My uncle once said that when eating out, always order something that you don't get to eat at home. Don't order chicken because you always have chicken at home. But I like chicken.....
For me, that dish that I never have at home (until now that is) would be mutton curry. I love mutton curry and I have always wanted to cook it myself. Finally I did it thanks to the AFF event. My first attempt was Masala Mutton and now, my favourite style of mutton curry - dry mutton curry.
The lady manning the siew yoke counter at the Pearl Pork outlet must be wondering where I am. Where is the fei phor who always ask for fatty siew yoke? Missing in action because this fei phor is slowly morphing into your regular akka, churning curries by the potfuls in the kitchen :)
This mutton curry is not difficult to cook at all. In the past, I allowed the long list of ingredients to intimidate me but now that I have tried Indian cooking, I will have to say that the seemingly endless list of spices don't scare me anymore. The first step in cooking this curry is to marinate the mutton pieces with yoghurt and lemon juice. Then the meat is boiled in a mixture of blended onions, garlic, ginger and chillies.
Once the mutton is almost tender, heat up some oil in the wok and fry the dry spices and onions. The onions have to be fried until they turn golden brown and that takes a lot of patience. It seemed to take forever and there I was sweating away in the kitchen. Once browned, simply add the mutton and ground spices into the wok and keep stirring until the dish become dry. And there you have it, dry mutton curry. So how did it taste? Like "real" Indian mutton curry? If you asked me this question when I had just finished cooking, I would have said no.
You see, after standing in the hot kitchen and breathing in the mutton fumes (hee..hee..), I thought my curry smelled too strongly of cumin. Even my tastebuds were not working properly and I was not that impressed with the first taste. But the next day when I heated it up for my lunch, it was a totally different story. The curry tasted very close to the one that I enjoyed at the restaurant.
With that, I am happy to announce (yes, announce) that my dry mutton curry can stand proudly next to the one from my regular banana leaf restaurant. But of course I am far from outshining the Indian chef. At least for now that is. Not that I am blowing my own trumpet but full credit goes to Chef Devagi's recipe from her book Banana Leaf Temptations. So the next time I have banana leaf rice, I want Chicken 65 :)
Recipe source : Banana Leaf Temptations (page 63)
- 1 kg boneless mutton, cut into cubes ) mix and leave
- 6 tbsp yoghurt ) leave to marinate
- 3 tbsp lemon juice ) for 1 hour
- 2 onions )
- 20 cloves ) blend with 2 cups
- 10cm ginger ) water till smooth
- 8 red chillies )
- 3 to 4 cups water (more or less)
- 20 tbsp oil
- 2 tsp urad dhall (I omitted because I could not find any)
- 3 pieces cinnamon sticks
- 10 cardamons
- 6 cloves
- 1 tbsp aniseed, coarsely pounded
- 3 onions, sliced
- a few springs curry leaves
- 2.5 tbsp ground chilli
- 2.5 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground corriander
- enough salt
1. Put blended ingredients, mutton pieces and water into a pot and boil till mutton is almost cooked.
2.Heat oil. Add urad dhall and fry till it turns golden brown.
3. Add the cinnamon sticks, cardamoms, cloves and aniseed and fry till fragrant.
4. Add the sliced onions and the curry leaves. Fry till onions turn golden brown.
5. Add the mutton, curry powders and salt.
6. Cook, stirring occasionally until mutton is cooked and becomes dry.
1. Start frying your spices and onions 1 hour after the mutton is boiling. It took me 1.5 hours for the mutton to become tender. That way, your mutton will be ready when your onions are nicely browned.
2. I did not add all the boiling liquid when I added the mutton into the browned onions and spices. I only added a ladle or two just to moisten the dish and kept frying until the dish was dry.
I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest - Indian Subcontinent hosted by Chef and Sommelier.