First off, homemade harissa is the best. If you haven’t made it, let me tell you it’s the easiest condiment to make with everyday ingredients. And quite fun too. Also, there are so many different dishes you can make based on harissa. I made a salad dressing and it was delicious. You can make chicken wings with it, or simply use it in yoghurt to make a dip and much more.
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 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.
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.
Yesterday was spent cooking and over eating chicken biryani. I couldn’t get myself to cook more chicken today as well. Not in this heat. My kitchen doubles as a sauna during summer. That’s why the spinach curry and some egg masala on the side. The curry base was a mix of cooked tur dal and ground coconut with whole spices. If the masala and dal are made before hand, it’s a easier to put it all together.
Ingredients: Spinach - 2 cups chopped Tur dal - 1/2 cup cooked Green chilly - 1 slit Salt - to taste Ground masala: Coconut - 1/2 cup grated or cut pieces Dried red chilly - 1 Cumin seeds - 2 tsp Coriander seeds - 1 tsp Pepper corns - 1 tsp Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp Water - enough to make a thick paste Tempering: Oil/ghee - 1 tbsp Mustard seeds - 1 tsp Dried red chilly - 2 Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Method: Blanch the spinach and keep aside. Save the water it was blanched in. Heat a pan with a tsp of oil/ghee and add 3 tbsp of the ground masala along with the dal. Mix well and add a dash of blanching water. Add the spinach, salt and chilly. Let it come to a boil and take it off the heat. Now heat some ghee in a pan for tempering. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the red chilly and the curry leaves. Once they splutter as well, add to the curry. Note: Save the masala in a box and freeze. Use when you need to make another curry. Replace spinach with any other cooked vegetables. Same with the dal
Ingredients: Eggs - 4 boiled Onion - 1 medium sized finely chopped Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp Curry leaves - 1 sprig Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp Garam masala - 1/4 tsp Salt to taste Oil/ghee - 2 tbsp
Method: Heat oil/ghee and add the cumin seeds and then the curry leaves. Add the onions. Add garam masala, turmeric, chilly powder and salt. Stir well. Once onions are cooked through, add eggs and mix. Take off heat and serve as a side dish.
Garlic chicken is quite an easy dish to put together. Key ingredient being garlic, of course. There’s a whole lot of it in there and some more. I’ve basically marinated chicken in a lot of garlic and yoghurt overnight and slow cooked it with some turmeric and chilli paste. It’s a very fragrant and flavourful curry, mild on spice levels and easy on the tummy. Serve with steamed rice, followed by a nap.
Ingredients: Chicken - 1 kg with bone Garlic paste - 3 tbsp or more Yoghurt - 1/4 cup (Marinate chicken in garlic and yoghurt for 4 hours or overnight) Turmeric - 2 tsp Green chilli - 3 slit Red chilli paste/powder - 2 tsp Cumin seeds - 2 tsp Fresh cream - 1/4 cup Salt to taste Ghee/oil Garnish: Onions - 1/2 cup sliced and golden fried Coriander - 1/4 cup chopped
Method: Heat ghee/oil, add jeera and let it splutter. Add chicken with the marinate, a cup of water, turmeric chilli paste and salt. Let it come to a bubble and lower the flame. Cook for 30 mins or more, depending on how big the chicken pieces are. Whip the cream a little and add to the curry. Turn off flame. Garnish with coriander and fried onions. I've also chopped up some onion, tomato and coriander to have on the side.