Saturday, September 14, 2013

I have a convert.....

It feels good to be back after a hiatus- over a year. While I have been cooking several new things somehow just did not manage to write about it.

But today I am really excited so much so that I have decided to get back to my blog. In one of my early posts I had mentioned that while my husband was very experimentative when it came to food, had been guinea pig right from my early days of cooking when it came to mutton he only like it the traditional way. Well, now I can proudly say that I have a convert. I cooked mutton differently and he loves it. The trick I think is that new variant( sorry years of FMCG conditioning) adheres to his broad category codes- fiery red color with an oily consistency in the gravy.

I regret scoffing at meat masalas for so many years. Always regarded them as quick fixes that made you hugely compromise on flavor and taste.

I have my friend R to thank in whose house I first sampled this mutton curry. I just loved the taste and discovered two wonder ingredients that she had added to the dish- a meat masala and tomato ketchup. Had I not sampled it for myself I would have never believed her. I have since made this dish umpteen times and it is quite a never fail one. But do make sure you make it in large quantities( I have had about six men polish off two and half kilos of the curry in one meal). Now that I have your attention and interest read on.

Mutton Curry


Mutton- 1 kilo (If making for a family of four I would strongly recommend you make at least a kilo and half . Mutton tastes way better the next day and you will definitely have the family go " anything leftover from yesterday's mutton curry")
Onions: 4/5 medium sized onions finely sliced ( adds to the thickness and texture of the gravy, never mind if the onion prices are soaring, this is one indulgence you must)
Curd: 1/2 a cup
Ginger garlic paste- 2/3 tbsps.
Chilli powder- 1 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Sugar: 1/2 tsp
Salt- 2/3 tsps.( or to taste)
Garam Masala- 1 tsp( Freshly pound the green cardamom and cinnamon, bazaar bought garam masalas just doesn't have the flavor. If feeling too lazy to pound use whole cardamom- 2/3 and cinnamon- 1 inch stick)
Tomato ketchup- 1 tbsp. This dish made me realize how undervalued tomato ketchup is- used primarily as a snack accompaniment. Gives the dish its rich red color which can otherwise be achieved with Kashmiri lal mirch
Shaan Meat Masala- 2/3 tbsps. This is the deal clincher and I am glad it is now available quite easily in most supermarkets. So sis doesn't need to carry them all the way from the US of A)
Mustard Oil - 4/5 tbsps.( You could use a sunflower oil if you are repulsed by the smell of mustard oil but the dish gets its characteristic flavors from the mustard oil, I am afraid). I am generous with my oil only when it comes to cooking mutton.
Bay leaf- 1/2
Potatoes- 4 potatoes halved( one per person )


Some very easy steps and dollops of patience. And no that is not a contradiction. It always amazes me that one extra ingredient or a tweak to a step produces something so different.

1. Prepare a marinade of the ginger garlic paste, curd, chilli powder, turmeric powder,
1/4 tsp sugar, garam masala, tomato ketchup and salt. Whisk well together. Add the meat pieces to the marinade and turn them over a couple of times so that the masala coats the pieces evenly. Cover with a cling film(The TV shows have made me believe that this helps retain the moisture and flavor better than a lid. I overlook the part that the cling film maker is one of the chief sponsors of the show). Leave it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight.
2. Remove the mutton from the refrigerator about half an hour before you start cooking so that it is at room temperature.
3. Heat the kadai/wok. Add the mustard oil to it and let it smoke. Add the remaining 1/4 tsp of sugar.
4. Once the sugar starts to caramelize and turns a brown colour add the sliced onions and stir them around on high flame for a couple of minutes.
5. Next add the mutton, sauté for a few minutes. Add the shaan meat masala, bay leaves and sauté till the oil separates( would take you a good 45 minutes to an hour). Add the potatoes and toss them around with the mutton.
6. Tranfer to a pressure cooker, add water( I always add hot water- cooks faster and I am told helps retain the flavor in some way. When it comes to cooking I just trust my instincts). Cover with the lid and cook for close to 20 minutes( on high till you get the whistle and then on medium heat for the next 15 minutes or so).
7. Allow the cooker to cool down on its own.
8. Serve hot with rice and a salad. That is how my family typically likes it though I feel it goes equally well with chappatis and a raita.

Bon Apetit! And Happy eating!