curry · mutton · slow cooked

Slow-Cooked Mutton Curry

There are some dishes, techniques and tastes that have stood the test of time and have been an integral  part of our culinary journey. Their tastes have lingered and we are ever so thankful to the chefs, who were the first ever to cook them and diligently passed it down to the generations for us to recreate the magic all over again. I do not know who invented slow cooked mutton curry, my guess from the Persia or Central Asia and then handed down to the Mughals, finally becoming an integral part of the Indian ( North and East Indian Diet) Diet. Who so ever did come up with this beauty, must have been some sort of a genius. A few ingredients, some good meat and a slow fire, bang you have one of the tastiest dishes.

The curry has real depth which stems from the aromatic spices used in the recipe. It  is rich and because the  meat  is slow cooked, it’s very succulent and so tender it falls apart with the touch of a fork.

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As a child, I remember, the anticipation and wait, when Ma would cook this curry, usually on a Sunday, for lunch. I would ensure that I had been a good girl, room cleaned, bathed and clean, homework done and then I would pace up and down  and around the dining table, asking Ma every 5 minutes or so ( believe me those 5 mins seemed like an hour) ebar ki hoyeche, ami ki ebar khete pari or subtly hint, ma, khabar ta deri kora uchit na, theek time e khawa hoye gele bhalo. [ is it done yet , can I eat now or we should not delay our lunch, it is good to eat on time] Ma’s reply would be, magsho ranna kora ki tap er jol, ghoralei tori hoye jabe, arektu wait koro { cooking meat curry is not tap water, that you turn the tap on and curry is ready; hence hang on for some more time}. This story is not limited to my childhood, my ma-in-law had a similar story for my husband and most  Bengali ‘ mothers would probably relate to this.

I don’t know whether it is Deja Vu or magical or just a golden rule, I could see my childhood, that eagerness, the anticipation in the Husband and one thing, I have learned over the years is patience and mutton curry for those who a re waiting to pounce on it like a hungry lion, just do not go hand in hand. In a  different time and space, but the familiar combination of flavours of Mutton curry never fails to  invokes the same kind emotion.

The Secret of this dish is the way, it is prepared, marinated over night, and then slow cooked over medium to low flame for a long time.

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Ingredients:

  • Mutton on the bones- 2lb (900gms)

For the Marinade

  • Ginger paste-1 Tbs
  • Garlic Paste-1 Tbs
  • Youurt- 250 gms (strained)
  • Mustard oil 3tbs
  • Salt for taste
  • Red Chilly powder 1.5 teaspoon

For the curry

  • Cinamon stick- 1 inch
  • Cloves- 3-4
  • Pepper Corn 7-8 pounded
  • Black Cardamon-1
  • Star aniseed -1 (optional) I like the flavour
  • Coriander Powder-1 tbs
  • Cumin Powder- 1tbs
  • haldi-1/2 teaspoon.
  • Mustard oil- 6 table spoons ( be generous)
  • Onion- chopped finely 3/4th cup

How:

Marinade the meat overnight with all the ingredients listed under Marinade.  Heat oil is a heavy bottom pan preferably one that has a lid. Once the oil is hot, add the whole spices and temper, till it releases the aroma, next add the onion and saute till it turns translucent r light golden. Next add the marinated meat and cook it on medium to high flame for about 20-25 min, this is called Kosha or Bhunao where you continuously cook the meat by stirring it as the flavours lock themselves into the meat and fuse with the curry. By now most of the marinade would have dried, heavily coating the meat and you would get the first glimpse of the separated oil in the bottom of the pan. At this point add about an cup and a half pf warm water, salt and cover the pan, set the heat to  low medium and let it cook on the stove top, I set my timer to an hour and a half. Do not open the pan,  no matter how tempted you are. I usually take my bath, play antakshari with the husband, sing a random song, count 100-1  over and over again, basically anything to get my mind of the meat.  Finally, after all the song and dance and a wait of a hour and a half,  mutton should be ready, with the masalas settling at the base of the pan, the oil floating above and the meat, almost falling off the bone, your mutton curry is ready, serve it with rice, or rotis. or just dunk a piece of bread into the curry and you know you have attained food nirvana…

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Notes:

  • just before finishing off you could add a tablespoon of ghee, I am not much or a ghee eater, so I added a tablespoon of white butter, but the choice is yours
  • You could garnish with coriander leaves as well.
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