Mom was here a couple of months ago and I got an opportunity to learn all of her famous Hyderabadi dishes once again since I always tend to forget either a technique or a spice that lend their wonderful flavors and make dish what it is. The cuisine accentuate the right use of spices, meat and ingredients and I want to give full justice to it. I’ve always thought making those traditional curries I have grown up eating are a lengthy process. I don’t even cook half of them because I am such an impulsive cook by nature which is why you wouldn’t find me intricately designing my pies or decorating a cake with so much patience in my kitchen. Mom persuaded me otherwise with her appetizing curries, especially this Hyderabadi Mutton Korma in rich yogurt sauce.
It has been about a decade since I have visited Hyderabad, mom’s birthplace and where we spent a glorious part of our childhood. All this while I missed out on stuffing my face with creamy haleem or get my hands on greasy roadside kebabs or eat as many Satyanarayan coin shaped “pedas” to my heart’s content. I haven’t been able to gather all my family and cousins for a breakfast of “aam ras” and a dinner of Biryani with “mirchi ka salan” followed by late night conversations that stretched until next morning.
When we shifted to Bombay, Mutton Korma appeared for Sunday lunches with aromatic basmati rice but in Hyderabad it was always a weekly affair. No one ever got tired of it. It was one dish ladies in our house resorted to when they’d tire of racking their brains of developing a menu for the day. Mutton Korma was undoubtedly everyone’s choice.
Its unfortunate we don’t get poppy seeds in UAE but mom replaced that with white sesame seeds and it was close to perfection. Enriched with aromatic spices, meat is slow-cooked in rich onion-yogurt sauce to reach the tender texture to fall apart off the bones. This Mutton Korma recipe I learned from mom is an example of life’s simple pleasures, with amazing flavors. You just need a whole bunch of family around a dinner table to revisit those memories as you bite into a delicious curry.
Serve it with long grained rice and raita. It really doesn’t need anything else.
- Mutton - 500 gms
- Yogurt - 1/2 cup
- Onions - 2 peeled and sliced
- Green chillies - 2 slit in halves
- Cinnamon sticks - 2
- Black cardamom - 1
- Green cardamom - 4
- Vegetable Oil - 4 tbsp + 1/2 cup for frying onions
- Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup chopped
- Ginger and garlic paste - 2 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Whole dry red chilli - 3 to 4
- Sesame seeds - 1 tsp
- Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
- Peanuts - 1 tbsp
- Garlic - 5 to 6
- Dry coconut - 2 tbsp chopped
Wash and pat dry mutton.
Fry onions in about 1/2 cup oil and fry the onions until they turn crisp. Remove on the paper towel and let cool.
Dry roast all the ingredients under "grind together" separately for a couple minutes and grind them all into a paste, adding little water if required.
In a heavy bottom cooking vessel, heat oil and add cinnamon and cardamoms. Fry until fragrant.
Add ginger-garlic paste and the ground paste. Fry for a few minutes, approx 4 to 5 minutes till it starts to change the color and oil leave from the sides.
Add green chillies, mutton and salt. Saute for a few minutes more.
Stir in the yogurt and add about 2-3 cups of water. Crush fried onions and add to the pot. Cook with the lid closed on a medium heat for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Check for mutton tenderness and cook for a few minutes more, if needed.
Garnish with coriander and serve hot with rice.