Delicious Durban Mutton Curry Recipe

5 from 2 votes

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 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 served with bread.

durban mutton curry recipe

How To Make 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 the preparation of the meat by marinating it 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 punctuates this dish’s unique aroma. I call this a Durban curry because my mum (Amma) was ‚’ born and bred’ (in her words) 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 Delicious Durban Mutton Curry Step By Step

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 the meat and then add 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 the flavour and aroma of the spices and was better able to fry when added to oil.

Prepare onions and shallots by slicing them fine. Grate tomatoes. I prefer removing skin and seeds and using 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, the 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 colourants. 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

Easy Durban Mutton Curry Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Recipe by Ms Pillay


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  • 2 kg 2 mutton meat (I prefer pieces with bone)

  • 2 2 medium onions

  • 2 2 shallots

  • 3 3 bay leaves

  • 3 3 cinnamon sticks

  • 1 tablespoon 1 Durban Masala for marinating the meat

  • 3 tablespoons 3 Durban Masala for the curry

  • 1 teaspoon 1 dhania jeera powder

  • 1 teaspoon 1 Kashmiri chilli powder

  • 1 tablespoon 1 ginger and garlic paste

  • 3 medium 3 tomatoes

  • 2 tablespoons 2 tomato paste

  • ¼ cup ¼ vegetable oil

  • 1 1/2 cups 1 1/2 water

  • stalk of curry leaves

  • bunch of coriander


  • Prepare the meat by cutting it into small pieces. Add 1 tablespoon of Durban masala. Combine meat with masala. Cover and leave in the fridge, for at least 2 hours before cooking or overnight.
  • Prepare all vegetables, slice onions fine and grate tomatoes
  • Prepare spices by measuring out the quantities needed.
  • Heat a heavy-based pan on medium heat. Add oil. Add onions. Add bay leaves and cinnamon
  • Fry until onions have caramelized and appear soft and brown.
  • Add ginger and garlic paste. Fry for a minute or two.
  • Add powdered spices. Lower the heat on the stove.
  • Fry until the spices stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the meat. Fry for 10 minutes, turning after 5 minutes on each side to evenly fry the meat.
  • Add the grated tomato and tomato paste. Cover and allow to simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the water, stir and leave to simmer for another 25-30 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and let the remaining water evaporate to reveal a thick gravy.
  • Remove the curry from the stove, and top with curry leaves and chopped coriander.
  • Serve with rice, soft roti and carrot salad.

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