I feel unusually excited about curries at this time of the year. Generously spiced, red hued, boldly flavored curries are a different beast during winters, just waiting for rotis to be dunked in or rice to be mixed.These are the months that I reserve for time-consuming meat stews and long cooking processes. There is comfort in standing beside the stove preparing meals which warm up the heart and soul.
Couple of years back, I saw a chef talk about and prepare this fiery curry on a food show. All I remember is that he used simple day-to-day spices,grated in lots of garlic & doused the masala in yogurt to tame down the heat from all those dry chilies. Only after making it, did I realize what he meant when he said this curry is not for the faint hearted.
I did not grow up eating it, so I came up with from what I remembered & what suits our tastebuds.The sauce is fiery, though beautifully hued and the dash of ghee towards the end is what does it for me.You really need mellow side dishes with this meal – plain dal tadka and lot of kachumber (sans the green chili) to wash it down. Once you sit down to eat, you would want to eat more and more coz the intense flavors open up your appetite but you won’t be able to.
The dish can be made a hot as or not as you want. I use a mixture of kashmiri chili powder for less heat but the intense color. You could go ahead and use red chilli powder if you want it fiery!.Now, it is something which I would not make every now & then.Maybe once or twice a year – the flavors are excellent but hot! We drank so much water during dinner time but oh what a satisfying taste!
Ingredients – Serves 2-3
- 3 tbsp mustard oil
- 4 cloves
- 1 black cardamom (buy online here)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup sliced onion
- 1.5 lb mutton (cut into 1″ pieces)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1″ ginger shoot, minced
- 10-12 whole dry kashmiri chillies (see notes)
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder (or cayenne)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 cup thick curd/plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup water
- salt to taste
- 1.5 tbsp ghee
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- cilantro to garnish
- The dish can be made a hot as or not as you want. If you use store bought kash miri chill powder, the taste is mild but its lends a beautiful color.So the dish will come out less hot.
- If you powder whole dried kashmiri chillies like I do, the fresh ground chilies are hot and bring in the beautiful red color too!
In a heavy bottomed pot with lid, heat mustard oil till it smokes and immediately turn off the heat. Wait for about a minute or so to let it cool to medium hot. Return to the stove and add the cloves, black cardamom and bay leaf. Wait for them to crackle.
Add the sliced onion to the pot and cook on medium till they turn brown. Once the onions have browned, add the mutton pieces,kashmiri chili,red chili & turmeric powder to the pot and sauté uncovered for about 20 minutes till you see the sides of mutton getting brown.
Add the minced ginger and garlic to the pot next and sauté for another 5-8 minutes. Next, reduce the heat to low, wait for 2 mins and add the yogurt to the pot. Also add the salt and slowly stir around so that the yogurt combines with spices and coats the mutton pieces. Saute uncovered for another 2 mins.
Add the water, ghee and grated garlic to the pot next and increase the flame to medium, cover the pot and cook till the mutton is done. It took me about 40 minutes for the meat to be thoroughly cooked.If you intend to use a slow cooker, adjust the cooking time, for pressure cooker, it might take 3-4 whistles for cooking through.
Let the curry rest for about 3-4 hours before serving.
Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot with flatbreads or steamed rice.
Happy Holidays everyone.