As Sindhis, we are obsessed with cooking everything in daagh. And while this is perfectly normal, and don’t think for a second that I’m complaining, because I love the combination of deep, dark caramelised onions and cooked tomatoes, it’s just that a daagh and garam masala-base curry can tend to become a bit heavy from time to time, and it is exactly for times like these that I think we need a lighter curry— something that is just as flavourful, but I want it to rejuvenate me, rather than put me to sleep.
Off-late, the curry that we’ve taken a particular fondness to has a freshly ground curry powder, something that goes well with both chicken and mutton. It’s really quite genius because once the spice powder is in your pantry, the curry itself doesn’t require much hands-on time. You can forget about say a boneless mutton curry like this, and come back to tender flavourful chunks of stewed meat that tastes just as good with rice as it does with bread.
While testing this recipe, I tried it with both chicken as well as mutton, and while of course the latter tasted better, the quick chicken dish with chunks of breast meat was also quite speedy and can definitely be attempted. I used boneless mutton to make this curry, and marinated the mutton in ginger, garlic, salt and half of the freshly ground curry powder overnight which led to more tender mutton the next day.
A Lighter Mutton Curry
Yield 4 servings
Opt to make this on days when you want to relax, rather than stand over the stove. Toasting and grinding the curry powder is the only bit of actual work you’ll have to do here.
For The Curry Powder
Cumin seeds 2 tbsp
Coriander seeds 2 tbsp
Turmeric 3/4 tbsp
Methi seeds 1/2 tbsp
Black pepper 1/2 tbsp
Mutton 500g, boneless, cut into cubes
Potatoes 2 medium-sized, cut into fat chunks
Garlic paste 1 tsp, minced
Vegetable Oil 2-3 tbsp
Green chillies 2, slit lengthwise and finely chopped
Garlic 4-5 cloves, minced
Onion 2 medium sized, sliced
Black pepper 1/2 tsp
Mixed herbs seasoning 1/2 tsp or dried thyme 1/2 tsp
Coriander 2 tbsp, freshly chopped, to serve
The day before you make this curry, grind the curry powder ingredients together after lightly toasting them on a pan over very low heat until quite aromatic. On days when you’re short on time, toast the spices for 15-second bursts in the microwave, though don’t make a habit out of it. After you’ve ground the curry powder, you should have a little over 5 tbsp worth of powder. Rub the mutton with garlic paste, salt and 2 tbsp of the curry powder. A bit of the reserve curry powder goes into the curry later.
Transfer the mutton to the refrigerator and let it sit there to marinate overnight. The next day, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once it is hot, add the vegetable oil and let that get hot too. Slip the onions into the oil and stir the onions, cooking them for 4-5 minutes or until they are just starting to turn golden from the corners. Add the minced garlic and chillies, and stir for a minute or two until fragrant. Add the black pepper followed by 1 tbsp of the curry powder and the mutton. Bhuno the mutton, or aggressively stir in the pan to coat the mutton on all sides. Add 1/2 tsp of salt into the pan, taking care as you have already salted the boneless mutton pieces. Add the potatoes, the mixed herbs seasoning and add water enough to just come up above the surface of the potatoes and mutton. Bring everything up to a boil and once it’s boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer. Let the mutton and the potatoes cook through checking every 15-20 minutes. The mutton and potatoes should be done cooking in just under 45 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed. Finish with freshly chopped coriander and serve with either rice or bread/pav.