Sunday, 4 October 2009

Mutton Ularthiyathu (A Kerala Mutton Dry Curry)

Goodness, winter is almost here and I have started shivering already! Yeah, cold weather is a bit too much for me to bear. I really shiver like the way Tom in Tom & Jerry days it has been very windy and chilly as well.....During school days, I remember learning about all four seasons, but being in the gulf Area, I never noticed much of seasonal change apart from the winters and the ‘terribly hot’ summers. Autumn and spring were never felt much until I came to UK, where you notice the weather change due to change in the surroundings. I didn’t know the autumn had started until I saw the leaves of the trees in front of my balcony started getting beautiful red and golden colours and falling off. And the spring at its prettiest, you can see blanket of yellow daffodils all over the place.......but red and few other colours are also seen. They are so beautiful.....You know what, I get to see rainbows a lot these days!!I saw one ground to ground rainbow when I went for a morning walk in a vast, open and empty field....I always feel so exited at the sight of a rainbow. It is amazing......

Now, how I came to try this recipe out......when it comes to cooking, I always have to think sooo much what to cook!!It’s like an international issue for me at times.... Most of the time, it happens that I start thinking the previous day what to cook for next day! Since some of the foods that I make has fermenting and soaking of rice, earlier plan should be made. But I hate it sometimes, because there will be so many ideas and recipes that I end up getting confused and finally I seek my husband’s help asking him what he wants to have the next day...And all I get is his usual answer, “I will have what evvvver you eat”...or... “What’s in your mind, give me options.....” etc...

On one such confused day, I started skimming through my old collections of recipes in a recipe book which has no pictures and came across this recipe. I remember having one mutton Ularthu in of the Keralite restaurants here and had fallen in love with it, and I think that was the first time when I had a dry preparation for mutton. When it comes to cooking mutton, I usually make a gravy dish or end up making Biriyani. Unlike all other recipes that I made, mutton Ularthu had a typical Kerala taste and I just loved it. It was well seasoned and was not overpowering at all. It may be served as a thick curry by adding a bit more water or as a dry dish as I prepared here. We loved it so very much.....My husband being a gravy person told this would go perfectly with porotta! He has an eternal attachment with porotta too....

Mutton Ularthiyathu
Recipe Adapted from :Lalitha Pachakam by Nikhila Govind.
Serves 4

½ kilo mutton cut into 1 ½” – 2” chunks
1 ½ Tbsp ground coriander
½ Tbs Kashmiri Chilli powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
Salt as required
½ cup water
2-3 Tbs coconut oil
2 twigs Curry leaves
220 g (1 ½ cups) chopped onion
6 cloves of garlic grated (2 Tbs firmly packed)
30g / 2” medium thick ginger (1 heaped Tbsp)
¼ cup Sliced coconut (Thengakkothu)
1 dried Red Chilli, chopped
1 medium size tomato

To roast and grind:
1-1 ½ tsp fennel seeds (Perumjeerakam)
2 cloves
2 cardamoms
2-3 small pieces of cinnamon sticks

For final sprinkling:
2 Tbs chopped coriander leaves
1 twig curry leaf
¾ tsp pepper powder
½ tsp spice powder (from the roasted and ground powder)

1.Wash the mutton, marinate with ground coriander, Kashmiri Chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt for half an hour.
2. Heat a pressure cooker, add this marinated mutton along with half a cup of water and cook till done.
3. In another pan, heat oil. Add onions, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, red chilli and sliced coconut and sauté until onions starts turning golden colour.
4. At this stage, add cooked meat along with the water and sauté until it gets thick. Add the chopped tomato and spices leaving ½ tsp behind for final sprinkling and sauté until the curry is quite dry and starts taking a light blackish/dark brown colour.
5. Add pepper powder, chopped coriander, curry leaves and the rest of spice powder and stir well. Close the lid and cook for a couple of minutes until the coriander leaves are wilted and the flavours all are well combined. If it becomes too dry, just sprinkle some water.

Garnish with chopped shallots, sliced coconut and coriander leaves. Can be served as a side dish for rice, chappathi, porotta etc. I prepared this as a side dish for chappathi.
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