roasted salt flaked cumin adding a great kick to the soft, melt in your mouth meat. It’s all so pure, simple & perfectly cooked, extremely tender, quite beautiful. No smell, no fuss, no millions of masalas killing the natural taste. Heaven.
She served it with this fantastic Persian Rice with Barberries (tiny round berries) topped with Paper Thin Sliced Fried Potatoes (which are actually apparently cooked under the rice) and a zingy, refreshing mint yoghurt.
The rice with its karori and the added crunch of the paper thin fried potatoes are the perfect accompaniment to the soft and succulent mutton and the mint yogurt the perfect, light, non obtrusive sauce to compliment the rice and meat.
It’s such a wonderful, simple, and comforting meal. The kind that has you grunting in pleasure, as you eat in silence. Cut a soft piece of well crusted meat, add the rice, barberries and crunchy potatoes to that fork, make sure your well dipped in the yoghurt and feel it all working to perfection in your mouth. The crunch of the aaloo, the soft meat, the yoghurt, the kick of the cumin. Wah! What a stunning orchestra of flavours and what a satiating, wholesome meal!
I thought it was over. Nothing could have made me happier after dinner. So the dessert was such an amazing bonus and surprise! I was ready to be condescendingly polite about it since the meal had been so amazing. But then I took one bite of her Mango Panacotta and nearly passed out in joy. Semi shocked by the thrill of what I had just eaten, I took my next bite after looking at the beautifully presented dessert carefully. It really is to good to be true. Jannat.
Samar’s Mango Panacotta is perfectly textured, soft, and Oh so light, with chunks of delicious fresh mango at the bottom of the pot, topped off with a gentle, smooth mango puree and a sprig of fresh mint. It’s thankfully not too sweet and you will close your eyes and probably moan out loud. Stunning!! Such a difficult dessert to get right, because people make the Panacotta to tight or tooooo soft or tooooo sweet, well, Samar has perfected it.
There is a simple, non pretentious artistry to Samar’s food and an understanding of respecting ingredients and flavours that I really have to respect and salute.
I can’t congratulate this young SCAFA trained Chef enough on the fabulous meal she served us today and am relieved and thrilled to have found someone who can cater a beautiful non desi meal for us now!
Samar Ataullah VOTTA discovery and treasure you are! This is just the beginning. The world is your lamb shank! Dig in and enjoy! Wooohooooo! Mubaraks to us foodies! A great mutton shank to order for the Eid table!
(By Nadia Jamil)