Sunday, July 08, 2007

Mixed Up Fare

This was a post written with a lot of reservations, hence that title! I thought the picture of the mutton curry looked too red and chunky, the picture of the vegetarian dish too undistinguishable, but put it down to addiction to blogging, and hey presto, it becomes a post, deserving or not!

The vegetarian dish further below was an attempt at cleaning out my pantry – it’s made of whole green gram/moong that is at least two years old. Miraculously, it didn’t attract any life forms so I used it to make something called ‘siriyali’ that I found in a Telugu cookbook written by Ms J. Kanthamani. More about that later, on to the curry.

Nigella is a spice I love and use mostly in Bengali dishes, but over the years, have begun using it in others too. In the mutton curry, I threw in a teaspoon of nigella on an impulse and it made all the difference to this dish which didn’t have curry powder or other whole spices beyond the basic tastemakers.

Here’s the recipe:

Mutton: 250 – 300 gm (less than 1 lb)
Potatoes, chopped: 2 big (about 1 lb)
Onion, chopped: 2
Ginger-garlic paste: 2 tsp/1 tsp of each
Chilli powder: 1 – 1-1/2 tsp / as per taste
Turmeric: 1 tsp
Salt: To taste
Nigella/kalonji: 1 tsp
Oil: 1 tbsp
Water: upto 3 cups

Coriander/cilantro: for garnish

Note: I made this in a pressure cooker, I’ve never cooked mutton/lamb otherwise because I’ve known it to take ages without one.

Heat oil, add nigella.

Now add the onions, fry till pink-brown.

Then add the ginger-garlic paste, fry well, till you notice some oil around the edges of the mixture.

Now add the meat, saute till well browned.

Add the turmeric, salt and chilli powder. Mix thoroughly.

Now add the potatoes. Saute well.

Add water to cover the contents and a little more.

Close the pressure cooker and wait for the steam to build up.

Once it comes out of the vent, close it with the weight.

Let it whistle once, turn down to simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

After the pressure drops on its own, check for doneness. If the meat isn’t soft enough, add some more water and cook for a little longer in the way described above.

Garnish with coriander.

Now on to the other dish. The original recipe called for hulled yellow moong dal so you could use that if you like, but I’ve no idea of how that would turn out.

Here’s how I adapted it:

Whole green gram/moong beans: 300 gm
Tamarind extract, watery: 4-5 tbsp
Urad dal/hulled black gram: 1 tsp
Dry red chillies: 2, broken
Curry leaf: 1 sprig
Chana dal: 1 tsp
Mustard seed: 1 tsp
Oil: 2 tsp
Turmeric: A pinch
Salt: to taste

Soak moong for 2-3 hours, wash well and grind it to a grainy mix.

Steam this in idli plates or in an ordinary vessel for 10-12 minutes. It will set, like a cake.

After it cools, cut it into small pieces, or just crumble it.

In a pan, heat oil, splutter mustard seeds, add black gram, red chillies, chana dal, curry leaf, tamarind extract, turmeric and salt.

Add the crumble/pieces and mix. If you’ve cut it into pieces, don’t mix too much as they can break up.

It’s somewhat like a coarse, green upma, not bad tasting at all! Curds/yoghurt went well with it; so did some lime pickle. Could do for breakfast!


  1. Mutton curry looks yummy Sra... BTW, how big is your pantry? ;) it is still not clean after all these dishes? :D

  2. hey, i wud like to try the moong upma. Q, if u don't mind. how long did u steam it? was the texture porous, after steaming? i've tried something similar earlier & it turned pretty hard after steaming :(

  3. Really...Kalonji/Nigella in Mutton...we never use nigella with mutton/chicken but same goes for PanchPhoron too. BUt I have used PanchPhoron for chicken and the flavor is very nice. Wondering what the nigella would do to mutton

  4. Yes the pics help but when you have a dish like mutton curry, who needs pics? :)

  5. Sig, it's not just the pantry - I have a storeroom too! I'm also not averse to storing food near the dining table and in the crockery cupboard if I have to!
    Richa, I should have mentioned it in the recipe - steam it for about 10 minutes. I've updated it now, thanks.
    Sandeepa, really? I saw nigella in mutton curry in Bhubaneswar a couple of years ago, remembered now!
    Cynthia, so true!

  6. what??? spring is over n now its summer n u r still talking abt ur spring cleaning sessions;) he he...
    loved whole moong bean upma(!!!). i will throw some vegetables and make it whole meal and give some fancy name to it;)

  7. Mutton curry looks great.Somehow I never liked Nigella seeds,specially when you bite one!
    Good to hear two year old dal doesn't have any life forms!!:D

  8. Still cleaning the pantry Sra :)))I liked your description that it did not attract any life forms :)
    But the mung dish looks interesting. Nigella are onion seeds?

  9. Sia, ha ha, that's how great dishes are made! Yes, my pantry chronicles continue, I doubt whether it will every come to a manageable stage!
    Asha, thanks! Yes, the green gram must have been full of pesticide!
    Yep, Archana. Kalonji is the Hindi name. I've heard they are not really onion seeds - meant to look it up and reply to you but forgot, and it's time to sleep now!

  10. Hi SRA! mutton curry looks great. And that moong upma is very new recipe for me. Thanks for sharing dear.

  11. never cooked with nigella.. the curry looks good, red or not.:)

  12. Mutton curry is looking perfect..... Love it..

  13. Jyothi, thanks.
    Mallugirl, yes, it was tasty, but I couldn't bring myself to blow up the picture!
    Sukanya, thanks.

  14. hey Sra, I have tagged you for random MEME in my blog. hope you will be interested.

  15. You have been tagged...check out-

  16. Did the profile pic always have a red bindi ? How come I saw the red bindi only now ?

  17. Sharmi, Sunita, hope to do the meme today.
    Sandeepa, yes, it was always there. That's my self-portrait, bindi, wild hair et al!


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