Curries form an essential part of the Manipuri cuisine. There are varieties of curries or gravies which we love to relish. A Mutton Curry recipe with homemade Manipuri Sha Machal (blended spice mix powder).
Historical evidences of curry take us back to Mesopotamia in the 1700 BC.
The consumption of curry had originated in India which were carried back home and spread in England during the British Raj. The British made them accordingly to suit their tastes. Mention of the word can be found in the very first English cookbook during late 1300s.
Adapted from the Tamil word Kari(curry podi or powder, a blend of different spices) the word curry was then anglicized.
In the Western world curry refers to the powder or delicacies seasoned with curry powder. In India curry refers to a stew or gravy dish which contains Indian spice mix blended along with other ingredients.
A curry can be dry (little amount of water added) or wet. The ingredients varies region or state wise. As such the name curry too is so called depending upon the ingredients and method of cooking used.
Originally Indian curries did not have chilli peppers since chilli peppers weren’t native until they were traded to India and became a vital part of Indian cooking.
Traditionally, the Manipuris are fish lovers. But with changing time and exposure to multi-culture, the Manipuris started exploring and eating poultry and red meat too. Excluding many pure-vegetarians and those who still love eating fish and do not consume meat.
Cooking fish and other non-veg food is done with much care and attention. Use of local herbs and spices are much prevalent. Due to the geographical location and climatic conditions, seasonal produce are used in preparing and cooking these food items.
Nowadays storage of seasonal food items has become easier. One can either sun dry or freeze the seasonal produces.The taste and flavour of the dishes prepared might be different from that of fresh produces yet they taste good.
I get my stock of such perishable food items from home sent by my Ima every year. The food items mostly include sun dried ones which are stored in the freezer or refrigerator until time for the next batch.
Some of these are dried ushoi/bamboo shoot slices, dried awaphadigom/culantro/Mexican coriander, dried heiribob/citrus macroptera, dried maroi nakuppi/garlic chives, dried hawaijar/fermented soybeans etc., to name a few.
Curries as I have mentioned above are an integral part of our meals. Since the staple food is rice, a curry or gravy dish is a must along with other dishes.
Weekend lunch in our house has to have non-vegetarian delicacies, as such it’s either fish, poultry or goat meat which is cooked and served. Yesterday being a Sunday and weekend in India, a goat meat dish was demanded by the family.
With the fresh goat meat bought, I tried cooking and serving a curry which had homemade Sha Machal (ground spice mix for meat) along with other ingredients.
The taste was much better than the dishes cooked with ready to cook blended spice mix since it was freshly ground for immediate use.
Curry has different flavours and comes in a variety of colours. No matter what colour it has or what spices goes in the curry it’s always exotic flavour. The recipe for my authentic meat curry follows below.
500g fresh Mutton/Goat meat, pre-cut into pieces, clean and wash
4 medium size Onion, ground to a smooth paste
3 medium size potatoes, wash, peel and quartered (cut into four large equal cubes)
2 tsp Turmeric powder
2 tsp Red Chilli/ Cayenne Pepper powder
2 Tbsp Yogurt
1 cup (200ml) Mustard Oil
2 Tbsp Sha Machal or Meat Masala (whole-coriander, cumin, fenugreek, green cardamok, cinnamon, clove, black peppercorn, ajwain/carrom, nutmeg, mace, garlic, culantro, citrus macroptera lightly toast for 2-3 mins let cool and ground)
Salt for seasoning
1/2 Tbsp Freshly chopped Awaphadigom/Culantro or Coriander for garnishing
1. Take the meat pieces and potatoes in a large mixing bowl, add yogurt, onion paste, spice powders(turmeric, red chilli pepper, sha machal), salt and oil. Mix with bare hands for atleast 40 mins and set aside for 2 hours.
2. Heat a pressure cooker or pressure pan on medium and add the marinated meat. Stir and cook, bring it to a boil.
3. Cover and pressure cook for two whistles. Then reduce the flame to low and cook for another 10 mins or little more until done.
4. Once the pressure drops, uncover and remove the curry in a serving bowl.
5. Garnish with chopped culantro or coriander and serve hot with some rotis or piping hot plain or pulao/pilaf rice.
Note: I strongly recommend the use fresh meat for a better taste. If using frozen meat then marinate overnight and refrigerate in an air-tight container.
Today’s Mutton or Goat Meat Curry with Manipuri Sha Machal is going to be a part of our 51st #foodiemonday #Bloghop theme #Curries.