The mutton trip continues. This time to the delicately-infused, silken taste of Mutton Rezala. Now, I am pretty fuzzy about the origin and history of this dish. Absolutely unsure if it has Mughlai or a North Indian roots. Or Bengali. Guessing by the way it is eaten with a lot of gusto by pandal-hopping Bengalis during Durga Puja. That reminds me to check with you if you have sent your entries for Beyond Five Days of Durga Puja?
I did the marinating last night. I had almost forgotten to add the pureed onions and then a few minutes into a Skype chat with Mum to re-check on the recipe and I realized my culinary boo-boo.
Ingredients for Mutton Rezala are:
1 kg goat meat, bone in, cut into two inch pieces, as usual I opted for the shoulder portion of a baby goat
1 large red onion, pureed
1 cup plain yogurt (Balkan style)
5-6 fat cloves of garlic
A thumb-size piece of root ginger
10-12 cashew nuts
1 tablespoon poppy seeds/posto
2+2 green and black cardamoms
1 inch stick of cinnamon
Half teaspoon mace powder
1 tablespoon pepper powder
10-12 whole dry red chilies
3-4 green chilies, slit
2 tablespoons milk (you can use warm water too)
Few strands of saffron
Few drops of kewra
Quarter cup heavy cream
Half teaspoon sugar
Wet grind together ginger, garlic, cashew nuts, poppy seeds, and cardamoms. Marinade the meat with yogurt, pureed onion, all of the wet masala, mace powder, sugar, and salt for about eight hours or overnight.
Heat the ghee – about 2-3 tablespoons in a pressure cooker. Add the stick of cinnamon. Immediately add the pieces of mutton, shaking the marinade off. Mix well. If you are worried that the yogurt from the marinade will curdle on contact with the heat, turn the gas mark to the lowest and gradually crank it up.
Once the pressure has released and the meat has become tender, add the dissolved saffron and few drops of kewra. Cook on high for 5-7 minutes to infuse the flavor of saffron and kewra into the meat.
The flavor of Kewra is the hallmark in Mutton Rezala and it is important you add it. Check the seasoning now and add salt if necessary.
My Mother would have served the Mutton Rezala with some Lachcha Parathas, just like during Durga Puja. But I am the lazy one, I chose to serve it with Naan. And no, I did not make them.