Mutton Korma
                                                          Mutton Korma

I was tempted to spell it as “qorma”; sadly linguistics often hampers discoverability

Inspired by Manjari’s goat/lamb curry, and equipped with some fresh goat meat that I managed to lay my hands on, from good old Spencer’s – their goat meat is next best to some of my other favorite places to pick up goat meat in Kolkata – closest to my home being a shop in Garia crossing discovered by my brother, and there is another hidden place at the core of the Tiretty bazaar market after navigating the concentric rows of fruit and spice shops you would come upon a clear space in the centre with this standalone meat shop, when you see an elderly gentleman with a long flowing white beard, you know you have arrived. Best meat ever.

Anyhow, on a weekday Spencer’s is all I got. They’re not bad, but I just wish I can choose my cuts, I usually prefer shoulder cuts. I could totally relate to M’s story about initial inhibitions on pressure cooking, even I started off with slow cooking meat over the gas till I realised the price of gas could be killing me someday, and then time became a huge factor in our lives. A lot of us owe so much of our busy lives to the pressure cooker. My mom gifted me my first one, a tiny 1.5 litres, when I was in hostel, so that I could cook my own food. Hostel food was as appalling as was always meant to be; it is as if no hostel wants you to stay on for a long time, and this is probably their best defence mechanism to repel you off. Coming back to the pressure cooker, I own 3 now – 1.5, 3 and 5 ltrs. This includes the one my mom had gifted. I was getting another one gifted last month, which I politely declined since there was neither space nor need for one more.

Taking a cue from M, I pounded my own garam masala and used ghee to bring out the flavours; these two things make such a big difference to the result. I’m calling it a Korma since I used the technique where you keep adding curd at intervals during the searing process, to turn it into a grainy textured gravy by cooking it on low heat without curdling it. Also, I used a tomato just because I have a fetish for it, somehow its an OCD to ensure I get colour without adding too much red chilly powder. And I used baby potatoes simple because they were in season and I love the flavour they take up when cooked with meat. And I used mustard oil in the beginning and ghee later, and no they did not interfere with each other in terms of flavour. Without adding on to the blabber, let me jot down the recipe:

Ingredients

  • Mutton: 500 gms
  • Baby potatoes: 5 nos (totally optional – they were in season and I couldn’t resist the urge to use them)
  • Onions: 2 large, sliced thinly
  • Garlic: 5 large cloves, crushed
  • Ginger: 1 inch grated
  • Tomato: 1 no., chopped
  • Green chilly: 1 whole
  • Thick curd: 4-5 tbsp
  • Paprika: 1 tsp
  • Cinnamom: 1 stick
  • Cardamom: 4 nos
  • Mustard oil (can be replacable with more ghee)
  • Ghee
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt to taste

For the homemade garam masala: Dry roast and pound together in roughly equal quantities –

  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Cloves
  • White pepper (or black)
  • Ground ginger (optional)
  • Cumin seeds

Method:

  • Heat mustard oil/ ghee in the pressure cooker.
  • Add the whole spices (cinnamon and cardamom) and let it splutter
  • Add a pinch of sugar and the onions and fry till translucent.
    Add the crushed garlic, grated ginger, chopped tomatoes, turmeric and salt in that order.
  • Once the tomatoes are mushy, add the meat and ground spices, and sear on medium flame, stirring vigorously (its what we call ‘koshaano’ in Bengali, and this process is key to getting your meat absorb the spice flavours)
  • Keep adding a tbsp of the thick curd at a time and vigorously stir till it gets absorbed, before adding some more.
  • The koshaano takes about 15-20 mins, you would find browned glazed meat and the curd turns into a granulated gravy base.
  • Add the baby potatoes and a dollop of ghee towards the end of the searing process, stir to bring it all together.
  • Add just enough water to more or less cover the meat (too much will result
    in a curry)
  • Season with salt, add the whole chilly and some paprika
  • Close the lid and cook on low heat for about 25 mins (7-8 whistles)
  • Wait for the pressure to release (remember, haste makes waste)
    Ok… now you can eat.

This is a rather delayed post on KFB’s Know your blogger season where everybody has been exploring Manjari’s blog. To tell a bit about her, Manjari cooks a lot. Like a lot, her blog reflects just how much. The first time we met her (Kamalika, Archita and I) she had got us some homemade chocolate truffles and had asked us for feedback. I did not offer any because I was just too busy savouring the delicacies. She tries her best to get to the origin of classical recipes and recreate the same in her
kitchen. One can read more on her blog ‘For the love of food‘.

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