But her words stayed with me and even though this Thursday my weekly off has been cancelled, I have still sat with my blog, staring at my pending posts and wondering which one to complete. It is Eid today (well, it's already way past midnight) and talking about this Mutton Rezala seems only too fitting. I made this back in May for a few of P's IIT seniors who had come over for lunch. I was catering a 5-course meal to a group of six (excluding us) all by myself and that seemed a gargantuan task. More so, because the joint pains in my left hand had reached its peak and I had to run for physiotherapy everyday. I didn't think I'd be able to manage, but I did. P was an exceptional sous chef though... chopping onions, blitzing cashews, cleaning up utensils after me. With my hand in such terrible shape, he even volunteered to cook the rezala provided I give him the instructions!
We had a gala time that day. The lazy afternoon chat rolled over into the evening and by the time the guests were gone, I had zero energy left in me. I think I fell asleep on the sofa itself! But even then, we don't get a lot of opportunities to call people over because of our completely opposite work hours and working weekends (in my case), and gatherings like this come as a breath of fresh air.
And speaking of gatherings, what better way to jazz up your Eid feast by making this sinfully luscious Mutton Rezala and breaking bread together?
Bong Mom's CookBook
Mutton: 2 kg
Garlic: 15-16 cloves
Ginger, grated: 1.5 tbsp
Yoghurt: 200 ml
Green cardamom: 20
Black cardamom: 5
Mace: 1 tbsp
Black peppercoens: 1 tbsp
For the gravy:
Bay Leaf: 2-3
Whole red chillies: 8-10
Black peppercorn: 1 tbsp
Green cardamom: 8-10
Black cardamom: 2-3
Cloves ~ 8-10
Cinnamon stick ~ 2-3
Onion, thinly sliced: 1
Ginger Paste: 2 tsp
Garlic Paste: 2 tsp
Cashewnuts, soaked in water for 20-30 minutes, then drained and made into a paste: 5-6 tbsp
Kewra Water: 1-2 tsp (depends on the intensity of whatever you're using)
Milk: 200 ml
Yoghurt: 200 ml
Saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp of warm milk: a pinch (I skipped it as I couldn't find my saffron box at the last minute)
Salt: to taste
Sugar: 1 tbsp
Ghee: 2 + 1 tbsp
1. Grind the ingredients listed under spice powder finely. Set aside.
2. Make a puree of the onions, ginger, garlic and yoghurt.
3. Marinade the mutton pieces with the onion-yoghurt blend and spice powder and some salt and allow ro rest overnight.
Bring the marinated mutton to room temperature before you start cooking.
4. In a deep-bottomed pan, heat 2 tbsp of ghee. Add the whole spices (bay leaves, red chillies, peppercorns, cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon).
5. After 30-40 seconds, as the spices release aroma, add the sliced onion and sugar. After another 1 minute, add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry for 2-3 minutes.
6. Now gradually shake of the vestiges of marinade from the mutton pieces and add them to the pan. Reserve the marinade.
7. On medium-high heat, fry the mutton for 15-20 minutes untill it's releases its juices and is somewhat cooked through.
8. Now add the remaining marinade to the pan along with the cashew paste. Stir well to coat all the mutton pieces.
9. Now comes the tedious process of controlling your craving while the mutton is getting cooked. Lower the heat and cook the mutton covered for 60-90 minutes till soft and completely cooked through. As the mutton is cooking, every 10-15 minutes add the milk and yoghurt alternately to deglaze the pan and preventing the mutton from sticking to the bottom. Add salt at this stage and more sugar, if required.
10. Once the mutton is cooked through, remove the lid, add the kewra water, saffron and the remaining 1 tbsp ghee. (Feel free to add as much more ghee as you like!)