Durban Mutton Curry Recipe


Durban mutton curry is slicker than its global counterparts. No pun intended, it is not just delicious, but aromatic, spicy, and pleasing to the eye. In case you’re wondering how this mutton curry recipe differs from the others featured in this blog, consider this the month end version. It has a luscious thick gravy from the use of onion and grated tomatoes and just the right amount of fiery yet fragrant spice from homemade Durban masala It is also the first time that I have had all ingredients at hand to make the best Durban mutton curry I could. This recipe was intended for the purpose of making a mutton bunny chow. I omitted potatoes from the recipe because it will be eaten with bread.

durban mutton curry recipe

Making The Best Durban Mutton Curry

A good Durban curry is based on a few principles, colour, texture and aroma, as much as it can be at the hand of an experienced home cook. It requires the right ingredients as much as it does love and patience. In the case of this recipe it involves preparation of the meat by marinating in Durban masala, braising onions and spice with tomato to form a lush gravy and finally simmering the meat . Garnishing with curry leaves and coriander punctuate this dishes unique aroma. I call this  a Durban curry because my mum (Amma) was ‚born and bred‘ in Durban, born in the so called golden era of the 1940‘s she had a specific way of preparing and cooking food. Many of which I use in my recipes. Thank you to a reader for reminding me of this.

durban mutton curry for bunny chow

How to Make a Durban Mutton Curry

I prefer using mutton pieces with bone, Amma was fond of using shoulder or neck cuts for mutton curry. In this recipe I used shoulder meat. In some meat curries I prefer to brown meat then add to braised onions and spice. In this recipe I marinated the meat in Durban masala instead. This can be done at least two hours before cooking or overnight. By doing so the meat absorbed both flavour and aroma of the spices and was better able to fry when added to oil.

Prepare onions and shallots by slicing fine. Grate tomatoes. I prefer removing skin and seeds and use only the actually fleshy fruit of the tomato. If you prefer to add potatoes, peel and cut then set aside in a bowl of cold water.

Prepare the powdered spices.

Amma‘s method  for meat curry was to fry the onions until soft and caramelized.

 durban mutton curry

Add ginger and garlic and curry leaves followed by powdered spice.

how to make a durban mutton curry

The powder should fry in the oil otherwise you end up with what she referred to as ‚chilli powder curry‘. By frying the spice, flavour is released into the dish. Once the spice is fried, add meat and fry until the meat is slightly seared. This should be done on medium heat to avoid burning the spice.

Once you are satisfied with the texture of the meat, add tomatoes and tomato paste for visual effect.This gives the colour a natural reddish hinge without adding colorants. Cover and allow to cook on low heat to allow these  ingredients to cook in their own moisture.

After 10 minutes or so, add a cup of water and let the curry simmer for a further 20 minutes or so. If you are using pieces with bone, you may need another 10 minutes of cooking time.

Garnish with fresh curry leaves and coriander and serve with rice, soft roti and carrot salad.

Durban Mutton Curry Recipe


Durban mutton curry recipe

Durban Mutton Curry Recipe

Prep time: 2 H (includes marinating time for meat); 15 M Cook time: 30 M Total time: 2 H & 45 M


  • 2kg mutton meat (I prefer pieces with bone)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 shallots
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon Durban Masala for marinating the meat
  • 3 tablespoons Durban Masala for the curry
  • 1 teaspoon dhania jeera powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon ginger and garlic paste
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • stalk of curry leaves
  • bunch of coriander


  1. Prepare the meat by cutting into small pieces. Add 1 tablespoon of Durban masala. Combine meat with masla. Cover and leave in the fridge, at least 2 hours before cooking or overnight.
  2. Prepare all vegetables, slice onions fine and grate tomatoes
  3. Prepare spices by measuring out the quantities needed.
  4. Heat a heavy based pan on medium heat. Add oil. Add onions. Add bay leaves and cinnamon
  5. Fry until onions have caramelized and appear soft and brown.
  6. Add ginger and garlic paste. Fry for a minute or two.
  7. Add powder spices. Lower the heat on the stove.
  8. Fry until the spices stick to the bottom of the pan.
  9. Add the meat. Fry for 10 minutes, turning after 5 minutes on each side to evenly fry the meat.
  10. Add the grated tomato and tomato paste. Cover and allow to simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
  11. Add the water, stir and leave to simmer for another 25-30 minutes.
  12. Remove lid and let the remaining water evaporate to reveal a thick gravy.
  13. Remove curry from stove, top with curry leaves and chopped coriander.
  14. Serve with rice, soft roti and carrot salad.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @foodlikeamma on instagram and hashtag it #foodlikeammausedtomakeit;#durbanmasala;#durbanmuttoncurryrecipe;#durbancurry
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More Durban Mutton Curry Recipes


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Mutton Fry


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