During the last few months before marriage I was in a massive hunt for recipes. Thinking about going to US and cooking on my own used to scare me to a certain extent. Nevertheless I never lost hope and continued my internet searches for new recipes. I had taken some sort of a resolution of finding out at least one new recipe each day. During one those days there was a book exhibition cum sale at my home town. Being a book lover I went to the event and was glancing at the various books on fiction when one particular book in the adjacent aisle caught my eye-Malabar Muslim Cookery by Ummi Abdulla. My joy knew no bounds since I loved Malabar recipes and was badly in search of few.
An year passed and then came Easter. We like to celebrate all occasions and try to cook out something new each time. We were thinking on what to make for Easter when my husband suddenly said,"What about Mutton stew?" That seemed like a great idea to me since I loved that stew but had never tried it out myself. I flipped through the pages of Malabar Muslim Cookery and found out the recipe that I was looking for. Since we haven't got mutton at our grocery store we have always substituted lamb for mutton. This time too it was not an exception. We made our trip to the grocery store and was searching for lamb in the meats aisle when a small sticker attached to a cling wrapped box caught our eye-Goat for stew! Voila!
I came back home with the mindset of a child gifted with a box of chocolates. But we were in for another surprise-An invitation for Easter lunch at a friend's place! The friend's wife hails from Iran and we were really excited thinking about the various Iranian dishes we were about to have. But then something bought us back to the reality-What about our stew? We decided to stick to our original plan of making the stew because the friend and his family loved Indian dishes and this would be something different compared to the spicy Indian dishes they usually have at Indian restaurants. I proceeded with the preparation and finally we had this too for Easter lunch and guess what? It was a hit!
This dish with chopped mutton and potatoes stewed in coconut milk goes well with Appam, one of the traditional breakfast dishes of Kerala cuisine, a fermented pancake with rice flour and coconut milk. This can be had with bread rolls too. Since I always like to roast and grind the aromatic spices-Cinnamon,cloves,cardamom etc before adding to the dish the colour of the dish changed to medium brown rather than the usual cream colour for stews. But if you want to retain the cream colour of stew add whole spices instead and use white onions instead of red ones.Also since I love green capsicum(bell pepper) I added it too.I made slight changes to the original recipe to suit our taste and here is the modified version :)
2 pounds of mutton(goat meat) chopped to pieces
1 1/2 onions chopped
Turmeric Powder- 1/2 tsp
Thick Coconut milk- 2 cups
Thin coconut milk-2 cups
Water- as needed
Potato- 1 peeled and chopped
Green capsicum(bell pepper)-1
2.5 tsp fresh garlic paste(or minced)
2.5 tsp fresh ginger paste(or minced)
Vinegar- 2 tsp
Ground pepper-2 tsp
Green chillies split- 4
1" Cinnamon sticks- 2
Few cardamom seeds
2 star anise
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs curry leaves
Salt to taste
Coconut oil for cooking
- Dry roast cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, star anise at about medium heat till you get the aroma of spices and the colour slightly changes. Cool, grind and keep aside.
- Marinate mutton pieces with 1 tsp ground pepper, salt, vinegar, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp each of garlic and ginger paste. Keep it aside for at least an hour.
- Cook potatoes with salt separately adding enough water. I cooked in a microwave as I didn't have enough time. Keep aside.
- In a pan heat about 1 tbsp oil and add 1.5 tsp each of minced ginger and garlic paste. Saute till raw smell goes.
- Add bay leaves, 1 sprig curry leaves and chopped onions. Saute for few seconds.
- Add the freshly ground spices kept aside earlier along with green chillies and saute till onions turn transparent.
- Add chopped capsicum(bell pepper) and saute for few seconds.
- Add 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp ground pepper and mix well.
- Now add cooked potatoes(along with water used for cooking potatoes) and marinated mutton pieces along with thin coconut milk, 1 cup thick coconut milk and enough salt.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook with a closed lid until the mutton pieces are cooked well. You may add additional water during this cooking process if the gravy turns thick.
- After this stage increase the heat and add thick coconut milk. Check for enough salt. Bring to a boil and continue cooking until the gravy turns thick enough for stew.
- Add torn curry leaves and 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil, mix well and remove from heat.
- Allow the dish to rest for few hours before serving. And as always true for non-veg dishes, it tastes better the next day :)
- Serve with Appam or Idiappam or Bread Rolls.
Other Non-Vegetarian dishes: