Red onion is great. If you minus the lingering onion-breath and the tears it makes you shed when peeling and cutting. Growing up in Patna, every year the price of red onion would sky rocket during winters.
We are an onion-loving family! We love onions in everything. Raw, cooked, crisp-fried, or dunked in hearty stews. Onion inflation was a sore point in my Mum’s kitchen, like any middleclass housewife on budget cooking. Its another story though that that budget included gourmet meals pretty much every day.
In spite of her I-am-the-Tiger-Mom approach towards onions, we would still find slices of them in our salad or a good amount of it in her Mutton Do Pyaza. I still wonder why she even bothered with that onion embargo, with that feeble willpower when it came to serving onions to her family.
I don’t have my Mother’s Mutton Do Pyaza recipe today.
But what I do have is a simple, full of character goat meat dish. My Father-in-law’s actually. Its not one of those flashy recipes, where you can’t lay your hands on half the ingredients mentioned. It is basic, hearty and once you can crack it, you will be the most clever cook in town. And I am talking to kitchen virgins here who think cooking mutton is the most difficult thing.
To make good mutton, that fall-off-the-bones kind is the best thing I have learned in (slow) cooking. So here it is, Baba’s Baghdadi Mutton. Any relation with Iraq and this dish is highly doubtful. Just enjoy the name and the recipe.
500 grams goat meat, bone in, cut into two inch pieces (no lean meat please, get meat with good marbling. I usually get the shoulder portion of a baby goat)
1 very large red onion, slivered thinly
300 grams plain yogurt
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 heaped tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
7-8 whole dry red chillies (I usually add about 20 since my husband and I have a high heat quotient, so adjust the heat accordingly, play safe if kids are eating)
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable or canola oil
For starters, get a large bowl, and marinate together the mutton, sliced red onions, yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, black pepper and the dry red chillies. Keep refrigerated overnight or on the counter for at least 5-6 hours.
Warm (not heat) oil in a thick pan, use the pressure (cooker) pan if you want to. Add the marinated mutton and coat well with the oil. Cover and cook, mixing and moving the mutton and spices for the next 40-50 minutes on low-medium heat.
You will see the mutton release its natural fat and juices as it comes close to being completely cooked. Add salt and a little water if needed. Move it around well. Do a taste test and remove from heat.
This is probably the quickest and easiest mutton dishes I have made. But no less tasty for that. Very few ingredients, simple flavours and takes you to a different direction of cooking mutton – with so little oil! Go try.