Showing posts with label goat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label goat. Show all posts

Oct 8, 2018

Tariwala Mutton Curry

curry, easy, goat, gravy, Indian, lamb, Mutton, pushpesh pant, Recipe, simple, stew, tari, tariwala, tariwala mutton, venison,

"Tari" means sauce or gravy and it is traditionally quite thin in this classic Punjabi dish. Mutton or lamb is braised until tender with richly caramelized onions and aromatic spices in this simple home-style recipe.

This recipe is adapted from Pushpesh Pant's weekly column "Food Talk" in the Punjab-based newspaper The Tribune. Dr. Pant is a famed food historian, critic, and travel writer as well as a noted academic. He retired as a Professor of International relations from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi in 2011. He is one of India's leading experts on international relations as well as Indian cuisine. He is the author of several books and has written articles for publications such as Forbes, Times of India, Outlook, and Open. Personally, I think he started India's modern 'foodie' movement!

curry, easy, goat, gravy, Indian, lamb, Mutton, pushpesh pant, Recipe, simple, stew, tari, tariwala, tariwala mutton, venison,

As Dr. Pant wrote in his newspaper column back in 2006 this is sort of the "Plain Jane" of mutton curries in northern India. Once standard dhaba and "no frills" diner fare Tariwala Mutton now seems too homely for restaurant menus and has been replaced by fancier dishes. But this is the style of mutton dish I've been served most when visiting Punjabis at home and it is one of my favorites! With the mild spices and thin, almost broth-like gravy you'll find this recipe to be a bit more like what we Westerners call a stew than what we think of as a curry. Caramelized onions are the flavor base of the  "tari" or thin gravy so be sure to allow plenty of time to get them to that deep golden stage. I normally make this dish with goat so I use a pressure cooker. If you are cooking tender lamb a deep skillet or Dutch oven atop the hob would be a better choice for simmering. Despite the humble ingredients, I'm sure you'll be amazed at the richness of flavor in this "Plain Jane" dish. Enjoy!

1 kg/2lbs mutton or lamb, cut into 2-inch pieces, bone in preferred
1/4 C cooking oil or ghee
4 onions, diced finely
4 black cardamoms/kali elaichi, bruised in mortar and pestle
4 cloves/laung
1 cassia leaf/tej patta
2-inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini or cinnamon quill
1 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
12 black peppercorns/kali mirch, coarsely ground
2 tomatoes, diced finely or pureed
1 tsp garlic/lahsun paste
2 tsp ginger/adrakh paste
2 tsp ground coriander/dhania
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp paprika plus 1/2 tsp cayenne powder)
1 tsp turmeric/haldi
salt to taste

Here's what to do:
1)  Heat the oil for 5 minutes in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan or 5-liter pressure cooker with 2 teaspoonfuls salt. Add onions to hot oil. Fry on high heat stirring constantly for about 10 minutes and then reduce heat. Continue until the onions turn golden. Don’t rush this as the color of the onions adds more flavor and color to the gravy. Err on the side of slightly under caramelized, if you burn the onions they'll be bitter and you'll have to throw them out and start over.

2) Add the cumin seeds, black peppercorns, black cardamoms, cloves, and cassia leaf and fry for about two minutes. Add tomatoes and fry for about 5 minutes or until oil separates. Now add the coriander, turmeric, red chili powder, ginger paste, garlic paste, and a  tablespoonful of water. Continue to stir-fry for about five minutes or until mixture becomes shiny.

3) Add the mutton pieces and cook on high heat for about 15 minutes. The liquid that comes out of the meat should evaporate and the mutton will become slightly brown.

4) If using pan: add 5 cups of water to the mixture and simmer over medium heat till it becomes tender. If using a pressure cooker: add 4 cups water, seal pressure cooker, and allow to steam for 2 whistles or until mutton is tender.

5) Once the mutton is cooked to desired tenderness there should be about two to three cups of gravy left, otherwise, add some hot water and bring it to simmer. Salt to taste and serve hot with rice, naan, or rotis.

