Bengali Goat/Mutton Curry
Goat meat is a must have on every Sunday in a Bengali Household. My marriage into a Bengali family introduced me into this tradition too. Prior to it, I only preferred sea food and chicken. Red meat was too strong in flavors and too chewy for me to enjoy. But I have learnt that if cooked right, it develops rich flavors and can be melt in your mouth consistency.
Goat meat also referred to as mutton is a leanest form of all the red meat. Even then it can take hours to cook. In India, we usually marinate the meat for an hour or 2 with meat tenderizers like yogurt or raw papaya paste. The mixture is then cooked in a pressure cooker to fasten the cooking. But slow cooked red meat tasted the best. The most sought after piece of the goat is the leg. This meat is supposed to taste the best. The hollow bones are also a delicacy as fights break out in a family as to who gets to suck up the bone marrow. My daughter being the only kid get this privilege without having to put up any fight.
2 pounds mutton leg chopped into small pieces
1-2 medium sized potatoes cut into 4 equal pieces
1-2 tbsp of mustard oil
1 onion chopped
4-5 black peppercorns
1 bay leaves
3-4 whole green cardamoms
½ inch long cinnamon stick
1 tsp of sugar
1 tsp garam masala
Chopped cilantro to garnish
To marinate the mutton
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 inch thick ginger
1 small onion
1 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red pepper powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 ½ tsp salt or to taste
4 heaped tbsp of yogurt
Grind garlic, ginger and the onion together in a mixer to make a smooth paste.
Wash and clean the mutton. Add to it the ingredients for the marinade and the onion garlic ginger paste made. Let it rest for about 1-2 hours. The longer you can marinate it, the tender the meat would get and better flavors develop.
Heat the mustard oil in a pressure cooker till it starts smoking and then reduce heat. This is an important step while cooking with mustard oil. If it isn't heated till smoking, the bitter flavors can ruin the taste of the dish.
Add the potatoes with little turmeric and sauté for 2 mins till they are golden. Keep them aside.
Temper the same oil with the black pepper, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cloves, and cardamom. Also add sugar to it. The caramelized sugar gives a nice color to the gravy and also imparts mild sweetness of the spicy gravy.
Add the chopped onions and fry for about 5 minutes till then have browned slightly.
Now stir in the marinated mutton and sauté on high for 2 mins. Add in the sautéed potatoes.
Add about 2 cups water or just enough to submerge the mutton.
Close the lid and cook according to your pressure cooker instructions. I have a Future cooker. I need to cook it on high till it builds up the steam. Then I lower the heat to the lowest temperature and cook for about 15-20 mins.
Let the cooker cooled down by itself and release all the steam.
Serve hot with white basmati rice, garnished with freshly chopped coriander leaves and sliced onion and lime wedges.