I can’t seem to forget those Sunday lunches prepared by mom. A steaming pile of basmati rice slathered in curry flavored with fresh ground spices & drippings of meat. Tender, boneless pieces of mutton which you pull apart with fingers & potatoes cooked to the point of crumbling but still retaining their shape till you serve them in the plate. Simple, homey & satisfying – plain soul food for us. A tradition which conjures up numerous childhood memories.
Dad was sent off to the butcher early in the morning with elaborate instructions on the cut of meat he needs to get from there.And mom occupied herself in peeling garlic pods & ginger, seeding the chillies, soaking & grinding the whole spices to prepare her magical curry concoctions.The enticing aroma of freshly ground spices coupled with the patience with which she simmered the meat on low heat were the secret behind the delicious curries she made, I think. While she cooked, we used to wait for hours for the moment when the meats have passed the tooth pick test!
It’s difficult to find goat meat or mutton as we call it in Vegas but whenever I do, I have this undying wish to recreate mom’s recipes.I found a suitable stewing variety at a nearby shop couple of weeks back and a meat & potato meal was definitely on my mind. So Sunday lunch was prepared – just like at mom’s. You can add taro root, yams, turnips or beets to this recipe with excellent results. It’s just that I end up making it with potatoes each time else P will not eat it.I recommend using as fresh ingredients for the spice paste as you can find & loads of patience while the meat cooks – it can take a couple of hours.
- 1 lb stewing mutton/lamb/beef , cubed
- 2 medium potatoes,peeled & quatered (You can use any potatoes of choice)
- 2 nos indian bay leaves (tejpatta)
- 1 ” cinnamon stick
- 2 medium red onions, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder (or cayenne, adjust to taste)
- 1/2 tsp jaggery (or brown sugar to taste)
- 1/4 cup mustard oil (substitute with canola/vegetable/sunflower/grapeseed oil )
- salt to taste
- 1.5 cups water
- Chopped cilantro for garnish
- 10-12 whole dry red chillies (I use kashmiri mirch)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1/4 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
- 2 tsp coriander seeds (dhania)
- 6 whole green cardamom pods (hari elaichi)
- 4 cloves (laung)
- 8 black peppercorns (kali mirch)
- 5 plump garlic cloves
- 2 ” fresh piece of ginger
- Water for soaking the spices (about 1/4 cup)
Soak the chillies, cumin , fennel & coriander seeds, cardamom pods, cloves & peppercorns in 1/4 cup water for about 15 minutes to soften. Drain & tip into a blender. Reserve the soaking liquid. Grind the soaked spices along with garlic & ginger to a smooth paste. Use the soaking liquid if required while grinding.
Marinate the cubed mutton in half of the spice paste for 15 minutes. While the mutton is marinating, heat up the oil in a heavy bottomed pot with lid on high heat till you see ripples on the surface. At this point reduce the heat to medium & wait for 2 minutes. Temper the oil with tejpatta & cinnamon stick. Wait for 15 seconds till you smell the aroma. Next, add the chopped onions to the pot & cook on medium heat with stirring till they turn golden brown.About 8-10 minutes.
Next, reduce the heat to low & add the chopped tomatoes along with the spice paste, red chilli powder & cook the mixture for about 8 minutes, stirring continously till you see oil separating on sides of the pot. At this point,again turn the heat to medium & add the marinated mutton & salt. Saute for 10-12 minutes till the mutton pieces are slightly browned. You will see water from mutton separating at this point but that’s okay.
Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low & let the lamb cook in its own juices till about 90% cooked. For the kind of mutton I used, it took approximately 40 minutes to reach that stage. You can use your slow cooker or pressure cooker also for cooking the mutton. I prefer to cook it lid on.
Add the potatoes & jaggery next along with 1.5 cups of water. Check the salt. Cook covered on low for another 20-25 minutes till the mutton is tender & potatoes are soft but not mushy.
Switch off the heat & let the curry sit covered for atleast 20 minutes or till ready to serve. Garnish with chopped cilantro & serve warm with salad,plain or jeera rice.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by.