My recent trip to Sri Lanka was filled with food, people, culture, and lots of fun. And I snuck in a round of shopping for local ingredients too. I ate string hoppers, egg hoppers, crab, fish, prawn, lobster, watalapan, kiribath and so much more! I remember downing passion fruits like they were tequila shots.
Chilli Pork with a Sticky, Spicy, and Salty Sauce
There’s something devilishly good about licking the remains of a heavenly chilli pork off your fingers. I had made some a few months ago when I discovered my second love – the pork vendor at INA. There used to be one online vendor who sold pork meat in Gurgaon and that wasn’t even good meat. But the INA market in Delhi is where all the action is. I was kicking myself for not having been there in my almost 4 year stay in Gurgaon. Better late than never, I guess. This was my second visit and I went to the same vendor I did the last time. His was the only shop that was always crowded. He didn’t have time to swat the flies of the meat, unlike the neighbour vendors who looked at his customers longingly.
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.
Pork Masala – Hot and sour pork curry
I don’t know what to call this – pork masala or hot and sour pork curry. Either way, it turned out pretty good. It was surprising to see boneless pork on Bigbasket the other day and I ordered some. Sunday lunch was this pork masala and it was finger-licking good. As always, I rely on freshly ground spice mixtures and I made one for this curry too. I’ve made pork bafat or Mangalorean style pork before with freshly ground bafat powder. This one though is very different. I wanted something sour and spicy.
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.
Before any of you ask me if you can replace Goan sausages with frozen chicken sausages, I will hit you with a hot dog. No you can’t replace them simply because no other sausages can give you that much flavour and heat. Except maybe, Spanish chorizo (I said, maybe). Any how, the backstory to this dish is that a friend’s girlfriend left some Goan sausages she brought from Mumbai at my place. Friend left for Bangalore for good and I confiscated the sausages. The first time I had Goan sausages or chorizo as they call it, was in Goa a few years ago. It was nothing like a sausage – it was spicy and in small pieces. When I saw these little beads of meat tied together with a thread in the freezer, I wanted to do two things with them – a pulao (never eaten it before) and of course, with eggs.
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.