Sharaabi Mutton & Garlic Naan

This mutton curry is comforting and delicious on the cold wintery evenings we see in the north of India and do we really need an excuse to use rum?

:: SHARAABI MUTTON ::

:: Ingredients (Serves 2-4)

  • 1 kg of Mutton with bones
  • 1 Cup Paste of Kashmiri Red Chillies or Mathania Chillies (8-10 Chillies)
  • 1 Ghost Pepper (Bhut Jhalokia / Raja Mircha)
  • 2-4 Spoons of Yogurt
  • 3-4 medium sized Onions thinly sliced
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Ginger & Garlic Paste
  • 2-3 Bay Leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon Red Chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin Powder
  • Pinch of Asafoetida
  • Salt to taste
  • Ghee or Mustard Oil for cooking
  • Fresh Coriander for Garnish

:: Step 1 – Marinating the Mutton

Wash and dry out the mutton and add it to a large bowl. Any marination requires a binding agent which basically binds the meat with the spices. In this case Yogurt is the binding agent.

In a small bowl add the Yogurt, the Ginger & Garlic Paste, Coriander Powder, Red Chilli Powder, Turmeric Powder, Garam Masala, Cumin Powder and Salt and mix it well to form a consistent paste of yogurt and spices.

Next add this paste to the mutton and mix it well. I always use my hands to mix the marinade and take my time to massage the meat. Once the meat looks nicely coated and relaxed set it aside for at least 1/2 hour.

:: Step 2 – Paste of Red Chillies

The most important ingredient of this recipe are the Red Chillies! They provide the heat and the bright red color to the meat. The Kashmiri red chillies do a wonderful job of infusing the dish with their color and sweet peppery flavor. I also add 1 bhut jhalokia (Ghost Pepper) for some ‘real’ heat and smokiness.

Take around 8-10 dried chilli peppers along with the ghost pepper and soak them in warm water for 5-10 minutes or until they become soaked ‘n’ soft and let them cool down.

Once the soaked chillies cool down, grind them into a smooth paste. The hero ingredient is ready!

:: Step 3 – Cooking the Mutton

For cooking mutton, many people prefer doing it in a pressure cooker as it takes longer for the mutton to get tender. However, slow cooking any type of meat, specially with bones, releases more flavor and adds depth to the gravy. On a day to day basis I use the pressure cooker as well to save time.

To the cooking utensil, add and heat ghee or mustard oil. I prefer mustard oil for its after taste and aroma it adds to the meat. Once your oil is ready and smoky, add the Asafoetida, the Bay leaves and the onions. Saute the onions on medium / slow flame till they start turning golden.

To this, now add the marinated mutton and on a high / medium flame mix, stir and saute the mutton continuously for 3-5 minutes for all the marinade masala to cook and release it’s aroma. Reduce the heat and continue the saute process till the mutton gets well seared. I usually give this 5-10 minutes.

Now comes the fun part.. add a big splash of your favorite whiskey or rum.. don’t be shy the more you add the better.. lots of people asked why? here is my reason – one, the alcohol de-glazes the bottom of the vessel and the sticking masala.. two it adds flavor to the meat.. as the alcohol vaporizes, the sugars and the malt will combine with the meat and add a punch to it.. three, the sugars in the alcohol help caramelize.. and four, it sucks out the moisture and helps the bhuno’ing process.. overall alcohol makes meat taste better..

Next add the chilli paste to the mutton and mix well. Keep stirring and sauteing the mutton for 3-5 minutes. In a few minutes as the chilli paste binds with the mutton, it will begin to release its color. The mutton will begin to get richer in saturation. Continue on low / medium flame till the mutton starts to release oil. The oil separating from the masala is usually the sign when the saute is well done!

Now add water (2-4) cups, depending on the thickness of the gravy you prefer. Cover and cook the meat on slow/medium heat till its tender. It would take a good 30-45 minutes for the mutton to be done. If done in a pressure cooker then 4-6 whistles should get it there.

Once done garnish the mutton with fresh coriander. Done! ??

:: GARLIC NAAN ::

In all purpose flour add salt, sugar, active yeast.. using milk, mix n knead into a soft dough.. over do the kneading a bit too.. rest it n let it rise..

Once its risen, divide it into equal sized balls.. n using your fingers n palm.. press down n shape the ball into a naan form..

Sprinkle fine chopped garlic, coriander and kalaunji n give it a soft roll using a rolling pin..

Flip the naan over and with wet hands wipe the face of the naan to make it slightly wet..

On a upside down tawa heated really well.. place the naan wet face down from one end to the other.. pulling it gently as it sticks to the tawa..

Couple of mintues and the base will go brown n crispy and the naan will start to puff up..

When you think the base is ready.. flip the tawa with naan facing the gas directly.. move the tawa across the flame slow and close and the face of the naan brown up n all the good stuff..

It’s done ? brush it with smoked ghee or butter and make some good mutton along.. and ras malai for the end ???