I’ve previously posted a recipe for mutton curry in a typically Bengali style. Here now is a variation on that made with a lot more tomatoes (which are the source of the redness). It’s a very easy recipe, especially if you have a pressure cooker—but it can very easily be done on the stovetop or even in the slow cooker. By the way, in case you don’t know, when Indians say “mutton” we mean goat; you can just as easily make this with lamb or even beef; I wouldn’t suggest it with chicken as the lower cooking time with chicken may result in a sauce that’s dominated too much by the large amount of tomatoes used (over the longer cooking time on the stove-top, or over 30 minutes in a pressure cooker, with more richly flavoured meat, the tomato integrates well with everything else).
- Mutton (or lamb or beef), 2.5 lbs, cut into medium pieces. If using mutton/goat, ask for the hind leg and use the marrow bones/shanks.
- Tomatoes, 1.5 lbs, cut up with all the juice.
- Red onion, 1 large, sliced thickly.
- Ginger, 1 tblspn, grated.
- Turmeric powder, 3/4 tspn
- The following whole spices: 1-5 dried red chillies; 1 tspn black peppercorns; 4-5 cloves; 4-5 green cardamom pods; a few small pieces cinnamon or cassia bark
- Sugar, 1 tblspn
- Water, 1 cup (and more as necessary)
- Cilantro for garnish
- Heat the oil and add all the whole spices except the peppercorns.
- Once the spices become fragrant, taking care to not let them burn, add the onions and grated ginger and saute till the onion begins to brown around the edges.
- Add the turmeric powder and stir for a minute.
- Add the meat, peppercorns and salt and saute over high heat till the meat has given up a lot of water and oil has begun to separate.
- Add the tomatoes and cook down to a thick consistency.
- Add the sugar, the cup of water, mix and cook till done (see notes below).
- Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice and mushoor dal.
- The cook time will be 30 minutes in an old school Indian pressure cooker (reduce the heat to medium after the first whistle).
- If you’re cooking it on the stove top, reduce to a high simmer after adding the water and bringing it to a boil and cook covered till done—you’ll probably need to add half a cup of water a few times before it’s ready (the final consistency of the sauce should be neither too thick nor too thin).
- If you’re cooking it in the slow cooker you could probably dump everything in with a 1/2 cup of water and cook all day on the low setting till done. (I’ve never done this myself so if you try it do let me know how it turns out.)
- How hot you make this is completely up to you. At least one hot dried chilli is probably a good idea but I wouldn’t make it too hot. This is a good gateway curry for small children, by the way.
- The peppercorns are like little mines scattered in the sour-sweet sauce. I like having them explode in my mouth. Feel free to reduce or omit them if this prospect doesn’t sound enticing to you.
- This sort of a curry is also excellent with chapatis.