Helpful hints:
If you find your onions are not quite as caramelized as they should be or the "tari" or sauce is not as deeply colored as you'd like- a good cheat is to add one tablespoonful of tinned tomato paste with the tomatoes at step 2. 

Sep 19, 2016

Ingredient of the Week- The Mysteries of Mutton

Ingredient of the Week The Mysteries of Mutton life, love, nepal, mutton. lamb, sheep, goat, chyangra, shangri-la, Dashain,
Mutton? Naaaaah!

Mutton specifically means the meat of an adult sheep in Western countries. However, in South Asia mutton refers to meat from a goat or sheep of any age. Although sheep and goat meat are similar in taste they can vastly differ in texture, fat content, and intensity of flavor. The breed, the age, and the way the animal was raised can result in variances of flavor and texture also.

What's the difference between sheep and goats? 
While both hail from the subfamily Caprinae each is a distinct genus and species. Sheep (Ovis aries) have 54 chromosomes, while goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) have 60. The easiest way to tell the difference between a sheep and goat is to look at their tails. Goat's tails are usually up unless sick or distressed. Sheep tails hang down whether docked (shortened) or not. Sheep have a split upper lip, goats do not. Goats have beards, sheep do not. Sheep are grazers preferring short, tender grasses and clovers. Goat are foragers and will eat darned near anything high or low. Most often sheep have wool, whereas goats have hair. However, there are "hair sheep" without wool and goats with long hair that looks like wool. Goats are far more common than sheep in South Asia and are the preferred red meat here in Nepal. There are many different types of goats and sheep across South Asia depending upon elevation and climate. 

A bakra strolling down Bibi's driveway and soon to be our guest of honor for Eid.
The photo you see above is a typical young Nepali goat weighing about 18kgs/40lbs. This type of male goat is called a bakra in Hindi and a bokaa in Nepali. In general bakra meat is the toughest in texture and the most gamey or goaty in flavor of all the meats called mutton in South Asia. The flavor and texture of the meat from this type of goat can vary a bit by season. In the warmer months the local goats are slaughtered and the meat can be rather fatty, rubbery, and gelatinous. In the cooler months goats are brought down from higher elevations, their flesh tends to be leaner, tougher, and quite fibrous. (You definitely need a pressure cooker or 3-4 hours to cook this type of mutton to a tender state.) Most Nepalis will tell you black or brown colored goats are considered to be the tastiest.

Khasi = castrated goat
The first time I saw this at a Nepali wedding I was a bit confused. Khasi is pronounced "khah- she." Khasi is the name of an ethnic group in the eastern Himalayas. Khashi also means pious or devoted in Arabic and Urdu. What khasi or khashi meant in this context is a castrated male goat. The meat from castrated goats is considered a delicacy and purported to be milder in flavor as well as richer in fat content. If you see a goat on a spit like this you know there's a grand event taking place, this is like the Nepali equivalent of a wedding cake. If you look closely you can see the skin of the goat is still intact except for a few knife punctures. Some Nepalis like to eat the crispy skin of the goat with the fatty layer attached. After the goat has been slaughtered Nepalis will pour boiling water on it or use a propane blowtorch to remove the hair from the skin. I'm not certain if other South Asian peoples eat the skin like this. I did not partake of the khasi ko masu as it was not halal so I can't comment on it's flavor. Kashmiris do not eat the skin of a goat or sheep, the pelt is saved intact for use in making leather or fur items.

Chyangra is domesticated mountain goat in Nepal.
This domesticated mountain goat is called a chyangra which is pronounced "tsang-rah." These long haired goats live in the higher elevations of the Himalayas and are raised for fiber as well as meat. If you buy a pashmina from Nepal most likely the fiber was plucked from the underside of a chyangra. Chyangras are only brought down from the mountains in the Fall around the time of festival of Dashain for sacrifice. They are quite delicious! Their meat is dark, lean, rich, and surprisingly tender with a flavor much like good quality venison. I have a theory about the name of the fictional utopia called Shangri-La in James Hilton's famed book Lost Horizon. Others have guessed Shangri-La was a corruption of Shambhala, the name of the mythical Buddhist kingdom mentioned in Kalachakra teachings. Some have linked it to a region in Tibet called Tsang. I think Mr Hilton derived the name from "chyangra-la" which roughly translates to "mountain goat pass." 

