Mutton curry like Amma’s Durban Chicken Curry was characterized by its red colour and fiery taste. As kids we grew accustomed to the pungent taste by eating a little gravy mixed with potato,rice and small pieces of meat. Like most prime meats, Mutton Curry was reserved for Sunday lunch! If we were expecting visitors on that day Amma would bring out her best amber serving dish and no mutton curry was complete without a topping of fresh coriander from the garden. Amma’s mutton curry often contained a combination of potatoes and peas, guthera beans or broad beans. On occasion she added dumplings or made mutton and cabbage curry.
What Meat to Use for Mutton Curry
Mutton meat is usually from sheep that are two years or older, this meat is best for curries and soups. Having lived on a sheep farm for a number of years Amma became an ‘expert’ in preparing sheep meat. Mutton curry, trotters, liver, and roast lamb featured often in her kitchen. In her opinion the best meat for making mutton curry was shoulder or neck. Both are bony, meaty and have a good portion of fat, perfect for a luscious, full flavored mutton curry.
What do I need to make Mutton Curry
Essential ingredients for mutton curry are onions, ginger, garlic, grated tomatoes (without skin) and spices. I prefer chopping onion fine or using a blender to make an onion paste together with the ginger and garlic. This results in a thick, luscious gravy. I use a combination of four spices, namely a masala for meat curries, garam masala, a little turmeric and cardamom. Not forgetting coriander and curry leaves. Ideally I would use fresh curry leaves but I have not used these for cooking in years because I cannot find them anywhere!
How to Make Curry Red
While Durban Curry is characteristically red, from the type of spice used. I recommend avoiding the use of added colorants to achieve the red colour. To do this I simply add a tablespoon of tomato paste. I also use cherry tomatoes or very ripe tomatoes. I peel then then grate them for the best gravy ever.
How to Make the Best Mutton Curry
Over the years I have perfected my own recipe for mutton curry, based on spices available and my favored methods for cooking meat. The most common being seared meat. I prefer browning fatty meat before cooking. Not only does this result in more flavor but it also has a positive effect on the meat too, it literally falls of the bone when cooked. This is my recommended method for cooking mutton, unlike lamb meat, mutton meat is tougher. I prefer the shoulder cut for mutton curry and usually combine a few diced pieces with lean meat with odd pieces and pieces with bones. I sear the ones with bones and excess fat and cook the smaller leaner pieces of mutton in the curry.
- 2 kg shoulder mutton meat (preferably with bone )
- 2 onions
- 1 cup grated tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon ginger and garlic paste
- curry leaves
- 2 tablespoons meat curry masala
- half tablespoon garam masala
- half teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder or 6 pods cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or 4 sticks whole cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 500ml water
How to cook Mutton Curry
- Prepare the meat. Trim excess fat, cut into small pieces.
- Prepare the tomatoes. I prefer just the fruit. I remove tomato skin by soaking in boiling water. When water has cooled, peel tomatoes, remove seeds then grate .
- Prepare the onions. Peel and slice fine. I usually blend with the ginger and garlic to make an onion paste. This results in the best gravy ever!
- Prepare spices.
- Start by searing the meat. Heat a pan on high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. When the pan is hot, add pieces of meat one at a time. Don’t move or turn pieces, allow to sear for at least 5-7 minutes. Turn once then remove from pan, set aside.
- Lower the heat on stove. Add remaining oil. Add onion paste (onion, ginger and garlic). Fry until onion paste softens.
- Add spices, fry for 3-5 minutes, gently combining onions and spices.
- Add all meat, combine. Fry for 5 minutes.
- Add tomato , do not stir. Avoid stiring too much, from now on the mutton curry can simply cook on its own. The water added in the next step with boil, bubbling over the meat.
- Add water.
- Add potatoes in a circle around the pot. Cover and allow to cook. There is no need to mix the curry. You can gently pour some gravy over the top of the potatoes when needed.
- Allow to cook on moderate heat for 35-40 minutes.
- Remove from heat, serve warm with rice, roti and a big bowl of carrot salad.
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How to Make Mutton Curry with Dumplings
Amma made dumplings for mutton or chicken curry and sometimes with mutton and cabbage or just yellow cabbage. It is the simplest recipe. If you are using self raising flour add a ratio of 2:1 of flour and water. For the option without self raising flour add a teaspoon of baking powder for each cup of flour. Combine ingredients to form a thick gulgula like dough. Spoon into curry. Close lid and allow to steam for 15 minutes before removing the lid.
See the dumpling recipe below.
Dumplings cook by steaming within the mutton curry. It is best to allow at least 15 minutes for cooking. Simply spoon the dumpling mixture into the pot. Allow to steam, undisturbed.
Dumplings for Mutton Curry
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
How to cook Dumplings for Mutton Curry
- Dumplings for mutton curry are to be cooked at the end stage of cooking, as they require at least 15 minutes cooking time.
- To make the dumplings, Sift flour, add water and salt.
- Mix well to combine. The dough should be thick and easily scooped with a spoon or ice cream scoop.
- Spoon into the curry. Preferably in circular form around the pot.
- Cover pot. Allow to steam for at least 15 minutes before lifting the pot lid.
- Test to see if the dumplings are cooked by piercing with a skewer stick or knife.
- Once cooked, remove from heat, serve warm.
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Enjoy Mutton Curry Like Amma Used To Make It!
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