I have never cooked mutton in my kitchen before n’ in all honesty can’t even say I have eaten mutton. RJ eats it, but very rarely. We had been to a barbecue last weekend, our first time by the beach n’ RJ n’ Jeff did some novice fishing too, RJ caught his first fish (one of the smallest I have seen getting caught fishing) but we thoroughly enjoyed the night. In retrospect I’m thinking I should’ve taken more snaps of the food served that day, but I haven’t taken many snaps. We barbecued prawns, tofu (for me, didn’t get paneer), mutton n’ chicken n’ for the sides had a sour cream potato salad, couscous salad and some bread. It was a feast considering we were by the beach. Thankfully it was not windy or hot, the temperature was just right.
As usual I’m digressing, what I wanted to say was RJ just loved the mutton chops that were barbecued that night n’ this weekend when we were doing our shopping, I told him maybe one of these days I should try making something with mutton too. He enthusiastically told me to buy some mutton n’ try something the same day, I was thrilled to the say the least. So I got a packet (this was the least complicated I thought, as I know next to nothing about how to buy mutton) of fresh Pakistani Mutton Chops (I had to remove the fat before cooking).
You know what I found most surprising when I was cooking the meat? The distinct aroma, for some reason I have always associated a raw n’ strong smell to mutton, but that wasn’t the case at all, I actually enjoyed the smell n’ RJ finishing off four pieces in one go....that made me feel great. :) That is also one reason why the snap looks the way it does, I forgot to take snaps once I finished cooking, it was already so late. :( I literally had to make RJ wait before his second helping to get this shot. Another recipe I followed from Nita Mehta’s book…so here you go…
1. Mutton: 500 gms (you needn’t use chops)
2. Ghee/ Oil: 7 tbsp (this is what the recipe calls for but I used only half of this)
3. Cloves: 3nos
4. Cinnamon Stick: 1 inch piece
5. Black Cardamom: 2nos
6. Bay Leaf: 2nos
7. Asafoetida (hing): ½ tsp (dissolved in 1tsp water)
8. Fennel Seeds: 1 ½ tsp (powdered)
9. Dry ginger powder: ½ tsp (I didn’t have any so didn’t use this)
10. Ginger Paste: 1tsp
11. Onions: 4nos (ground to paste)- I never grind onion in a mixer, I never like the taste when I do this. So instead I finely chop the onions and fry them well.
12. Red Chili Powder: 1 ¾ tsp ( I used Kashmiri Chili powder considering the dish is a Kashmiri specialty)
13. Salt: as per taste or 1 ½ tsp
14. Black Pepper Powder: ½ tsp
15. Green Cardamom: 7nos (powdered)
16. Yogurt: ¾ cup (the recipe says ‘optional’, but I did use it) beat well till smooth.
17. Water: as required
18. Saffron: dissolved in water (I didn’t use this)
Step 1: Heat ghee/oil in a cooker. Add cloves, cinnamon, black cardamom and bay leaf. Fry for 1-2 minutes.
Step 2: Add the mutton pieces and hing water. Fry for 15-20mins till well fried. The mutton should become brownish in colour.
Step 3: Heat a little oil in another kadai and add the chopped onions and fry till lightly brown and add fennel powder, dry ginger powder, ginger paste, red chili powder, salt and pepper and sauté for a minute more. Allow the masala to cook.
Step 4: Add the above to the mutton in the cooker. Stir for a minute or 2 and reduce heat and add powdered cardamom and curd. Keep stirring till it boils.
Step 5: Add ½ cup water. (the book calls for only half a cup of water but if you want the dish to have more gravy, I think you should add at least 1cup) Close the cooker and allow it to give 2 whistles. By now the mutton should have become tender.
Step 6: Open the cooker once the pressure drops. Keep on low heat for another 10minutes (especially if you think there is more gravy than you need). Add saffron and simmer for another 2-3minutes and serve hot.