I am not that much of a mutton fan. The closest I've come to liking it is in a biryani, that too if its got loads of masala and such. In my initial cooking days (like about 4 years back), the only thing I could cook with was chicken breasts. I detested the whole idea of cleaning a chicken and couldn't handle the blood and gore that came with it. Boneless breasts were comparatively easy to dissect and that was thrown into every curry possible. Now the story is different. I actually cant stand chicken breasts which I think are so tasteless and prefers the thigh fillets any day. But the cleaning bit puts me off even now, although it has tremendously improved :)
So anyway, coming back to mutton. I soon got bored with chicken and beef and so one day I picked up some lamb steaks to experiment with. Used a hard core Indian marinade, grilled it and it was horrible. I mean the smell was really bad and somehow it never clicked for either of us. We both avoided eating lamb altogether...
...until a year back when Ro suddenly realised he didn't mind the lamb you get here. So Ro has been happily eating lamb in restaurants and such, whereas I cringe at the very idea. That also probably explains why this is my first ever mutton recipe on the blog. I still don't know the difference between lamb, goat, mutton and baby lamb. I was under the impression that goat was the closest to mutton we get back in India, but boy was I wrong. Ro convinced me to pick up some 'curry goat' as its called from a butcher and I did thinking it would not be bad. Sadly, it had that same weird smell and such and came loaded with fat, that Ro spent a good half hour removing it off the pieces. So till I figure out a good cut/type of goat meat, this is going to be the only recipe around.
That said, the mutton curry was good, or so Ro said. I refused to touch it, except for the gravy which tasted brilliant (honest opinion). So if the mutton is right, then the curry would be perfect is what I think. I am thinking it would be great with beef as well. Next time I suppose. The recipe has been adapted from the book Flavours of the Spice Coast by Mrs. K M Mathew, the book I picked up from Kottayam, much to Ro's and my mother-in-laws despair (saying it had basic recipes and why spend Rs. 600). I on the other hand love the book. Its got pictures (very imp.) and all the mallu things I don't know to make. I hope I try at least a handful of stuff out of the book to compensate for the money I spent on it :)
Mutton- 1/2 kg, with boneOnion- 1 cup, finely chopped + enough to garnish
Tomatoes- 3, chopped
Water- 1 cup
Oil- 1 tbsp
Salt- to taste
Kashmiri chilli powder- 2 1 /2 tsp
Coriander powder- 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds- a little less than 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1/4 tsp
Ginger- 1 tsp, grated and sliced
Garlic- 5 cloves, peeled
Grind together all the ingredients under the 'to grind' section and then add the vinegar to make a paste.
Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add the chopped onions. Sauté for a couple of minutes.
Throw in the tomatoes and cook till they become mushy.
Add the ground paste and on low heat cook till the oil starts resurfacing.
At this point add the meat and salt and stir well, making sure the masala coats the mutton well enough.
Pour in the water, bring to a boil and close the lid.
Once you see the steam coming, put the weight on and cook for about 4 whistles or till the meat is cooked well. I guess this depends on the type of meat used.
Open the lid once all the pressure is released and if there is lots of water remaining, bring to a simmer and cook till the gravy thickens.
Notes: I used the pressure cooker because that was just easier. If you dont have one, then cover the vessel and cook till the meat is completely done (checking regularly and adding water if required) and then open the lid and simmer till the gravy thickens.
Replace Kashmiri chilli with the spicy one if you prefer it hot. This is a pretty mild curry otherwise.