I had tasted Achari Chicken a few years ago when we were all at my bosses house in Pune and one of my buddies who is a trained chef made Achari chicken and roti’s for us in a flash ! It tasted so divine!
When I was to fly to India for an unexpected development when my ma-in-law’s health suddenly went downhill and she was due for an open heart surgery on the 7th of Nov, I had to do something to lift hubby’s spirits and comfort food had to be manufactured. A good afternoon nap after a reasonably heavy meal of mutton curry and rice sounded like just the thing.
Fresh Mutton was procured but I didn’t have any puree’s to marinate them in and then a brainwave happened ! I got out my most treasured bottle of mango pickle made by my sister’s mum in law who is an expert with pickles and makes a minimum of 10 varieties every summer, these are then packed and sent all over the world !!
I really didn’t want to use up all the pickle but for a kilo of mutton I just had to , ah well small scarifies for the larger good I say 🙂
Marination Time :overnight + 30 minutes , more if freezing overnight
Cooking Time: 1.5 hours on hob and 30 minutes in pressure cooker
- 1 kilo mutton curry pieces
- 1/2 bottle of mango pickle – about 250 gm of pickle
- 2 heaped tablespoons of freshly ground ginger garlic paste
- 1/2 tub of yogurt – 200gm
- 2 medium sized tomatoes
- 3 small red onions
- 4 heaped teaspoons red chilli powder
- 3 heaped teaspoons turmeric powder
- a pinch of asafoetida
- 2 bay leaves
- a small stick of cinnamon
- 4 heaped teaspoons coriander and cumin mix powder
- 3 and 1/2 tablespoon oil
- 4 boiled eggs peeled and sliced into halves.
For the Chilli Marinade:
- 3 green chillies
- Juices of 1 lime
- 1 large tablespoon oil
- 1 heaped teaspoon red chilli powder
- Wash the mutton pieces thoroughly and then pour the pickle over them and add the ginger garlic paste and mix well such that each piece coats well in the pickle.
- Ideally I would marinate this mutton overnight to really let these flavours seep deep into the fibers of the meat,also as as mutton curry takes longer to cook than lamb it is necessary to ensure that for full maturity of flavours to develop marination must be for over 5 hours.
- Cover the meat with a plastic cling film and leave in the refrigerator overnight, do not freeze unless the temperature outside is over 35 deg Celsius as at that temperature if the cooling in the fridge is not good the meat may go bad. If freezing the mutton allow at least 4 hours to totally defrost by first moving from freezer to fridge and then keeping it outside.
- Pour the yogurt over the marinated meat and mix well,leave aside for 20 minutes
- Just when you are ready to cook the mutton peel and roughly chop red onions into chunks and also made big pieces of the tomatoes and puree them in the food processor.
- In a large vessel heat the oil and add a pinch of asafoetida, sautee the bay leaves and the cinnamon stick for about 30 seconds on a medium flame.
- Then add the red onion and tomato puree , sautee in the oil ,stirring well and let it simmer on a low flame with 1 cup of water.
- Add red chilli powder,turmeric powder, coriander and cumin mix powder.
- Let this cook for about 10 -12 minutes.
- Now add the marinated mutton and add enough water to make a good amount of gravy , if you are going to use the pressure cooker then add a little extra.
- Cook on a medium flame for about 1 and a half hour , in a pressure cook give it 8 whistles.
- Mutton pieces have a lot of fat attached on the sides which also adds to the oil used for cooking hence I have used less oil.I am unable to eat the overtly oily curry which leave a huge layer of oil on the top if allowed to stand.
- Now for the spicy dip, slit the green or red chillies lengthwise and dip into the oil and red chilli powder mix and add the juice of one lime.
- When the curry is cooked serve hot on a bed of steaming hot rice with half a boiled egg.For extra flavour bite into the fiery red chilli with the lime-chilli mix.It’s not for the faint hearted though, but if you really do manage to relish the aftertaste of hot chilli you can safely say that you can now eat any fiery dish without breaking a sweat or getting the runs, a sort of baptism by fire food ritual!! One only for only for the brave souls!This powerful blast of heat on the tongue will see your forehead dotted with beads of sweat.Truly a labour of love.
The resulting mutton curry is rich in flavour and served hot with fluffy Jeera rice it is such a satisfying and comforting meal. But the best bit is when you leave the balance of this curry overnight , the next day the taste is so much better I’d almost choose left over curry over the fresh 😉
Highly recommend serving this curry with a cooling curd side dish – half a cup of yogurt mixed with with sliced red onions and cucumbers ,seasoned with a pinch of salt , half a spoon of sugar and 1 heaped teaspoon of toasted cumin powder ,garnished with some freshly chopped coriander leaves.I’d wash down the meal with butter milk or a good glass or two of a full bodied red wine .