Mutton curry!

Just like meatless Mondays here, we used to have “meat Sundays” while growing up.  Every Sunday morning my dad would go to the market to get meat and some times vegetables.  There usually was no breakfast on Sundays since the kitchen would be busy with lunch preparations.  We didn’t have refrigerators and not everything was pre-made and sold so everything had to be made fresh and from scratch – ginger garlic paste, garam masala, poppy seed paste (nuts were too expensive), shredded coconut – and before blenders most of these were made using a mortar and pestle…so kitchens on Sunday mornings were a flurry of activity.  Like everything else, I just took Sunday meals for granted – I didn’t worry about details of where the meat came from or how it was prepared.  All I did was wrinkle my nose if it was a mutton day and not a chicken day.  I was never a big meat person but I preferred chicken to mutton.  Mutton was too strong for me and too chewy.  I still don’t eat much meat but I cook it.

My dad was very particular about his mutton and he would go only to a specific butcher for his meat.  He would stand there and have the butcher cut the choicest pieces of meat he selected…some times he would even select the animal that would be slaughtered.  Mutton, for me, was always sheep since my dad would not eat goat meat and he also preferred male sheep’s meat to female’s.  So I was quite confused when I started cooking and found a few different choices for mutton.  I learnt that lamb is a young sheep – typically under 1 year – and mutton can be used for both adult sheep meat and adult goat meat. I tried both lamb and goat meat and found goat meat to be less strong, less chewy and more importantly, less smelly.  May be, lamb vs mutton vs goat meat is a matter of personal preference.

Whatever the meat, curry has the same recipe.  A super quick mutton curry for lunch yesterday.  This is similar to the Chicken Korma recipe I posted earlier.

muttoncurry

Ingredients:

  • Mutton (goat meat): 3 pounds mixed pieces*
  • 6 tbsp oil
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 6 green chillies slit
  • Few curry leaves (optional)
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup dried shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 10-15 cashews
  • 10-15 almonds
  • 2 tbsp chili powder (or more or less per your taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • Few springs of coriander leaves

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker**
  2. Add onions, green chillies, curry leaves and saute until browned
  3. Add turmeric powder, and ginger-garlic paste; fry until the raw smell of ginger-garlic paste goes away…around 30 seconds
  4. Add the mutton, salt, chili powder and coriander powder and cook on high heat for a few minutes.  Stir the meat often so it browns evenly on the outside
  5. Reduce the flame to medium-high and add yogurt.  Cook for another few minutes
  6. Grind coconut and nuts to a fine paste
  7. Add the paste to the mutton and mix well
  8. Add a cup of water and close the pressure cooker.  Cook for 2-3 whistles and turn off the heat
  9. Let the pressure cooker cool – open the cooker and check if meat is done***
  10. Adjust salt, add garam masala and coriander leaves and cook for a few more minutes without the lid
  11. Serve with rice or rotis

*Goat meat is sold either whole (entire goat), or back leg (just the leg.  Has more meat and less bones.  I usually use it for mutton fry) or mixed pieces (has more bone-in pieces)

**Pressure cooker is ideal to cook mutton since mutton takes a long time to cook.  The steam in pressure cooker cooks the mutton fast.  This can be made in a regular pot too but it takes quite a while

***When meat is cooked right the meat is tender and easily comes off the bone.  If the meat seems hard close the lid and cook for one more whistle