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
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!|
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.)