Bihar's non vegetarian cuisine is a delectable realm dominated by traditional and rustic style mutton, fish and chicken delicacies. Among the wide range of the nonveg dishes, the one dish that has been winning the hearts of meat lovers across the country is the Champaran Meat. The name suggests the belief that this rustic one pot delicacy with its roots in Ghorasharan, Bihar got popularised in and around Champaran. With its outstanding taste and texture profile, it is one of the star dishes of the state. At many places it is also known as Ahuna mutton or Handi mutton.
In today's episode we will tell you about our tryst with this toothsome mutton curry that is prepared in a sealed clay pot or vessel over embers. As per the traditional recipe, thoroughly mutton pieces are marinated in grated onion, green chillies, garlic and assortment of warming spices, salt and mustard oil and is then placed inside a clay pot called handi. The vessel is then sealed with a clay lid that has a tiny hole in it for the steam to escape. Just like all other dishes this recipe too undergoes some variations across regions within the state.
Our search for the dish led us to two most popular destinations that serve the same. One was Patna's Old Champaran Meat House and the other was Motihaari's Jaiswal Meat House. The first place is the most celebrated one because their version of the Ahuna mutton flavoured with their secret in-house spice mix is truly delicious. On reaching there, the gracious owner Gopal Khuswaha Ji showed us how it is prepared at his shop. The two indispensable parts of this dish is the clay handi and the embers. The process of its making was quite fascinating. After an impatient wait for 2 hours right from the beginning of the step, we finally tasted this divine delicacy. The meat was tender, juicy and rich with the taste of the masalas.
The second destination Jaiswal Meat House, is known to be the pioneer of this dish in Motihari. The whole lane where the shop is located is lined with shops selling just Ahuna meat. Jaiswal Meat House was abuzz with people. The sight of the whistling handis fascinated us and the aroma of mutton left us drooling. Here we tried the dish with bhunja. The flavours were slightly different from the previous destination because of the use of whole spices. But it was as good as it was.
With all the amazing flavours coming from the convergence of the influence of the clay pot, mustard oil, spices and embers it is a dish that deserves all the crazy love and attention.