After a few busy weeks, this weekend has been a luxury for us! Hanging around with friends till late in the night, snacking and munching most of the time, rolling out of bed late in the morning, having a relaxed picnic with our friends in our neighborhood park... With all these simple pleasures, the weekend becomes special. This weekend was one such lovely weekend! Weather was gorgeous and summer is here..... finally! It was just a perfect weekend for outdoors. A couple of long drives visiting a few of our neighboring suburbs and having a leisure walk in the beautiful downtowns with coffee cups in our hand.. yeah, this is summer!
At these times, I take it easy and I do not prefer spending time in the kitchen, sweating in the heat. Yet, can't compromise in eating something special that will sustain our weekend mood. "Special" is traditional non-veg food for me! While I was growing up, chicken and mutton (goat meat) were considered special. They were really a weekend food. Though chicken is now inexpensive and is affordable by everyone, mutton is not. Its more expensive than before and people are becoming health conscious too. Mutton has always been one of my favorites since childhood and still maintain that liking whatsoever. After getting married to a vegetarian, I almost stopped cooking it at home, but I do cook when my craving takes over or we have friends visiting us.
Chettinad cuisine is one of the most popular south-indian cuisines. The speciality is in the spices they use, especially in non-vegetarian food. There's just something in the flavor and spices that are entangled so well, that the outcome is simply awesome! Everything is hot and flavorful and made of fresh ground masala. This mutton curry is probably offered in all restaurants in tamilnadu that serve chettinad cuisine. I learnt to cook this from my mother-in-law. She is a vegetarian, but a master in cooking non-vegetarian food too! I always get amazed when I see her cook all non-veg food with perfect spices and flavor without tasting a bit. I think thats the upshot of an experienced cook!
I've made egg curry with the same ingredients (but reduce the spice measurements to half) and method (except the marination and pressure cooking) and it came out delicious.
Goat meat - 2 lbs
Onions - 2 medium
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Curry leaves - 10
Black pepper powder - 1 tsp
For the masala paste
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 5
Cinnamon - 2 inch
Cloves - 4
Star Aniseed - 1
Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Black Pepper corn - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Corriander Powder - 2 tsp
Shallots (small onions) - 6
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Make the above paste and marinate the mutton pieces (cut into medium pieces) in this paste for atleast 30 mins.
Transfer these contents into a pressure cooker along with 2 tsp of oil, a little bit of salt, 1 cup of water and pressure cook for the usual time to cook mutton (depends on the pressure cooker).
Meanwhile puree the tomatoes.
Heat oil in a large wide pan and add the chopped onions, remaining salt (there's salt added in mutton already) and curry leaves and fry until the onions are golden brown.
Now add the tomato puree and fry for a few mins.
Add the cooked mutton mixture and turn on the heat to high and fry until everything is mixed well and reaches a thick gravy consistency.
Finally add the black pepper powder (this is optional) and remove from heat.
Goes well with Idlis, Dosai, Chapathi or Rice.