Mutton Masala or even Chicken Masala is a typical 'hotel' dish just about anywhere in India and most eateries cook it badly.
I can tell the calibre of the food in a restaurant by the quality of its Mutton Masala or its Dal Fry.
I started making a more refined version of hotel-style Mutton Masala at home after taking a few tips from Harish Lunch Home in Fort, south Mumbai, and a couple of apna local bars ie wherever they did it well.
While most of us love eating well-cooked mutton, we have a preconceived notion that cooking meat is a tough task. It isn't.
Cook your meat simply and let the flavours of the main component, the meat, take their prime place. Do not let the masalas overpower the show and allow the meat flavour to come through.
The marinade ingredients in this Mutton Masala dish are quite a few and there is nothing better than a homemade meat masala to add magic to a mutton recipe.
If the list of spices is daunting and you don't have them lying around at home, don't worry, just pick up a packet of any ready meat masala. Personally, I'd go with the Licious Classic Meat Masala, available on Swiggy, as it has most of spices I need for this recipe and it comes in separately packed portions for ½ kg of meat.
The recipe calls for potatoes. But that's optional. Some of us love potatoes with our mutton and others really do not :) and pick them out or kick them around our plates.
Rajesh's Masala Mutton
- 500 gm mutton, curry cut
- ½ cup yoghurt
- 3 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
- 4-5 medium-sized onions
- 3-4 small potatoes, optional
- Small piece javitri or mace
- 2-3 tej patta or bay leaves
- 1-inch piece ginger, julienned or cut into thin strips
- 5 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp ghee
- ½ cup chopped dhania or green coriander or cilantro
- Salt to taste, about 2 tsp
- ½ cup water
For the marination
- 2 tsp red chilly powder
- 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
- 1 tsp haldi or turmeric powder
- Garam masala
For the garam masala
- 2 tsp dhania or coriander powder
- 2 bada elaichi or big black cardamom
- 1 tbsp jeera or cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves
- 5-6 black peppercorns
- 1 tsp sonf or fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp crushed dagad phool or kalpasi or stone flower
- 4 laung or cloves
- 1-inch dalcheeni or cinnamon.
- Dry roast and grind the spices for the garam masala.
Mix the garam masala with the balance marination spices and the yoghurt.
Add the mutton pieces along with some potatoes.
- Now follow the method in pictures below:
Marinate the meat and potatoes for at least 30 minutes -- the longer the better, overnight in the refrigerator would be perfect.
Next, roughly chop the onions lengthwise.
Cut the ginger into juliennes and keep aside.
It will be for the garnish.
Chop the coriander leaves and keep aside to for garnish.
Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed saucepan or a pressure cooker and add the bay leaves and then the onions. You may also use ghee for frying the onions. It will add more flavour, although it might be heavier on the tummy!
Saute for about 10-15 minutes.
Saute the onions till cooked and slightly caramelised like in the picture above.
Add the marinated meat and potatoes and salt.
Cook on high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
Tip: Keep tasting after adding the salt. Always remember, less is better.
Soon the oil will separate from the marinade and become a thickish gravy.
Now add the ½ cup water so when the mutton cooks it doesn't stick to the bottom and burn while cooking in a pressure cooker. Mix slowly and check the salt.
If not using a pressure cooker, definitely add water and definitely keep stirring every 5-7 minutes.
Time to shut the pressure cooker and let it cook for 5-6 whistles over high heat.
If the mutton used is nice and tender, don't cook beyond 5 whistles.
If it's not tender, go up to a maximum of 7 whistles.
Take off heat and let it cool and the pressure release naturally.
And open the lid slowly after the checking if the pressure has released. Do this by jiggling the whistle or tapping on the lid. If it hisses, wait a little longer.
There will be a layer of oil on top of the gravy. This is tari -- it has all the flavours of the mutton and the masalas that you have added.
And the existence of tari is a sign that the mutton is now well cooked.
The mutton curry should be served hot with rotis, steamed rice, chapattis, bhakris.
Before serving garnish with the chopped coriander, ginger and drizzle a little ghee, especially if you didn't use ghee to fry the onions.
I had this mutton curry with egg pancakes.
Want the recipe for the egg pancakes? Coming soon on Rediff Recipes.
Rajesh's Tip: When cooking meat, use oil/ghee liberally as it gives extra flavour to the curry.