A traditional Mutton Handi cooked in rich spices
Marinade the meat in the marinade ingredients, overnight is best otherwise 2 hours. Remember to soak the nuts when your marinade the meat!
In a frypan, heat 2 tablespoon of oil. Add marinated meat and fry until mutton pieces are brown. Remove and set aside. This step is just to give meat a deep golden-brown color and lock the marinade flavors in the meat; mutton won’t be cooked thoroughly.
Blend onions with water in a smooth paste and give the paste a good boil. Once it boils, strain the water completely from the onion and a smooth onion paste is ready. This step gives the masala a smooth, creamy texture.
Soak tomatoes in boiling water for 5 minutes, the skin will peel off easily. Blend the tomatoes into a fine puree. Set aside.
Grind the nuts (almonds, cashew and coconut) into a coarse paste. Use as little water as possible and keep it aside. Nuts will add richness to the masala.
In a handi (clay pot) or regular pot, add a quarter cup of oil and add all the whole spices (bay leaves, cloves, black cumin, black cardamom, cinnamon). Once they sizzle add the onion puree.
Let the onions cook until they turn light brown. This step is important and would take 8 – 10 minutes.
Add ginger-garlic paste, chopped green chili and sauté until the rawness of ginger garlic ends – say half a minute.
Add fried meat from before. Mix the meat into the onion’s masala, sautee for one minute.
Add salt, red chili powder, turmeric, roasted cumin and coriander powder. Sautee the spices nicely, so the raw flavors of the spices diminishes. Be careful that spices don’t burn. Cook the masala on medium flame. Add a dash of water if needed.
Add the pureed tomato paste and let the meat and masala cook. Bhounfy the masala well (ek jan ho jaye masala) and cook until oil separates.
Once, the masala is nicely cooked (bhoun jaye) add water or stock (as required) to cook the meat. Let the meat simmer on medium flame until it is tender. A smooth, dense gravy will be formed.
When the meat is fully cooked add the nuts paste for richness.
Lastly add the freshly crushed black pepper and fenugreek leaves (slightly crushing with the hands) and cream. Mix and let it simmer for another 5 – 10 minutes on low flame.
Right before serving, prepare a tarka of garam masala powder. Heat one tablespoon of butter or ghee. As the butter melts add garam masala powder, when it sizzles pour it on the mutton handi. Slight mix and let it cook on dam for 5 minutes. Garnish. Serve.