Gosht (Meat) Tawa Masala
Sunday Mutton, the traditional Bengali mutton curry cooked with medium sized potatoes, is definitely the most favourite preparation in our family. Usually savoured with plain rice it is truly the highlight of our lazy Sunday afternoons. But wait, though mutton curry and rice are of course, the central characters but there must be side actors like a ‘teto’ (something bitter), a ‘bhaja’ (something fried), a ‘torkari’ (curry) before finally, signing off with ‘misti’ (dessert). In short it involves lot of cooking and the idea of lounging around the entire day vanishes in a puff of smoke.
When it comes to mutton tawa masala it is truly the preferred dish for a lazy weekend, an answer to our heart-felt longing for a mutton dish but without going into the hassles of preparing an elaborate fare for the day.
Usually, for mutton curry, first the mutton pieces are sauteed with onion, garlic and spices and then cooked under pressure. Whereas, in tawa masala, it is just the opposite – first the mutton is cooked under pressure and then stir fried with the spices. It goes best with paratha, naan, chapati or plain roti (Indian flat bread).
Mutton / Lamb (portions from leg or shoulder) – 500 gm
Cinnamon – 1 stick
Green Cardamom – 4 pieces
Black Cardamom – 1 to 2 piece(s)
Bay leaf – 1 piece
Black peppercorns – 8 to 10
Turmeric powder – 1 tablespoon
Chilli powder – 1 tablespoon
Coriander powder – 1 tablespoon
Cumin powder – 1 tablespoon
Onion – 3 big size, julienned
Tomato – 3, chopped
Ginger – a one inch long piece
Garlic (whole) – 6 to 8 cloves
Green chilli – 3 to 4
Lemon – half, freshly squeezed
Coriander leaves – chopped
Sugar – 1 tablespoon
Salt – according to taste
Mustard Oil / White Oil / Ghee – 3 tablespoon
In a pressure cooker put the mutton pieces. Add half of all the whole spices (bayleaf, cinnamon, green and black cardamoms, peppercorn). Add turmeric powder, few green chillies, an inch of ginger and 3 to 4 pieces of garlic. Add salt, sugar and about 750 ml of water. Now, pressure cook it till the mutton pieces are well done.
Heat 3 tablespoon of oil in a separate pan (tawa). I prefer to use mustard oil and ghee in equal proportion but, it is up to you to decide which kind of oil you prefer for the dish.
Add the remaining whole spices once the oil is slightly hot. Stir for a minute or so and add the julienned onions. Fry the onion till it turns golden brown and emanates a sweet smell. Please be careful otherwise you end up burning it.
Add tomatoes and saute for about 5 minutes. Add all the powdered spices and saute for another 5 minutes. Don’t let it go too dry otherwise, the masala may burn and leave a bitter taste; keep sprinkling some water as and when needed (or may quickly add couple of more tomatoes).
Transfer the cooked mutton pieces (without the gravy), one by one, from the pressure cooker to the frying pan. Stir to coat the meat pieces well with the spices in the pan. Since you had already added salt while boiling the mutton, you may not need to add anymore.
Fry the whole thing in the tawa for about 10 to 15 minutes, keep on adding the gravy (from pressure cooker to the frying pan) using a ladle from time to time. Don’t add the entire gravy at once otherwise it will stop the frying process. Rather, add it in instalments so that it will keep on maintaining the necessary moisture and adding all the flavours to the dish. The gravy must not be runny rather thick and the mutton pieces should be well coated with the masala.
Finally, transfer it from the frying pan to a serving dish, sprinkle some freshly ground pepper, garnish with chopped coriander leaves and add the juice of half a lemon. It is ready to be served.