From what was going to be a good old Sunday mutton curry, an improv in the ground masala turned it into something totally different and ten notches better than the regular curry. What happened was that a tip from my mother occurred to me – roasting coconut till it is brown gives a rich colour to the curry and makes it a lot more tasty. It was probably that, and the curry leaves I toasted and threw into the masala to grind. This can obviously work with chicken too.
Too many curries have happened in the past so let’s just do a dry dish this time. I love my mutton and I love it with spices. I have no patience to slow cook mutton for an hour. I pressure cook it and it’s absolutely soft and delicious. This time I saved the stock to use it in a noodle soup and the mutton went into the dry dish. A simple spice mix of whole spices dry roasted and blended together made this simply perfect. It’s also quite easy because it takes a basic tomato-onion base and this spice mix with mutton.
Almost every weekend I’ve been cooking mutton for lunch. And more often than I’d like, they have been on the spicier side. I’m all for it, but when the husband’s stomach doesn’t always agree with the spices, it’s nice to take a small break from them. That’s why the mutton stew. Mutton is cooked in a fresh coconut paste with a couple of chillies (I need *some* heat for heaven’s sake), peppercorns and coconut milk. Mildly spiced and full of flavour, this one also has potatoes and carrots. Careful though, the veggies can easily breakdown when cooked with the mutton. You can pre cook them and add it to the stew after the mutton has been cooked.
Have you seen those red squashes in supermarkets that says kokum juice? It’s mostly made during summers at home because of its cooling properties. It is also great to relieve acid reflux. I recently bought some and used it in my mutton curry. It acts as a souring agent lending a touch of sweetness to the curry. All you need to do is soak the kokum in warm water for it to release its juices. Then add the whole thing to your curry. Even the kokum. It tastes great once the sourness has toned down.
You know that one time when you least expected something to turn out as you wanted it to and it actually turns out spectacular? That was this mutton curry for me. I even did a little jig when I scooped a little gravy with my finger and shoved it into my mouth to taste it. I’d stumbled on this recipe on YouTube and bookmarked it to make it on a Sunday. Don’t judge me, but I’m the pressure cooking kind when it’s mutton. I’ve tried slow cooking it when I made mutton korma and as it turns out, it really doesn’t make a world of difference to its taste. If anything, I save on resources with my pressure cooker.
I love my meat and you can tell by the number of mutton dishes I’ve posted of late. Every other week I like trying out a new kind of mutton dish. More often than not they have been in curry form. This time I tried a roast dish. No, it isn’t where you pop it into the oven to roast. Here roast means cooking the meat out till there’s no more liquid left and you end with a well cooked and dry dish. And like with chicken sukka, this roast goes well with a simple dal and rice.
I was on YouTube watching Antony Bourdain’s show Parts Unknown (which is awesome) and one of the videos that was the suggestions list was a mutton yakni recipe. I’ve never had it before but it seemed like a fairly easy recipe to try. The only thing I wasn’t sure of was the lack of any heat in the curry. That’s why I tweaked the recipe a great deal. It wasn’t a yakni anymore. I’m ok with that because I’d rather taste a good yakni before attempting to make it. This one does have a yoghurt curry and a couple of spice powders. I’ve added garlic and green chilli paste for some flavour and heat.
This bowl of minced meat with chickpeas and foxtail millet is a thoroughly satisfying meal. Mutton (you could use lamb) is simmered with lots of tomatoes and spices with chickpeas tossed in when it’s almost done. It’s a pretty straightforward and basic, but makes for a hearty meal. With foxtail millet you can eliminate the guilt that might come with polished white rice. I for one am alright with carrying that guilt every now and then. If you don’t have cooked chickpeas, feel free to use potatoes.
Mutton curries don’t have to elaborate and you don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen to make a pot of curry. I love my mutton curries and make variations of it. I don’t quite know if this curry qualifies to be called a Chettinad style curry. Nevertheless, it does so to be called a pepper curry. Predominant with whole pepper and curry leaves, the freshly ground spice mix also has coriander, cumin and coconut. I didn’t make a paste of it. I dry ground it. Then I cooked the mutton with this mix and that was that. As always, I deseeded the Kashmiri chillies to keep the heat factor on the lower side. The heat of the pepper is enough here. Make some hot dosae and you’re golden for Sunday lunch.
Marinate 1 kilo mutton pieces – leg and shoulder – overnight in:
1/2 cup curd
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
Juice of one lemon
Salt to taste
Ingredients for curry:
1/4 cup ghee
2 medium sized onions finely sliced
1 medium sized onions finely sliced and fried till golden brown, for garnish
1 inch cinnamon piece
4 cardamom pods
200 gm set curt hung for a couple of hours and whipped till smooth
1 tsp each of – cumin powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chilli powder
1 tbsp tamarind pulp
2 tbsp tomato puree
Salt to taste
1. Heat ghee and add cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.
2. Add onions and saute till light brown.
3. Add marinated mutton pieces along with marinade.
4. Add whipped curd, cumin, turmeric and chilli powder.
5. Mix well and add tamarind pulp along with tomato puree.
6. Add water till mutton is just about immersed in it.
7. Let it all come to a boil on medium heat, and then cook for around 50 mins on low flame. If it still seems a little undercooked, let it stay on the flame for another 10 mins.
8. Take off heat. Garnish with fried onions, coriander leaves and almond flakes if you have any.
Goes great with paranthas, rice, rotis, anything.
* I first hang the curd and then whip it so it’s smooth and won’t curdle in the heat. Even if it does look curdled, don’t worry, by the end it works out just fine.