Another guest of honor for Eid. Sheep always look so depressed. 
Sheep are called bheda in Nepali and khhut in Kashmiri. Their meat is also called mutton in South Asia or bheda ko masu in Nepal. No matter what their age or size sheep meat is definitely less gamey in flavor and far more tender than goats. This little guy would qualify as lamb in western terms as he's only a year old. I'd never seen sheep at the market before here in Nepal. Kashmiris prefer sheep and think goat's too strong in flavor and a bit second rate. We usually buy a couple of chyangras but they didn't have any at the market yet so we bought this bheda. I think it's due to lack of grazing pasture that the sheep are so small in Nepal.

Kaju sheep being sold for Eid in Kashmir.
These festively decorated rams are called cashew sheep or kaju khhut in Kashmir. In addition to grazing in the lush alpine valleys of Kashmir they have been feasting upon cashews and all sorts of goodies to fatten them up. This is what we usually have for Eid in Kashmir. They are huge (like up to 150kg/330lbs) and quite yummy! Kaju sheep are the most tender, succulent, rich, delicately flavored lamb you've ever eaten. No pressure cooker required for these beauties!

And then comes the messy part. After the animal has been slaughtered or sacrificed the mutton is usually chopped into whatever sized bits you wish with a cleaver on a wooden block. All of the animal is used. Every mutton eating culture in South Asia usually has specific recipes for nearly every part of the sheep or goat. In Nepal even the fried solidified blood is made into a special dish served during the festival of Dashain called rakahti.

Goin' to a party?

On October 8th of this year the Hindu festival of Dashain will start in Nepal. It is the longest, most popular, and most auspicious holiday on the Nepalese calendar. It is called Dussehra in India. Animal sacrifices are required during Dashain as the festival commemorates the bloody battles between divine and demonic powers. Goats are the most common animal chosen for the sacrifice in Nepal. The Nepalese government estimates the Kathmandu valley alone will demand around 60,000 goats during this celebration. Goat farmers in Nepal will only be able to supply about 20,000 goats so the remaining 40,000 goats will be have to be imported from India.

They're doing WHAT in Kathmandu?

That concludes today's discussion of mutton. Our internet provider has informed us that they will be upgrading their system for the next three weeks. This will cause internet service to be intermittently slow or nonexistent during this time. (Personally, I think they're just going on holiday for Dashain.) So, I'll be trying to post at least once or twice a week if possible. Bear with me!

Calmly currying on,

Sep 9, 2016

Baed Eid

Next week starts the most holy celebration of the Islamic year called Eid ul-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) in Arabic or Baed Eid (Big Eid) in Kashmiri. The festival begins at the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca called the Hajj.  During the Hajj, Muslims remember and honor the trials and triumphs of great patriarch and Prophet Abraham. This holiday honors the willingness of the Prophet Abraham to follow Allah's (God's) command to sacrifice his son. Just when the Prophet Abraham was prepared to perform the sacrifice, the angel Jibra'il (Gabriel) intervened telling him that his sacrifice had already been fulfilled.

The Sacrifice of Isaac  by Caravaggio 
With this act of obedience the Prophet Abraham had shown that his love for Allah was above all others, and that he would willingly lay down the lives of those dearest to him in submission to Allah. Muslims commemorate this trial of the Prophet Abraham by the halal slaughtering of an animal such as a sheep, camel, cow, or goat. Allah has given us dominance over animals and allowed us to eat meat, but only if we pronounce His name at the solemn act of taking life. 

