As you probably know – fresh meat is among the key pillars of this lifestyle. I’m not sure the meat we get at our local butcher is grass-fed or grain fed. I know hay forms a large part of livestock feed here, so i’m hoping the meat tends towards the equivalent of grass-fed pastured meat. Red meat can be found in most places save in states where being a non-vegetarian is frowned upon. Oh, incidentally, mutton here is rarely that, it’s typically goat meat.
For those of you who are used to buying meat from the retail outlets, a trip to one of these market stalls can border on the terrifying, however, there is absolutely no comparing meat sourced fresh from a slaughter and the more convenient, less hideous packaged meats. Goat meat is quite expensive here, averaging Rs. 400 – Rs. 490 a kilo. I typically buy four to five kilos of meat every weekend, separated into five or so packs. The guidelines for buying goat are given below.
The cuts i prefer are the ribs and chest pieces. Loaded with tender fat, these are delicious in my opinion. However, they tend to make gravies and curries oily, so for a liquid curry, I would prefer the more meaty ‘nalli’ or leg pieces. Ribs are ideal for biriyani or if you have the time, a nice grill. The red meat though – consisting of shoulder, shanks, rib, and neck muscles – is packed with flavour and a great deal of fat. While the fat doesn’t worry me, most of our dishes call for a degree of pressure cooking. The problem is, this renders the fat, and typically coats the meat with a form of greasy oil that solidifies if cooled to even room temperature. This coats the roof of the mouth, and can be quite a pain to clear from dishes. I would recommend using this meat trimmed of all external fat in dishes that do not have much oil in them, but a lot of lime and vinegar (think goan cuisine).
Important to any paleo diet, is consumption of organ meat. Before you imagine a failed musician eating his musical instrument, think liver, heart and tongue. It’s highly unlikely you will find these in a retail outlet, but you can easily pick these up at the butchers. Liver cooks quicker than the meat, while the tongue and heart take longer. And finally, shank bones (mutton/goat shops sell it for Rs. 200 a kilo) and/or trotters (paya). Absolutely essential to have these boiled into a rich gelatinous soup with bits of marrow floating around. Have a potful of this over the week, probably as a late evening beverage (a little salt and pepper for flavour of course).
In case why you’re wondering why i haven’t mentioned pork, it’s only because i believe that this meat deserves it’s own post for both positive and negative reasons