Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mutton! Mut-ton! Muuuuuttttttttoooon.

When my cousins were in from India and my sister's were taking them out for a meal post some sight-seeing event .... they would inevitably ask if the restaurant served mutton.  Now, mutton is a very popular meat in India and so they were quite shocked to find out that hardly anyone serves mutton in the US.   They were also surprised that we ate so much beef.

Now, we are catholic... (well, culturally) ... and so beef isn't the same taboo it would be for someone who is Hindu. But, Indian's in general don't tend to eat a lot of beef in India.

Anyway - guess what we got in our CSA yesterday? Mutton! LOL.  Sure, when the cousin's aren't here to eat any.  However,  my mum should enjoy the curry I'm making for tomorrow.   But, as always - I did hack it up a bit.

The BF helped cook it and laughed when I said to put in a bit of peanut butter. *shrug* we didn't have any peanuts in the house and after shopping already half the day -- I just didn't want to go to another store.  :)

Here is the recipe. You are welcome to hack away at it as well. It is a lot of ingredients - sorry!  Remember, it's Indian food - you can ad-lib all you want and measurements of ingredients is very optional.

Mutton Curry

  • 2 1/2 pounds meat from shoulder or leg of mutton
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (more if you like spicy)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped/ground almonds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped/ground peanuts
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon white poppy seeds (khas khas)
  • 3 brown cardamom pods (I only had green so that was what was used)
  • 8 small green cardamom - seeds pulled out from the husk and crushed  (I only used 3, since I had done up 3 already)
  • 14-16 peppercorns
  • 8-10 cloves (whole)
  • pinch of nutmeg powder
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons coconut (desiccated - no sugar added)
  • 2 inch piece of ginger - chopped roughly
  • 12 - 13 medium garlic cloves - sliced / chopped roughly
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 2 1/4 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 1/4 cups yogurt (use a thick yogurt like Brown Cow or FAGE - whole cream)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes - liquid separated
  • 1 teaspoon garam masalla
  • fresh coriander leaves

whew. now that you have all the ingredients. you do right?

Here is what you do with all of that....

Cut the meat into 1 inch cubes and put to the side.

In a pan over moderate heat, toast the coriander powder for a few seconds.  Add almonds, peanuts (if you substitute with peanut butter, wait until later when putting everything in the blender), cumin seeds, poppy seeds, 3 whole cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorns, nutmeg, coconut --- stir until you smell the aroma of roasting spices. (about 1 1/2 min). Toss in the ginger, garlic and red chili powder and toss the whole thing (well, not the pan) into the blender.  Add some water and blend until a nice paste like consistency.  

Heat the ghee/butter in a pot (fairly large pot as you are going to be adding loads of stuff to the pot). Add onions and the crushed seeds from the cardamom to the pot. Saute until onions are browned. Add the blended spices and turmeric powder, mix and fry for 4 to 5 minutes. Add yogurt a bit at a time, allowing any liquids to cook out.  Or, if you are lazy like me - dump it all in and then stir until all the liquid is gone - but it is not quicker and might be even more work - since you can not let yogurt cook on too high of a heat as it will break up and you need keep stirring or else it will break up.

Once yogurt has dried up - add the tomatoes (no liquid) and stir up.  Cook until tomatoes have softened, it should be fairly dry still at this point. Something like a puree or thick sauce. Add meat, stir. Add tomato liquid, stir. Make sure that meat is covered by the curry - if not - add water until it is nicely covered.
Once it starts to simmer, cover and cook for 2 hrs.  Stirring occasionally. 

Sprinkle garam masala and chopped coriander leaves. Stir. Serve.

If you want you can make it more curry like by adding water 1/2 way through the cooking process.  Or more dry - by not adding water and allowing for the last 1/2 hr to cook uncovered.  Or to continue cooking until you get the liquid consistency you want.


  1. I love mutton.

    Why is ghee always used instead of butter? Better shelf life, higher cooking temp, some other reason?

  2. I think the BF is leery of it still. :)

    as for ghee:
    1) longer shelf life, since it doesn't have any milk solids left - you don't have to keep it in the fridge
    2) most Indians are somewhat lactose intolerant. Ghee doesn't have the proteins from milk (as it is all separated by the heating process) and so it is easily digestible
    3) higher heat tolerances compared to butter
    4) it has a different flavor than butter when cooking. I think it is due to the lack of milk fats but I'm not sure. I know when I cook cumin with butter it tastes very different from cumin cooked with ghee. However, we don't have ghee made at home (I'm too lazy) so butter is used even though for Indian food I like the taste of ghee better. :)

    there maybe more reasons - but these are the ones I know.

  3. Just a little burned out on lamb, is all. Won't last forever.

  4. I'm not wild about lamb, either, but I consider mutton a different thing.