Kashmiri women at Eid prayers
On the first morning of Eid ul-Adha, Muslims worldwide attend morning prayers. Men, women, and children are expected to dress in their finest clothing to perform Eid prayers. Prayers are followed by visits with family and friends, the exchange of greetings (Eid Mubarak), and give gifts called Eidi.

Kashmiri men at Eid prayers
At some point during the festival Muslims who can afford it sacrifice a halal domestic animal such as a goat, sheep, camel, yak, or cow in commemoration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. The sacrificed animals are called qurbani and must be of a certain age and standards of perfection or the animal is considered unacceptable. (In Kashmir a sheep fattened up on cashews and other goodies is preferred. Every once in a while some affluent Kashmiri buys a camel or yak to show off I suppose. Camel and yak really don't taste that great.)

Sheep being sold for Baed Eid in Kashmir
The animal (qurbani) is slaughtered in the halal manner and the meat is traditionally divided into three portions. One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends and neighbors, and one-third is donated to the poor. This act symbolizes our willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us in order to follow Allah's commands, to strengthen ties within the community, and to help those who are in need. 

Traditional Kashmiri mutton-a-palooza!
(Every part of the sheep is used in a specific dish)
In addition to distributing qurbani to the poor the meat is prepared and often served at mosques so that those less fortunate do not miss this sacrificial meal. Many Muslims also take this opportunity to invite their non-Muslim friends, neighbors, co-workers, and classmates to their Eid festivities to better acquaint them with Islam and Muslim culture. (This means Bibi's going to be cooking a lot- not just meat but treats too!)

Eidi or the gifts given over Eid traditionally take the form of money, presents such as smartphones and perfume, or even flowers. Usually it is children who receive eidi from uncles and their parents.

From our family to yours:
May the blessings of Allah bring you hope, faith, and joy!  Happy Eid ul-Adha 2016!

Aug 31, 2016

Mutton Do Pyaaza

 Mutton Do Pyaaza, beef, mutton, goat, lamb, buffalo, non veg, meat, indian, onions, recipe, easy, mughal, punjabi,

"Do" means two or twice and "pyaaza" means onions. As the name implies this classic North Indian dish features a lavish amount of onions. Onions are added in two stages, first slowly caramelized then ground with traditional spices to make a rich brown gravy. The mutton is then braised until tender in this bold mix of rustic flavors. This recipe also works well with lamb, beef, or water buffalo stew meat. Pair with with rotis, parathas, or chapattis for a hearty meal.

Mutton Do Pyaaza beef, mutton, goat, lamb, buffalo, non veg, meat, indian, onions, recipe, easy, mughal, punjabi,

1kg/2lbs mutton/goat or lamb, cut into 3 inch pieces, bone in and lean preferred
1/4 C cooking oil
2 C onions, sliced thinly into half moons
1 tsp salt
2 C water or stock
Grind to paste for masala:
2 C onions, roughly chopped
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
1 TBS coriander/dhania seeds
1 TBS cumin/jeera seeds
1 TBS garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
10 black peppercorns/kali mirch
3 black cardamoms/kali elaichi
3-4 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped roughly
1 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Grind ingredients listed under masala to smooth paste, set aside.

2) Heat oil in pressure cooker, deep heavy bottomed skillet, or kadhai. Fry thinly sliced onions with 1 teaspoon salt until golden brown, this should take about 10 minutes.

3) Add mutton pieces to fried onions in pan. Stir well and cook until meat is slightly browned.

4) Add ground masala paste to mutton and fried onions. Stir well and allow to fry for 5 minutes.

5) Add 2 C water or stock to the mixture in pan or enough liquid so meat is covered by at least a half an inch.  If using pressure cooker allow to steam for 5-6 whistles or until meat is to desired tenderness. If using skillet or kadhai simmer covered over medium heat until meat is to desired tenderness, adding a half cup more water at a time if necessary (usually this takes at least two to three hours with goat.)

6) The dish should have a thick gravy when finished. If gravy is thin allow to simmer with lid off for a few minutes. Salt to taste and serve.

