Mutton in Yoghurt Based Curry
As I was scrolling down my Twitter timeline, I happened to see Delicious Magazine’s tweet of a nihari lamb. More often than not, Indian recipes from other countries are rarely like what we’d cook here. But this one seemed doable and with a few tweaks, it turned out pretty good. My mutton curries are usually big on whole spices which are freshly ground. This one didn’t need any of that. Mutton was the hero of the dish. And even the curry tasted of it.
Mutton Curry with Potatoes
Most Bengali and Mangalorean households swear by potatoes in their mutton curries. I don’t know the origin of how it came to be, and I won’t get into it right now. Well, when something tastes good, you’ve got to let it be. There are many mutton curries out there and I have made several ones myself. The best part about mutton is that it gives such great flavour to the gravy so it tastes great the next day even. I made this one with a robust spice mix that has all things good from my spice cabinet. I added coconut and some khus khus to thicken the curry.
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.