The New Year is almost here. As we careen on towards 2017, let us reminisce a bit on the past year. Because if not now, when right? The year is breathing its last and a new one awaits just around the corner full of hopes, new beginnings, fresh starts and loads of memories. Every year, as we stand at the precipice of the previous one we make a resolution. Some of us, without even giving a thought to why we just blindly go with the flow; much like lamb in a flock. We follow the multitudes that think up something they want to change about their lives, diets, exercise, weight loss, kindness, love-life, marriage, proposals, buying property, promotions, job change and many such resolutions start floating around. As you can see, however varied they are they always revolve around a person’s health, wealth, prosperity and well-being. You’ll set milestones to achieve that help you fulfill your resolution. You start of enthusiastically with a promise not to quit and work your way to the top or completion, part way your will power may start fading but you always boost yourself up. Then comes the next segment: checking on progress. If you see any, it immediately calls for celebration and your morale is high and you’re more determined than ever to push on ahead to the finish line. But if you don’t see any progress, you’re immediately demoralized and spirits are low and will power and the effort is questioned. Emotions are running high and you question your commitment. All of which leads to you giving yourself a treat to raise your spirits.For some of us this is the end of the road and we give up on the race, others the braver ones will trudge a little further before they drop in exhaustion. But the bravest ones will be the conquerors and these conquerors need to be celebrated. So all of this in turn comes back to one thing, Food!
Food is the universal mode of celebrating, we cook it for ourselves as a selfish little treat or we broadcast our joy by sharing it with others too and in some other cases share in someone else’s joy . Food alleviates all suffering, food elevates your joy and food satisfies a hungry belly, which by far is the most important of all the aforementioned things. So let’s all make a resolution (you’re all welcome to make more than one, but this is one we promise to keep till the end) to not waste food, but share our food with the less fortunate and share our joys. Let’s all celebrate together, after all ‘Tis the season!
Now as it’s the season for celebration with friends and family, we tend to go all out with food. There’s variety upon variety to feast on, all of which will be sensational. And with this idea in mind, we thought we too would like to share with your joy this season and add to your tables one of our treasured recipes, one that we hope will leave your taste buds titillating and looking ahead to more.
Remember we spoke about being lamb in a flock? That was your first hint. Today we add to your recipe repertoire a dish cooked with lamb. Let’s cook the lamb so that we don’t have be one that follows a flock! Let’s make our way into the kitchen without further ado.
Before we go into our kitchens to whip up this particular delicacy, let’s talk about one of the things most discussed after the “chicken or egg” theory. What’s the difference between mutton and lamb? Aren’t they both the same thing but called different names in different continents? The answer is, Yes and No! Yes, they’re both sheep (or goat, as may be the case). And no, they’re not the same thing with different names. The difference is in the age. Lamb is a sheep less than a year old, older sheep is called mutton and has a much stronger flavour and tougher meat. The term mutton is almost always used to refer to goat meat in the Indian subcontinent. And if memory serves right, according to an old wives tale goat meat is much healthier and more nutritious than the meat of sheep because goats eat all manner of greens while sheep generally just graze in open fields.
Mutton in India: Mutton and Indian kitchens have a long-standing relationship. In a country with a large population and myriad cultures, this humble meat takes on different flavours and styles of cooking vary from place to place. We have several renditions of the same dish from different states albeit with completely different flavours and tastes though the name might be the same. A classic example is the Biriyani, be it Hyderabadi, Awadhi or Rajasthani each of them add a different ingredient that changes the dish. Another is the Kebab, how many varieties of that do we have, it’s simply innumerable. Some of the famous but unheard of one’s are Laalmaas, Raanghosht, Niharighosht available selectively in the state of their invention. Railway mutton curry is a variation of the dish that originated during the British Raj colonial-era to cater to the travellers on long distance trains. Since Islam prohibits pork and the Hindus don’t eat beef, it was a safe choice of food to be served. But it was mostly found in royal kitchens during the days of yore as mutton was an expensive commodity. And it still remains so, but it’s also cooked in most homes too.
Fun fact: Mutton Chops (pronounced: Muh-tuhn -tchaw-psss) is a prestigious facial hair styling donned by members of middle and upper class adults worldwide. The mutton chops are characterized by long sideburns connected to a moustache section OR a full beard minus the chin part.
Example of mutton chops. In the picture -Melvin “Mutton Chops” McGee, record holder of the most elegant mutton chops in history. Apparently they had record holders for those too!
Spicy Mutton chops
Mutton chops cooked in a delicious yogurt and curry spice masala.
Prep time 4-5 hours
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Serves – 5 people
Ingredients you’ll need
• Lamb chops – 10 Numbers.
For the marinade:
4 tbsps ginger & garlic paste
1½ tbsp raw papaya paste
6 tablespoonsvegetable oil
3 teaspoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons ground coriander
3 teaspoonschilli flakes
2 tsp GaramMasala powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1-2 teaspoons chilli powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt, to taste
1 fresh red chilli, chopped (optional)
A few sprigs of fresh coriander
Wash and clean your mutton chops thoroughly. Pat dry with a clean kitchen towel and set aside.
First, mix the ginger paste, garlic paste and raw papaya paste (or meat tenderiser) and a pinch of salt and massage into the chops. Leave for at least 40 minutes.
For the marinade:
• Combine all the spices, salt and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
• In a large bowl, drizzle the half of the oil over the lamb chops and sprinkle the spice mixture on it. Rub into the lamb chops and repeat on the over side. Massage the spices so as to coat each of the lamb chops. Cover with a cling film. Set aside for 1 hour or maximum overnight.
• When you are ready to cook your chops,place your pan on high heat. Cook your lamb chops for 7-10 minutes per side and allow the chops to rest for 5 minutes before serving.Brush with the remaining oil or melted butter, on both sides when you cook them on the pan. Serve with lime.
• You can pan-fry the lamb chops or you can grill them in a griddle pan or charcoal or in the oven.
Note: You can serve the lamb chops with some cool cucumber and pomegranate raitaona bed of hot steamed rice or with chapattis/rotis/naan bread. Adjust the cooking time according to how you want your meat cooked, for rarer meat just grill them from 4-5 minutes on each side. You might want to spread a sheet of aluminium foil on the pan to avoid a messy pan, makes for less washing up which is always a good thing. Most importantly, a recipe is mostly meant to be just a guide. Do feel free to adjust anything to your taste and tell us about it too. Remember, do not follow like sheep in the flock!
As we sign out, here’s wishing you all a very happy and prosperous New Year with loads of new, joyous memories and experiences with lots of food and love to share.