Helpful Hints:
I'm cooking a Nepali goat in these photos so I'm using a pressure cooker. If you're cooking this recipe with meat that is not as tough such as Kashmiri lamb or American beef you'd probably want to use a Dutch oven or deep skillet and reduce cooking times accordingly.

If you live somewhere that you can't get the pink Desi onions pictured, the yellow onions found in most western markets are the best substitute. Despite the different color they tend to have similar flavor profile & level of  sweetness.  Do not use red onions, 'sweet' onions, Walla Walla onions, or Vidalia onions in place of pyaaz. They tend to be too sugary, scorching easily & often resulting in a burnt taste.

After chopping and grinding all the onions required for this recipe you may find your hands reek of onions. Rubbing a slice of raw tomato on your hands will remove the onion smell immediately.

Jun 29, 2016

Vikas Khanna's Classic Lamb Curry

Vikas Khanna classic lamb curry recipe beef goat indian punjabi mutton easy simple authentic

From the award winning Michelin starred Indian chef, restaurateur, and cookbook writer Vikas Khanna comes this recipe for an authentic North Indian style lamb curry. Lamb is simmered until tender in a rich gravy infused with traditional aromatic spices. So easy to make, everyone will think you're an award winning chef when you make this too!

Mr Khanna on one of his cookbooks looking Sexy & Alive!
I found this recipe on one of Vikas Khanna's numerous and rather derelict websites here. I'm not sure why Mr. Khanna has so many ill written and poorly maintained websites as his cookbooks are very well written and organized. Anyway, Mr. Vikas is originally from the Punjabi metropolis of Amritsar and has now been catapulted to culinary super stardom and Michelin starred fame for his amazing restaurant Junoon. He also made People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" list in 2011, has cooked for President Obama at the White House, been a guest judge on Australian Masterchef, and still does appearances frequently on talk and cooking shows.

On perusal of this recipe on Mr Khanna's website I noticed it had no garlic or ginger. I can't imagine a traditional North Indian meat curry without garlic or ginger so I added a bit. Other than that I've just rewritten the recipe in simpler form. The liberal use of spices and manner of preparation are typically Punjabi and the resulting dish is truly authentic. I usually start the marination for this dish the morning of or the day before the evening meal or dinner party I wish to serve it at. Then with less than an hour's cooking time your curry is ready to go. This super easy recipe also works well with beef, mutton/goat, venison, or water buffalo. If you are new to making curries or are an "old pro" this is a great recipe to try!

1kg/2lbs lamb or mutton, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
3 TBS cooking oil or ghee
5 green cardamoms/elaichi, bruised with mortar and pestle
3 cassia leaves/tej patta
2 inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini (or cinnamon stick)
1 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
3-4 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped finely (optional, omit for less heat)
1 large tomato/tamatar, diced finely
2 C water or stock/shorba
Grind to smooth paste for marinade:
1&1/2 C yogurt/dahi
3 onions, chopped roughly
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
1 TBS Kashmiri mirch (or 1&1/2tsp paprika plus 1&1/2tsp cayenne powder)
1 TBS coriander/dhania
1 TBS cumin/jeera
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
2 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Grind all ingredients listed under marinade to paste in mixie, food processor, or blender. Coat all meat pieces with marinade. Allow meat to marinate for 4 to 6 hours in the refrigerator sealed in an airtight container.
 2) When ready to cook  heat oil with for 5 minutes in a deep heavy bottomed skillet, stock pot, or pressure cooker. Add green cardamom/elaichi, cassia leaves/tej patta, and cassia bark/dalchini to hot oil and fry for 2 minutes.

3) Add meat and marinade to frying spices. Stir well and cook for 4 minutes. Add diced tomato and chopped green chilis/hari mirch and allow to simmer for 4 more minutes.

