Mutton cooked with green lentils

Here is one of the best recipes I’ve prepared till date! Mutton has been my favorite meat all along. In fact, I can have a mutton dish at least once, every single day! But in reality I try to restrict it to once a week or once in two weeks for health reasons of course, and most of the times I have it outside since it takes a while to prepare at home.

Last weekend I had lots of time in hand and so I decided to indulge in the very palatable experience. In the past few months I’ve come to realize something. I found that I get extreme pleasure in cooking dishes with ingredients I prefer the most. Even when I’m sorting out the ingredients, I start getting thought bubbles of what the food will taste like once I’m done with the cooking and the thought itself makes me very happy!! You may have already guessed by now that mutton is one of those ingredients 🙂

However, this time I was in no mood of having the same old mutton curry! Suddenly it struck me…. why not cook it with lentils? The thought itself made me excited! I had seen some middle eastern recipes in some cook books (can’t recall the name of the books) before where meat is cooked with lentils but I couldn’t remember the exact recipe. So I prepared the dish in my style. I used clarified butter (ghee) in this recipe. It gave an amazing flavor to the dish, but I tried to use as little as possible to keep it gentle on the stomach.

If you’re thinking of a recipe for a party or how to make your partner happy after a stressful day at work, this will definitely work!! 🙂

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Preparation Time: 15 minutes (excludes marinating time)

Cooking Time:  Around 1 hour 15 minutes

Serves: 3

Ingredients:

Cooking oil – 1.5 tablespoons

Mutton – 500 g (with bone). You can use boneless as well as per your preference

Green lentils – 1/2 cup, boiled in 2 cups water

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Red chili – 2 to 3, slit horizontally from the middle

Cinnamon sticks – 2 small sticks

Cloves –  4 to 5

Cardamom seeds – 4 to 5

Coriander powder – 2 teaspoons

Cumin powder – 2 teaspoons

Paprika – 2 teaspoons

Ginger garlic paste – 1.5 tablespoons

Clarified butter (ghee) – 2 teaspoons

Dried raisins or mixed fruits – around 1/4 to 1/2 cup (as desired)

Diet Coke – as required, for marinating (optional)

Salt – to taste

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Step 1: Add some grated ginger and diet coke to the mutton and marinate it for 30 to 40 minutes. This will make the mutton soft. Once marinated, drain the diet coke and ginger and wash the mutton properly. You can use other methods to soften the mutton as well (as per your preference).

Step 2: Heat the oil and clarified butter (ghee) in a U-shaped vessel or pan. Add the dried red chili, cardamom seeds, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Once they splutter, add the onions and paprika and cook for 2 minutes.

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Step 3: Add the ginger garlic paste, followed by the cumin and coriander powder. Mix well and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

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Step 4: Add the mutton. Mix it well with all the other ingredients and let it cook for few minutes until the color of the meat has changed. Now add around 2 cups of water, lower the heat and cover the pan. Let the mutton cook slowly in low heat. You will need to let it cook for around 45 minutes to 1 hour until the mutton is soft. Stir the mixture at 15-20 minutes intervals. If the water has almost evaporated and the mutton isn’t cooked yet, add a little more and cover again.

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Step 5: Once the mutton is soft, add the dry fruit mixture and the boiled lentils. Stir to mix well and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Add salt for taste. Once you have the desired consistency, transfer to a serving bowl.

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Step 6: Serve hot with rice or bread of your choice.

