Assamese are generally fish loving folk. Give then fish at any point of the day and they will make you hundred different fish curry. But we do eat our meat too and have lots of recipes that involves meat. Among various meats, mutton curry and poultry come hand in hand.
Assamese non-vegetarian dishes are not over spicy and they do not give you the ‘heavy’ feeling after consumption. It is mainly because of the spices we use in our traditional Assamese style mutton curries. The most common spices that are used in an Assamese style mutton curry are ginger, garlic, onion, bay leaves, cumin powder, black pepper, chilies and occasional garam masalas. But according to my mother, she has never eaten a mutton curry with garam masala in her childhood. My mother grew up with her grandmother and our great granny had always followed her own recipe to cook mutton curry. Yes. You have guessed it right. My great grandmother used paanch phoran or Padkaune Masala, panch puran, panch phoran, panch phutana in cooking the mutton curry.
My mother used the kitchen stories of her childhood as fairy tales when we were growing up. And this created an undying craziness to cook the recipes that my mother’s granny. Though I have met her granny but never got the chance to taste anything she cooked. Instead, I have been experimenting with her recipes since I can hold a ladle properly.
Here is the recipe of Assamese style mutton curry straight from my great-grandmother’s kitchen. I have modified according to my convenience. I feared that it won’t turn good but to my happiness, the curry was light, flavored with paanch phoran and just as my mother described. You can follow the step by step recipe to cook the curry and can substitute the paanch phoran with cumin powder+garam masala powder.
Recipe for Assamese Style Mutton Curry
- 1/2 kg mutton, cut in medium size and washed.
- 3 potatoes, cut in four halves.
- 4 onions, cut into thin slices.
- 1-inch ginger.
- 1 cloves of garlic.
- 1 tablespoon of paanch phoran.
- Mustard oil, salt, and turmeric powder, according to taste.
- 3 Green chilies (optional)
- Coriander leaves for garnishing.
- Make a paste of ginger and garlic.
- Roast the paanch phoran and grind them into coarse powder.
- Now heat oil in a wok.
- Temper the oil with a half teaspoon of paanch phoran and add the slices of onion and chilies.
- lower the heat and saute the onions till they turn soft and translucent.
- Now add the mutton, salt, and turmeric and mix well.
- Cover the wok with a lid and let it cook for five minutes over low heat.
- After 5 minutes, remove the lid and add the ginger+garlic paste, potatoes, powdered paanch phoran and mix well.
- Cook the mutton covered for 20 minutes on low heat.
- Once the mutton leaves its rawness, bring the heat to fullest and fry continuously for another 5 minutes.
- Add 2 glasses of water to the fried mutton and let it boil. Cover the wok with the lid and cook for another 15 minutes in low heat. In this step, I generally transfer the mutton+water mix to a pressure cooker to save time. If you want to use the cooker, switch off the heat once it whistles two times.
- Once the mutton is done, mash most of the potatoes with the back of the ladle if you want the gravy thick. I leave the potatoes undisturbed and hence my curry was little runny.
- Garnish the curry with coriander leaves and eat it with rice or roti.