4) If you are cooking young Kashmiri lamb add 2 cups water or stock and allow to simmer over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes or until meat is tender.  If you are cooking a tough Nepali goat like I am you'll want to use a pressure cooker and add enough water or stock so that meat is just covered. Seal pressure cooker and allow to steam for 5 to 6 whistles or until meat is tender.
5) When meat is cooked to desired tenderness salt to taste and serve with rice, naan, or rotis.

Helpful hints:
This recipe also works well with beef, mutton/goat, venison, or water buffalo. Simply adjust cooking time accordingly to the meat used

Apr 20, 2016

Karim's Aloo Ghosht (Mughal Style Mutton with Potatoes)

Muslim mughlai goat lamb mutton Indian famous Karim restaurant

Since 1913 Karim's has been the most famous and iconic Mughal restaurant of old Delhi. "Aloo" means potato and "ghosht" is Urdu for mutton. In classic Mughal style, mutton is simmered in a rich blend of caramelized onions, warm aromatic spices, and tangy yogurt until falling off the bone tender. This creates the savory and spicy red gravy so prized by the royals of the Mughal court which perfectly pairs with the creamy and delicate potatoes.

Karim's original restaurant in Old Delhi.
When the coronation of King George V as Emperor of India was held in Delhi in 1911 the son of one of the cooks of the former royal Mughal court, Haji Karimuddin, had a brilliant idea. He opened a small restaurant called a dhaba to cater to all the people coming from all over India to attend the coronation. Haji Karimuddin opened the first Karim's in Delhi stating "I want to earn fame and money by serving the royal food to the common man." The origial Karim's near the historic Jama Masjid mosque served just three items, aloo ghosht, dal, and rumalli roti. This is legendary dish that launched Delhi's most famous culinary destination - Aloo Ghosht.

I first saw this recipe on an Indian television show a few years ago featuring Indian MasterChef winner Pankaj Bhadouria. With a bit of tinkering and some educated guesses as to what was actually implied by the rather vague recipe on her website I have to say this does indeed taste exactly like the original dish as served at Karim's. The key to this recipe is getting the caramelized onions right, brown them perfectly. Not a bit black or the onion's flavor will be bitter and burnt and ruin the entire dish. Err on the side of underdone with the onions if you must. The Mughals and Karim's would leave the cardamoms, cloves, and peppercorns whole, I have chosen to grind them with the yogurt for a boost of flavor. Whether you choose to leave the spices whole or ground this dish is a delicious incarnation of the nostalgic flavors of old Delhi's royal Mughal heritage.

1kg/2lbs mutton/goat, bone in, cut into 3 inch pieces
1 C onions, thinly sliced into half moons
1/2 C ghee
1 tsp salt
2 tsp garam masala
3 large potatoes, boiled until tender, peeled & cut into 2 inch pieces
Grind until smooth for masala:
1 C full fat yogurt/dahi
1 tsp flour/maida (this will keep your yogurt from splitting
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
2 TBS ground coriander/dhania seeds
1 TBS ground cumin/jeera
1 TBS Kashmiri mirch ( or 1&1/2 tsp cayenne plus 1&1/2 tsp paprika)
2 tsp black peppercorns/kali mirch
1 tsp turmeric/haldi
9 cloves/laung
9 green cardamoms/elaichi
4 black cardamoms/kali elaichi
1 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Grind all ingredients listed under masala to smooth paste, set aside.


2) Heat 1/4 C ghee with 1 tsp salt in kadhai or large heavy bottomed skillet. Fry sliced onions over medium heat until a deep golden brown. This will probably take about 12 to 15 minutes. Watch them carefully as you want them browned and caramelized  but not black. If you overcook them to the blackened stage they'll be bitter and you'll just have to throw them out and start over.

3) Set browned onions aside and allow to cool. Be aware that thee onions will continue cooking for a few minutes after you take them off the heat so leave them a bit underdone. When cooled grind browned onions to a smooth paste.

4) Heat 1/4 C ghee in a pressure cooker or large stock pot. Add mutton pieces and ground masala paste. Stir well and allow to simmer for 7 minutes. 

