Cooking without a recipe is a lot of fun. Given you know your way around techniques, spices, and flavours. A few days ago, we had a couple of friends over for lunch. They were anticipating a hearty and delicious meal since it was I who was cooking. Had to keep my reputation intact, you see. There was a kilo of mutton and a few potatoes. I figured I’ll make the usual mutton and potato curry. But then I changed my mind the last minute to try something new. And it turned out super tasty! So here’s the recipe for my Mutton Curry with Potatoes.
Yes, this is yet another chicken curry recipe and that’s why the title remains. More often than not, many recipes have the same ingredients and methods of cooking. But every once in a while you can change a couple of things and turn it into a new dish. I was binge watching Chef John’s Food Wishes channel on YouTube because there is hardly anything more entertaining than when food and humour come together. Anyway, in one of his Indian recipes he grinds the onion and tomatoes together before adding it to his dish. The norm is to grind them to pastes and purees separately and then go about your business. This method was different.
The last time I made bafat was with pork, a few months ago. This time I wanted it with mutton. Not only that, I wanted it smoked. Who doesn’t love a good smokey flavour, right? Thankfully, the ironing guy had his shop open right beside my house. I got a couple of pieces of coal from him and used it to smoke the mutton curry. It turned out pretty smacking good. The smoke sure did seep through the curry and into the meat. This was lunch, and by dinner the curry got even better. You can find the recipe for bafat powder here.
Mutton on the bone - 600 gms
Onions - 2 sliced
Green chillies - 2
Bafat powder - 4 tbsp (2 tbsp if you don't want it too spicy)
Tamarind pulp - 1 tbsp if it's a strong paste, 2 if it's juice from the pulp
Garlic - 4 cloves crushed
Ginger - 1 inch piece sliced
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
A katori (small bowl) and 2 tsp of ghee
Heat oil in a pressure cooker and saute sliced onions till lightly browned.
Add green chillies, ginger and garlic. Saute some more.
Now add the mutton pieces, bafat powder, tamarind pulp, salt and water just enough to cover the meat.
Put the lid of the cooker on without the whistle and when you see the steam escaping the nozzle, put the whistle on. Cook on high till the first whistle is out. Then cook on low heat for 15 to 20 mins.
Let the pressure drop on its own before you open the lid.
Now open the lid, place the small bowl with the hot coal in it in the centre and pour 2 tsp of ghee on it. It will immediately emit smoke and you need to put the lid back on. Let it sit like that for 15 mins. No need to move it else the coal might end up in your curry. Take the lid off and remove the bowl with the coal. Reheat before serving.
I served this with peas pulao. You could serve with plain rice, jeera rice or any other kind of rice.
Thanks to my Mangalorean lineage, I love coconut – in, on, under, over, however! In this recipe, eggs are poached in the curry. I don’t know if we went to Israel or they came to Mangalore for a holiday, but there’s a Shakshuka connection somewhere in the eggs poaching in curry/sauce. Why this is a quick dish for me is that I make the coconut based masala and store it in the fridge way before. It becomes the base for my chicken, mutton and vegetable curry. It’s most convenient when you’re a working person, and all you need to do it cook the vegetables out in the masala. You can then either add any kind of stock or simply use coconut milk for some gravy.
Ingredients: 3 tsp of the ground coconut masala 1 tbsp ghee or oil 1 medium onion finely chopped 1 tetrapack coconut milk (200 ml or approx a cup) 1 medium tomato finely chopped 1 tsp tamarind pas 2 large potatoes cooked and diced 4 eggs Chopped coriander for garnish Salt to taste
Method: 1. Heat oil/ghee and add onions. 2. Let it turn golden brown and then add the curry paste. 3. It will turn darker in colour (2-3 mins) and then add the tomatoes and salt. 4. Add coconut milk and a cup of water to dilute the curry. 5. Let it come to a bubble before you add the potatoes. 6. Now gently crack each egg open into the curry, at four different spots. 7. Cover and lower the flame. Let it cook further for 5-7 mins or till the yolks are set. 8. Garnish with coriander and serve with rice.
I’ve never been a fan of using readymade masala/powders to make curries. But I was curious to see how it would work if I used it as a marinade. I tried the Shaan Chicken Tikka Masala powder to marinate my chicken before making a curry out of it.
Ingredients for marinade: Chicken Tikka Masala powder – 5 tsp Lemon juice – 3 tsp Salt- 2 tsp Curd – 1/2 cup
Other ingredients: Chicken – 1/2 kg Onion – 2 turned to paste Tomato – 3 pureed Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp Chilli powder – 1 tsp Cumin seeds – 1 tsp Green chillies – 1 chopped Coriander leaves for garnish
Method: 1. Marinade chicken in mentioned ingredients for 2 hours. 2. Heat oil and add cumin seeds and chillies. 3. Add onion paste along with ginger garlic paste. 4. Once onion changes colour, add turmeric and chilli powder. 5. Add tomatoes and let it cook for 10 mins. 6. Add salt and tip the chicken along with the marinade. 7. Cook for 15-20 mins in low flame with half a cup of water. 8. Garnish with coriander leaves.
This happened when Gurgaon was not figuratively, but also literally cold. Very cold. Chicken curry was becoming too mainstream. Next up was mutton. No beef or pork available at local stores anyway.
Ingredients: Mutton – 1/2 kg Onion – 4 chopped (keep aside a small bowl of onions aside) Tomato – 4 chopped Green chillies – 2 chopped Ginger – 1/2 inch chopped Garlic – 5 pods chopped Whole pepper – 1 tbsp crushed Spice powders (cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli) – 1 tsp each Garam masala – 1 tbsp Sugar – 1 tsp Coriander leaves and fried onions to garnish
Method: 1. In a pressure cooker saute onions in hot oil along with chillies, pepper, sugar, ginger and garlic till soft. 2. Add spice powders, garam masala and salt to taste. 3. Add mutton and stir for a minute before adding enough water to cover the mutton. 4. Let it come to a simmer before putting on the lid of the cooker. 5. Take lid off after 2 – 3 whistles and check if meat is cooked. If not cook it till another whistle is let off. 6. Let it simmer in low flame. Add more water if needed. 7. In another pan fry the chopped onions kept aside earlier till dark brown. 8. Garnish with coriander leaves and the fried onions.
Serve with rice or rotis. I prefer rice because, South Indian FTW.