Mutton Curry with Yogurt


Here is yet another entry from the Indian home cooking repertoire that is really an approach and not a set recipe. This is one of my favourite ways of making mutton (which for Indians refers to goat). It is on the surface a not particularly sophisticated recipe—you marinade the meat in yogurt with a bunch of spices and cook it all up together with sauteed onions, ginger and garlic—but the result is invariably excellent. You can vary the ratio of spices as you like and it will probably turn out well. Despite the red in the photo there is no tomato in this. The red comes entirely from the mild Byadgi or even milder Kashmiri chilli {affiliate links] and yogurt is the souring agent. I make it in my stone-age whistling Indian pressure cooker. And I make sure there are a lot of marrow bones/shanks in my mutton—the easiest way to ensure this is to buy a leg of kid ad have it cut up such that the shanks are at least three inches long. In an old-school pressure cooker all the flavour will be extracted from the bones. Or you can just cook it slow on the stove-top. My assumption is that most of my readers don’t have old-school pressure cookers and so the recipe that follows is adapted for the stove-top; but be warned that this is an estimation—I only ever make it in the pressure cooker (see the notes for old-school pressure cooker instructions). No matter how you make it, it will be good.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs or so of mutton, ideally with a good number of marrow/shank bones
  • 1/2 cup full fat yogurt, beaten well
  • The following spices, lightly toasted over low heat in a tava or iron skilllet, cooled and ground to a fine powder: 1 tspn cumin seeds, 1 tspn coriander seeds, 1 tspn black peppercorn, 1/2 tspn fenugreek seeds, 1/2 tspn black mustard seeds, 4-6 Kashmiri or Byadgi chillies, 1 large piece cassia bark/cinnamon
  • 3/4 tspn haldi/turmeric powder
  • The following whole garam masala: 2-3 tez patta/dried cassia leaves, 4-5 pods green cardamom, 4-5 cloves
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 tspn freshly pounded garlic
  • 1 tspn freshly pounded ginger
  • 1 tspn jaggery/brown sugar
  • Salt
  • 3-4 tblspns grapeseed/avocado oil or similar
  • 2-3 cups water off the boil + more if needed.
  • 1 tblspn chopped dhania/cilantro for garnish

Preparation

  1. Wash and drain the mutton; mix thoroughly with the yogurt and ground spices and marinate for at least a couple of hours in the fridge, ideally overnight. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the whole garam masala.
  3. As soon as the tez patta darkens and the cardamom becomes fragrant (30 seconds or so) add the chopped onions and saute over medium heat till beginning to brown.
  4. Add the pounded garlic and ginger, mix and saute till the raw aroma is gone.
  5. Add the mutton with all of the marinade, turmeric and salt, mix thoroughly and saute till the oil begins to separate.
  6. Add the water and jaggery, bring to a high simmer, cover and cook till done. Add 1/2 cup of water as needed as it goes—when the mutton is cooked the gravy should be slightly thickened but easily pourable.
  7. Garnish with the chopped dhaniya and serve with rice or chapatis along with a dal (perhaps this mushoor dal) and sabzi (perhaps this dry style alu-gobi).

Notes

  1. If you had any decency you’d go out and buy an old-school Indian whistling pressure cooker to make this in. If you do, or if you already have one, plan on cooking it for about 20-25 minutes on medium heat after the first whistle. If you have one of those Instant Pot thingies please figure out the conversion and post it in the comments. On the stove top, depending on how tender your mutton is, you should expect it to take between 90 minutes and an hour.
  2. You can up the pepper and/or add some hotter chilli powder along with the other spices if you like. I keep this on the milder side so the boys can enjoy it but truth be told, it works really well this way.
  3. You could make this with beef or lamb as well but goat is really the optimal meat for this. Make sure to get a bunch of marrow bones.

 

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