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.
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.
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.
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.
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.