A few tips:

  • If you don’t have much time, you can use a pressure cooker to cook the above recipe. After Step 4, cover the cooker and let it cook until 8 to 10 whistles approximately. You can open the cooker after that (make sure you eject the steam) and then follow from Step 5.
  • Feel free to use the meat of your choice as per your preference.
  • I believe adding cashews and similar nuts would make it even more delicious. I was running out of stock and hence couldn’t add. Try it out and let me know 🙂

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Mutton Kasha

Last week was quite a busy one! Not with work but with all the festivity. It was the time of ‘Durga Puja’ (majorly celebrated in the state West Bengal and a few other states in India). Durga Puja has been one of the festivals very close to my heart. If you’re wondering what the festival is all about, here’s a synopsis from Wikipedia (edited):

‘Durga Puja is an annual Hindu festival in South Asia that celebrates worship of the goddess Durga. It refers to all the six days observed as MahalayaShashthiMaha SaptamiMaha AshtamiMaha Navami and Vijayadashami. The festival marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. According to mythology, Mahishasura was a very powerful demon who had conquered heaven by defeating the Gods. Gods Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu assembled forth together and from their anger emerged rays of light which took the shape of a woman, Goddess Durga to kill this demon. And with the assembled power of all Gods and riding on a lion as her vehicle, Durga killed the most powerful demon ‘Mahishasura’ and brought victory to heaven. Thus, Durga Puja festival epitomises the victory of Good over Evil.’ The story always fascinates me a lot, whenever I hear it.

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The festival is always celebrated with family and dear ones, visiting them and having a fun time together. Food is definitely one crucial part of this festival as well. I went for the celebration here in Singapore as well and I over ate on all days! The food was simply amazing! I couldn’t help but take some pictures 🙂

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On the last day of the festival (Vijayadashami), I decided to prepare the all time favorite mutton curry at home instead of eating out. This Bengali dish is authentically called ‘Kasha Mangsho’ which is a slow cooked preparation of mutton. The dish is rich with spices and I would say one of the most delicious one in Indian cuisine.

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Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 1.5 hours in vessel (If you don’t have too much time, you can use a pressure cooker, takes half the time to prepare the dish).

Ingredients:

Mutton – 1 kg

Oil – Mustard Oil or Vegetable oil – 2 to 3 tablespoons

Onion – 3 big, ground in a mixer to make a paste

Tomato – 2 medium, made into a paste

Ginger paste – 1 tablespoon

Garlic paste – 2 – 3 tablespoons

Potato – 1 medium, skinned and cut into half

Green chili – 3-4 medium, grated

Bay Leaves – 2

Turmeric powder – 2 teaspoons

Cumin powder – 2 teaspoons

Coriander powder – 2.5 teaspoons

Garam Masala powder – 2 teaspoons (It’s a mixture of spices available at any grocery store or supermarket selling  Indian spices)

Cinnamon – 2 cm long, broken

Cardamom – 2 to 3

Cloves – 4 to 5

Water – 2 to 3 cups or as required

Salt – to taste

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Step 1: Heat oil in an U shaped pan or vessel and add the bay leaves and potatoes.

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Step 2: Add the onion paste and turmeric and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook for 5 to 6 minutes.

Step 3: Add the tomato paste and stir for 2 minutes. Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, chili powder, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until the tomato is cooked.

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Step 4: Add the mutton and salt. Mix well for few minutes until the mutton changes to a slight brownish color. Add 2 cups of water and cover the pan/vessel and cook under medium heat. Let the meat cook slowly. It will take quite a while (one hour or a bit more) to cook. So you can enjoy Television or finish other chores meanwhile. Check the mutton occasionally with some stirring and then cover again. If more water is needed, add a cup more.

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Step 5: Once the mutton is soft and you have a desired consistency of the gravy, add the Garam Masala and give a stir. Check the salt. Serve hot with rice or bread.

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A few tips:

  • If you want to cook the dish faster, after adding the mutton, transfer everything to a pressure cooker. Cover the lid and cook until there are 10-12 whistles or more as required. Eject the steam, open the cooker and check if the mutton is soft and you have the desired consistency for gravy. This is much faster, takes about half the time than cooking in a pan/vessel.
  • For cholesterol watchers, if you want to remove the extra fat from the mutton, before cooking, add the raw mutton in boiling water for around 5-10 minutes until the fat is removed. Drain the water.