Kerala Mutton Curry with Veggie Rice



Last Sunday my kitchen visited God's Own Country - Kerala. A beautiful state on the southernmost tip of India - Coconut trees dotting the shoreline, large expanse of green paddy fields and the serene backwaters. Kerala is so similar to my hometown, Goa that though I have never been there I feel connected to this place.

Goa is mainly famous for its beaches but we do have our small share of inland waterways. My ancestral home is situated on a small landmass which is separated from the mainland by a small inland rivulet creating our very own backwaters. My Mama's (mom's brother) house has the most awesome view as the backyard opens right onto the backwaters. You could just paddle your own small wooden boat to the mainland whenever needed. The place does have a bridge and ferry boats for more reliable means of transport.


With so many coconut trees around, coconut of course dominates the food scene too. Goans liberally use grated coconut in all their recipes. While coconut oil and milk is used more extensively in Keralite cooking. We usually use coconut milk in desserts and coconut oil for specially flavored dishes. But grated coconut finds its way in every meal as a garnish over dals, in veggie stir fries, as the main masala base ground with spices for meat and seafood curries.

The flavors of virgin coconut oil and curry leaves creates a unique taste profile. This is an easy, delicious, aromatic recipe adapted from Maria's Menu. I reduced the heat with fewer red chilies and cooked with partly sunflower oil and partly virgin coconut oil. 

Kerala Mutton Curry

Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs Mutton / goat meat on bones, cut into medium size pieces
To roast and grind:
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Coconut
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 Dried red chilies
  • 4-5 peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon Fennel seeds
  • 3 Cloves
  • 1 one inch piece of Cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup sliced onion
  • a sprig of Curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower Oil
For masala base:
  • 1 large red Onion - finely sliced
  • 2 large cloves garlic -grated
  • 1/2 inch ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon deghi mirch powder /paprika
  • 1 Tomato, sliced
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower Oil 
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
To temper with:
  • 1/3 cup sliced onion
  • few Curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
  • Chopped coriander leaves for garnish

Directions:
  1. Heat oil to medium in a saucepan and gently roast all spices first - whole coriander seeds, dry red chilies, whole black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and fennel seeds till a nice aroma emanates from them.
  2. Now add the sliced onions and curry leaves and saute till the onions turn slightly brown.
  3. Then add the coconut and continue sauteing till the coconut turns golden brown. Remove and cool the mixture. Blend it with some water into a smooth paste.
  4. Heat a mix of vegetable oil and coconut oil in a pressure cooker to medium heat.
  5. Add sliced onions and saute till they brown.
  6. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for a few minutes more.
  7. Add the chili powder, tomato, salt and cook till the tomato pulps. 
  8. Drop in the mutton pieces and coat in the spice mixture well.
  9. Add 2 cups of water and pressure cook till the mutton is done. If using a saucepan continue cooking till the meat is tender.
  10. Now add the masala paste to the cooked mutton and cook on low flame for 5-10 minutes.
  11. Prepare the tempering by heating coconut oil in a small pan and add the sliced onions and curry leaves. Fry the onions till golden brown. 
  12. Pour this on the prepared mutton curry and garnish with coriander leaves.
  13. Serve Kerala Mutton Curry hot with Kerala style Veggie rice for a richly flavored aromatic meal.




Kerala Style Veg Rice


Ingredients:
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4-5 peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
  • sprig of curry leaves
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrots

Directions:
  1. Wash the basmati rice and soak for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Heat virgin coconut oil to medium heat.
  3. Temper with whole spices like cloves, cinnamon, star anise and peppercorns. 
  4. Once they get aromatic, add in the curry leaves, chopped carrots and peas and saute.
  5. Drain the water and add in the rice.
  6. Lastly add the raisins, salt and water.
  7. Let the water come to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot and cook till all water is absorbed and the rice is cooked.

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