Baba’s Sunday mutton curry

Like most Odia households, for us Sundays meant mutton. For my sisters and me, it additionally meant having our father at dwelling for the entire day; devoted authorities servant that he was, we hardly noticed him on different days of the week. As for Ma, it gave her a brief respite from the kitchen. Before we awakened, Baba would have come again from the market with the mutton, and Ma would have began grumbling about its high quality. It was very simple for distributors to dupe him; he would usually be saddled with stale fish, rotting greens and undesirable cuts of meat.

Before leaving for the market, Baba would have soaked just a few garlic cloves in water. After coming again, he would first grind just a few items of turmeric and pink chillies right into a effective paste on the mortar stone. Then it might be the flip of cumin seeds, adopted individually by onions, after which ginger-garlic; and at last, it might be coriander and poppy seeds. Each set of masalas could be floor one after the other and saved apart singly as a ball on a thali.

While grinding the masala, the laborious masculinity of his ordinary presence could be gone; his wrists would have the grace of an Odissi dancer . He would once more appear to me an affectionate man, who used to snort like a child when as a toddler I might cease pretending to sleep and bounce on his again when he got here to our mattress to set the mosquito web late within the night.

But whereas cooking, his face could be grim with focus; most solutions to questions could be within the type of grunts. After washing the potatoes, he would reduce every one into evenly sized items with the pores and skin on. Then in a wok, he would warmth some mustard oil on a medium flame, add the potato items, sprinkle some salt and prepare dinner these until half-done.

Step by step

Baba would hedge his bets relating to the standard of the mutton he had purchased by chopping the cuts into evenly sized chunks round three centimetres lengthy. He would put these items in a giant wok with a litre of sizzling water, salt, floor pepper and turmeric powder and stew for round 90 minutes on a gradual flame with a lid protecting the vessel.

When the mutton acquired tender, he would scoop the items out and hold the inventory with the melted fats apart. We youngsters would then be referred to as to pattern ‘khaasi sijhaa’ — boiled mutton — in three separate small bowls. Each would include three to 4 bits, with the youthful ones getting the juicier, simple to chew parts.

Then Baba would warmth mustard oil in a giant wok. When the oil began smoking, he would throw in some sugar. It would quickly caramelise, the oil turning the color of molten sunsets. Into this river the color of diluted blood, Baba would add a few bay leaves, adopted by a pinch of cumin seeds. Then he would begin including and frying the moist masala in an order paying homage to a army march-past. First, the onion paste would go in, adopted by the bottom turmeric and pink chillies; then the ginger-garlic could be thrown in, adopted by cumin paste, floor coriander and poppy seeds. He would sauté every paste for 4-5 minutes, then add the subsequent one in sequence; no shortcuts for him. By this time, he could be sweating profusely and the masala could be the color of the Amazon in full spate, and odor like a tropical paradise.

Lunch finally

To this sautéd masala, he would add the fried potatoes and prepare dinner on a low flame. By now we youngsters could be hungry and pester him to complete quickly. But he would braise the potatoes within the spices with intermittent stirring for a couple of quarter of an hour, sprinkling water each minute or so, to make sure that the masala didn’t burn or persist with the underside of the wok.

When the potatoes had been nearly achieved, he would add the boiled mutton and proceed to simmer whereas slowly smattering the wok with the mutton inventory. With all of the inventory gone, he would add half a litre of sizzling water and boil the tarakari for a couple of minutes to get a really skinny and watery gravy.

It could be properly after 1 p.m. by the point he was achieved; the regional movie might need began on Doordarshan by the point Baba completed concocting his mutton curry. When he lastly joined us after his post-cooking tub, we youngsters and Ma could be nearly midway by way of the lunch of usuna (parboiled) rice and khaasi maangsa tarakari, as we sat in a half circle in entrance of our black-and-white Konark TV, having fun with the finesse of Baba’s fingers lastly getting the higher of the gaucherie of his eyes.

Sunday Recipe

Khandayat type mutton curry (serves 4)


800g mutton together with parts of the legs, ribs, liver and a few fats

2 medium-sized potatoes

10 tbsp mustard oil

Three medium-sized onions

A 2-inch-long piece of recent uncooked turmeric

15 cloves of garlic

Four massive pink chillies

2 half-inch items of ginger

10 black peppers, dry roasted and floor right into a effective powder

2 dried bay leaves

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp turmeric powder

Three tbsp cumin seads

2 tbsp break up coriander seeds

2 tbsp poppy seeds

Salt to style


1. Grind all of the masalas individually. Stir-fry evenly diced potatoes in two tablespoons of oil with salt until half-done. Boil the mutton with salt, a teaspoon every of pepper and turmeric powder, in a pot with a litre of water, for 80-90 minutes on a low flame, with the lid partially lined.

2. Heat eight tablespoons of oil in a wok. Add sugar to the new oil. After it caramelises, lower the flame and add bay leaves adopted by a pinch of cumin seeds.

3. Add the bottom paste/moist masalas within the particular order supplied, frying every spice/combine for 4-5 minutes: onion; turmeric; pink chillies; ginger-garlic; cumin; coriander; and, poppy seeds.

4. After the masala is completed, add the fried potatoes, combine evenly and stir, sprinkling a few spoons of water intermittently, for 10-15 minutes.

5. Add the boiled mutton items and blend. Add the inventory slowly in half-cup measures over 15 minutes. After the masala is dry, add half a litre of sizzling water to the vessel, and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes.

The author is an writer and researcher primarily based in Bhubaneswar.

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