This mutton curry is probably the most common style of mutton curry cooked in Bengali households. Early morning on Sundays and holidays, long lines appear in front of the neighbourhood mutton shops. Buyers fuss over the exact cuts and grumble about the rising cost of this delicacy. The quiet of the Sunday afternoons is punctuated by the whistling of pressure cookers, and the perfume of various mutton curries fills the narrow neighbourhood lanes. Didn't get mutton for Sunday? Not a big deal, but you are certain to regret it as the smell your neighbour's mutton curry permeates your whole being.
In 2017, we posted a recipe for 'mutton kosha', a Calcutta cabin-style restaurant specialty, where the mutton is browned with a lot of onion—500g for every kilo of mutton—for nearly 3 hours to get a dish with deep caramel-nutty flavour and a thick sauce that barely coats the meat.
A year later, we posted the recipe of 'pathar jhol' a slow-cooked mutton curry where the mutton is first browned with onions—not to the extent that we did for mutton kosha and with only 400g of onions—and finally simmered until the gravy thickens and the meat is tender—about 2 hours.
Today’s pressure cooker mutton curry is at the opposite end of the flavour spectrum in that we don’t want to brown either the onions or the meat too much. This keeps the flavours fresh and light. The sauce is runny because the quantity of onions is only 250g for every kilo of mutton and they completely melt in the gravy in the short pressure cooking time of 15 minutes. It’s absolutely hearty and delicious.
For the marinade
- 1 kg mutton
- 10 g salt
- 5 g turmeric
- 80 g yoghurt
- 20 g mustard oil
For the curry
- 250 g onions (sliced)
- 350 g potatoes (halved)
- 15 g garlic (ground to a paste)
- 30 g ginger paste
- 40 g tomato (chopped)
- 25 g mustard oil
- 4 dried red chillies
- 4 bay leaves
- 4 green cardamoms
- 1 black cardamom
- 1 cinnamon
- 5 g coriander powder
- 5 g red chilli powder
- 3 g kashmiri red chilli powder
- 12 g salt
- 10 g sugar
- 350 ml hot water
- 10 green chillies
- 1 whole head of garlic (unbroken and unpeeled)
- Marinate the mutton with salt, turmeric, yoghurt and mustard oil. Set aside.
- Thinly slice the onions, peel and halve the potatoes, and roughly chop tomatoes.
- Heat mustard oil in a pan. Temper with dried red chillies, bay leaves, green cardamom, black cardamom, and cinnamon.
- Add onions and sweat on low heat, covered, for about 30 mins until they turn brown. For this curry we don't want to fry the onions, just mildly sweat them throughout, until they are soft and jam-like.
- Add garlic paste and cook for 15 mins. Add ginger paste and cook another 15 mins on low heat.
- Now add the tomatoes and salt. Once the tomatoes have softened a bit, add the powdered spices: coriander powder, red chilli pwder and kashmiri red chilli.
- Continue sautéing until the raw smell of the spices goes away (about 15 mins).
- Add the marinated mutton. Turn the heat to medium. Add a whole head of garlic and halved potatoes.
- Braise for about 20 mins until the mutton pieces are browned.
- Transfer everything to a pressure cooker. Add 350 ml hot water and whole green chillies.
- Cook on pressure until the mutton is tender. (For our model of pressure cooker, the one without a whistle, it takes 15 mins after full pressure is reached).
- Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to release on its own.
- Serve with hot rice.