It is very likely that many of you have never had the fortune of tasting food from Mangalore, India. Not the most widely known cuisine, even within India, but what a shame. It is addictive! How do I describe it? Lets just say that If you like peppery curries and tamarind, you are sure going to love this style of curry. It is a welcome change from the more well-known curries. Serve with steamed plain rice or with chapati. I would love to know what you think of it.
Mutton is traditional to India, as beef is rarely consumed. If you decide to use beef, I would strongly recommend using 'chuck' meat. As with beef stew, this cut of meat lends well to curries. If you can't find mutton, lamb is a fantastic substitute.
Also, yes, I do use a pressure cooker here. Those of you who are pressure-cooker phobic, it is time to come out of your shell and get over it. Hey, it is really 'cool' to own one now. I swear, if you are into Indian cooking, or just good healthy whole grain cooking, you have to go out and get one of these. What if you don't like it? Oh well. I am sure you've made other kitchen purchases below that you have regretted. There is a very very small chance you'll regret it. I promise. But if you still don't want to get one, you can use a heavy dutch oven. Just be prepared to cook this for a few ours to achieve the right doneness and consistency.
Mangalore Mutton Curry
2 lbsboneless Mutton, cut into small pieces
1/2 lb potatoes, cut into fourths
3 large onions, chopped into rough chunks
6 cloves of garlic
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
2 large tomatoes, pureed
1 teaspoon turmeric (haldi) powder
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup water
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
For coconut masala paste:
1 tablespoon poppy (khus khus) seeds
1 stick cinnamon
15 black peppercorns
1 black cardamom (badi elaichi)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 dry red chilis
1 teaspoon oil
1//2 cup grated coconut (fresh preferred, dry will do)
In the bowl of a food processor, grind the onions, garlic, and ginger together into a coarse paste. Heat oil in a pressure cooker, or a heavy dutch oven. Add the onion paste and fry over medium heat until golden brown. This shouls take 15 - 20 minutes.
While onion paste is cooking, get the coconut masala paste ready. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a small frying pan and roast all the dry spices. Grind to a paste along with the coconut. Set aside for later.
Once the onion paste is golden brown, add the pureed tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently till tomatoes are cooked and change to a dark red color. Now add the turmeric powder and some salt. Add the mutton and saute the mutton in the masala till the mutton gives out some juices, about 10 minutes. Now add the potatoes, ground coconut masala paste, tamarind paste, sugar, and 1 cup water.
Bring to a boil, close the pressure cooker lid and cook at high pressure for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 more minutes. Once pressure has released, open cooker.
Note: If you are cooking without a pressure cooker, you will need to cook the meat for a few hours. You can do this covered, on low heat on the stove top, or better, cook in a 325 F oven. You will need more water to avoid the curry from burning, so plan on at least one more cup of water.
Once the curry is cooked (meat should be fork tender), check salt and seasonings. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve hot. Note: leftovers are excellent!