The inspiration to cook comes from many sources; for me, one vein of motivation is the aroma of what’s cooking in my neighbour’s kitchen.
My adjacent neighbours and us, we share a wall in the work area. In fact, it’s the only common wall between the flats in the building. The work area is a multi-utility space, a partitioned extension of the kitchen where the washing machine is kept; where the brooms and buckets are stored and most importantly where the dish washing happens. I like this space, despite of the dreary nature of it’s occupants. It’s a small square room; the wall attached with the sink has two big windows that occupy almost half the wall, flooding the room with plenty of light in the mornings and providing a nice view while tackling the pile of dirty dishes.
The view outside the window is a small stretch of the manicured lawn we have around the apartment, well tended by two gardeners, beyond which lies the boundary wall of the apartment. On the other side of the wall is a government run primary school. The school has been shut for the past year due to the pandemic.
It’s past four in the evening and after my afternoon siesta and evening tea, am in the work area to wash the lunch dishes and prep for dinner. And that’s the time when the cook arrives at my neighbour’s flat👩🏻🍳. I can hear the pots and pans clanging in my neighbour’s kitchen. And while I wash the dishes, the aroma of the food cooking in my neighbour’s kitchen wafts in😋. Sometimes it’s vermicelli being sauteed in ghee (semiya payasam !?); besan (gram flour) being fried in oil (pakoras !?); garlic being roasted; the hiss of the pressure cooker, the hissing sound is followed by the aroma of meat and spices, it has to be mutton🍖. It smells nice😘. Craving mutton ⁉️
Cooking meat seems like a lot of work, as meat curries need a lot of spices to make them flavourful and it seems daunting; it needn’t be. There are one pot dishes that save the day and satisfy the craving. Here is an easy mutton curry; a one pot dish. No roasting of spices or marinating of the meat and hence can be made on the go; the meat is cooked to tender perfection and the gravy is rich and tasty !! The pot you need is a pressure cooker.
Ingredients: (Serves 3)
 Mutton – small bone in and boneless pieces (500g)
 Coconut oil – 2 tbsp
 Bay leaf – 1 no
 Cloves – 5 nos
 Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
 Cardamon – 3 nos
 Black pepper whole – 5 nos
For the gravy:
 Onion – 1 meduim size, finely chopped
 Shallots – 20 nos, peeled and chopped finely
 Ginger – 1 inch, made into a paste
 Garlic – 7 nos, made into a paste
 Green chilies – 2 medium size or 3 small nos. as in the pic above (reduce if you don’t like the heat), made into a paste
 Tomato – 1 medium size, chopped
 Curry leaves – 2 sprigs (keep some for garnish)
 Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
 Black pepper powder – 1/4 tsp
 Kashmiri red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
 Coriander powder – 1 tsp
 Garam masala powder – 1/4 tsp
 Salt to taste
 Water – 1 cup, boiling
 Place the lower half of the pressure cooker on low flame and pour the oil and add the whole spices.
 Add the onions, the shallots and the ginger, garlic and green chilli paste; keep stirring for 5 minutes, till the onions become translucent. (Since it’s a steel vessel, stirring ensures that the contents do not stick to the bottom of the pressure cooker and burn)
 Add the mutton pieces and let it sear for 5 minutes, until the meat changes colour.
 Add the spice powders and salt and mix well.
 Add the boiling water and the tomato and curry leaves; stir well and close the pressure cooker lid (The mutton too will release some water while cooking, so adding more water will make the gravy too thin)
 Keep the closed pressure cooker on medium flame till you hear the first whistle; then lower the flame to a low and wait for three more whistles.
 After four whistles, switch off the flame and let the steam inside the pressure cooker dissipate out by itself. Once the steam is gone; open the lid and the mutton curry is done !!
 Add a few curry leaves as garnish and enjoy the mutton curry hot with rice or chappati😋
Try it out !!
Till next post, take care !!