The cool morning breeze touched the warmth of my cheeks and I faintly opened my eyes. With a frowned face, I turned my head and realized that Dad was in my room. The window curtain was partially open and fluttering allowing the sunlight to beam through. That was his standard approach to wake us up. I looked at the wall clock, yawned and snoozed myself back to sleep. Just for a little while. It’s Sunday after all!
With a lot of effort, I finally settled myself in the couch, still sleepy and feeling so sluggish. There was Bengali music playing in my Dad’s old trusty tape recorder. Mom was humming along and in between, she would ask me to freshen up soon. She was in the kitchen making breakfast. It was either an Indo-Chinese egg noodle or luchi – allu torkari (deep fried Indian flatbread with potato and onion curry). That was our Sunday breakfast ritual. Dad had just returned from the butcher with fresh meat and was busy cleaning it. After that, he would sprinkle a little salt and turmeric on it, mix it nicely with hand and allow it to rest for a while. It was his day to put on the chef cap and mutton curry was on the menu. And that was our Sunday lunch ritual.
Fast forward several years and our Sunday ritual didn’t change much. Sunday without mutton or chicken curry still feels incomplete.
While there are numerous ways to prepare mutton curry, on most Sundays, we take the easy route – one pot mutton curry. And if you have a pressure cooker, it would take even lesser time and lunch will be ready in no time. I never liked using pressure cooker. I have always preferred the slow cooking process, allowing the meat to simmer gently and blend with all the spices. It not only makes the dish super flavorful but also gradually fills the entire house with its warmth.
However, these days, I reach out to pressure-cooking meat curries; especially when I know time is not something I have in abundance. Either ways, this simple mutton curry is forgiving. It always comes out delicious. Just make sure you have good quality meat.
- ½ kg mutton
- 2 medium size onions, thinly sliced
- 2 medium size potatoes, peeled and cut in quarter size
- 2 medium size tomatoes, very finely chopped
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
- 2 green chilies, finely chopped
- 1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 to 3 green cardamoms, crushed.
- 1- teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2- teaspoons cumin powder
- 2- teaspoons coriander powder
- 1- teaspoon chili powder
- 1- teaspoon garam masala powder
- Fresh cilantro, finely chopped for garnish
- Salt to taste
- Oil, mustard oil is typically used to prepare the mutton curry but vegetable oil will work just fine
- Marinate the mutton cubes with salt and turmeric. Allow it to rest for at least a couple of hours. You could always leave it to marinate overnight.
- In a deep pan or pressure cooker, heat about 2 tablespoons of oil. Drop the cinnamon stick and crushed cardamom pods. Let it sizzle and then add grated garlic, ginger and green chilies. Allow it to cook for a while. Once done, add sliced onion, season with salt and allow it to soften. Next, add potatoes, turmeric and give it a stir. It will take few minutes for the potatoes to get slightly golden in color. Once done, add tomatoes along with the spices - cumin powder, coriander powder, chili powder and little bit turmeric powder. Stir and allow it to cook for few minutes.
- Finally add the marinated mutton cubes, give it a stir and cook for a few more minutes. Now, add enough water to drown the mutton pieces.
- At this stage, if you are slow cooking, cover the pan/pot, and let it simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally in between. If you are using pressure cooker, like I did, cover the pressure cooker, lower the heat to medium and allow it to whistle at least 6 to 7 times.
- Once the steam has completely released from the pressure cooker, open it very carefully. Add garam masala powder, stir and cook for a couple more minutes. Check for salt and add any, if required. You could either reduce the gravy to a much thicker consistency or leave it runny, like I did as I paired the curry with rice.
- Just before serving, squeeze in some lime juice and sprinkle handful of freshly chopped cilantro leaves.
The cooking time will differ depending on whether you used the slow cooking or pressure cooking method.