5) Add fried onion paste, 2 tsp garam masala, and 1&1/2 C water to meat mixture. Stir well. 

6) If using pressure cooker, seal and steam until meat is tender. If using stock pot on stove simmer until meat is tender adding 1/2 C water as needed to prevent drying out, this will take about 3-4 hours. If using crock pot or slow cooker transfer meat mixture to cooker and allow to simmer on medium for 3-4 until meat is tender.

7) When meat is tender and oil separates from the gravy stir in potato pieces and allow to heat through. Salt to taste and serve.

Helpful hints:
If you are not fond of mutton/goat this recipe would work well with beef, lamb, water buffalo, venison, or elk shank or stew meat, simply shorten cooking times accordingly.

Do not burn or blacken the onions, you will ruin the entire dish.  Brown is what we want, remember the onions will continue to cook for a few minutes after you've removed them from the heat. Fry the onions over medium heat.

Mar 15, 2016

Railway Mutton Curry

lamb curry mutton goat coconut cream

So the story goes something like this: During the days of the British Raj while traveling on Indian Railways a British officer complained the mutton curry served was too hot for his liking. An ingenious Indian Railways chef deliciously tamed the fiery curry by adding coconut milk, yoghurt, and perhaps even some ground cashews. Vinegar or tamarind were also added to preserve the mutton in those days before refrigeration also giving the dish a unique flavor. Thus "Railway Mutton Curry" became a popular dish in it's own right and was served in restaurants as well as railway refreshment rooms and long distance trains throughout India.

This is my version of "Railway Mutton Curry." I've made a hot and fiery curry then dialed back the heat a bit with coconut cream rather than a slurry of cashews, yogurt, and or coconut milk. I've chosen to use tamarind paste rather than vinegar because I prefer tamarind's sweet and sour complexity over vinegar's one note tang. I also love how tamarind lends it's deep brown hue to the dish, and the coconut cream renders the gravy rich and velvety. 

1kg/2 lbs mutton/goat, lean & bone in preferred, cut into 3-4 inch pieces
2 onions, sliced thinly into half moons
3 TBS cooking oil
2 tsp salt
2 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
2 TBS ginger/adrak paste
2-3 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped
5 cloves/laung
3 star anise, whole
2 tej patta/cassia leaves
15 black peppercorns, coarsely ground
2 inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini (or cinnamon stick)
3 tomatoes, diced finely
1 TBS garam masala
1 TBS ground coriander/dhania
1 TBS Kashmiri mirch
2 tsp ground cumin/jeera
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
400 ml can of coconut cream
1 TBS tamarind paste

Here's what to do:
1)  In a pressure cooker or deep, heavy bottomed skillet or stock pot heat oil with 2 tsp salt for 5 minutes. Fry sliced onion until just beginning to brown. Add garlic, ginger, and green chilis and fry for 2 minutes.

2) Add cloves, star anise, black peppercorns, tej patta, cassia bark, to fried onion mixture and fry for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes, garam masala, coriander, Kashmiri mirch, cumin, dried fenugreek leaves, and turmeric to pan, stir well and fry until tomatoes soften.

3) Add mutton pieces to mixture in pot, stir well and fry for 5 minutes.

4) Add the can of coconut cream and tamarind to mutton mixture, stir well.

5) Seal up pressure cooker & continue cooking for 5-6 whistles or until meat is to desired tenderness. If using deep skillet or stock pot add enough water so that meat mixture is covered by at least 3 inches. Simmer without lid until meat is of desired tenderness, adding water if necessary. Salt to taste and serve.
When the mutton is tender and the oil is separated from the sauce, your dish is ready!

Helpful Hints:
This is one of those curries where you could probably get away with using tinned tomatoes, since we're trying to accommodate "Britishers" taste anyway.

This recipe would work well with beef, lamb, or water buffalo also.

Are you being served?
(The staff & engine of the exquisite "Palace on Wheels" luxury train.)

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