Not all my Sundays start with an all-absorbing non-veg preparation, today did. My mom flutters out of the kitchen trying not to even accidentally step in for the whole day. We exchanged our duties – she agrees to run behind baby D while I manage to prepare lunch for the three of us, the menu being steamed rice, mutton gravy, rasam (for dad) and raita. Screw the three boring r’s, let’s focus on the gravy I’m about to make.
I pressure cook the mutton pieces with very little amount of water (in the same manner we spill few blobs of oil) and salt until they become soft for easy consumption. Meanwhile, I amble along the spice rack, hand pick few cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon, dry roast the beauties to a golden brown shade and grind them until the solids are crushed to their finest texture. I believe the garam infused smoke that emanates from the mixer jar is Annapoorna’s intellectual way of signaling a propitious outcome ahead.
The freshly ground powder is now transferred to a steel bowl. Into the mixer goes the unevenly chopped ginger pieces, peeled garlic cloves and a nice, long green chilli lengthwise slit into four slender pieces. Technically, it’s okay if you skip being this grammatical with all the chopping mannerisms unless you want to go artistic with the intricacies. The amalgam is what truly matters.
Baby D is in safe hands, which means I have the time of my life to even carve a miniature out of the heap of onions I am going to chop. But I also hear my tummy rumble, an alarm that keeps me grounded when I try to experiment anything extraneous. So, here we are, with five onions, two really really huge tomatoes chopped and two green chillis lengthwise slit, all set for a hot oil bath, if you know what I mean.
By this time, the mutton pieces are well cooked to the consistency I expect. Surprise! now the pressure cooker has even more water than I poured in before. I transfer the entire stuff to a huge bowl.
The pressure cooker is now greasy but empty. I add coconut oil liberally (my idea of it is to continue pouring in until your brain signals “Stop, you have poured enough” for the third time) and heat until the boundaries begin to bubble. I throw in a handful of whole spices (cardamom, cloves and cinnamon) soon followed by onions (saute them until they turn glossy), a huge pinch of salt, curry leaves, then the ginger garlic paste, tomatoes and chillies. I continue to cook till the entire mix is mushy and add the freshly ground spice powder along with two big spoonfuls of fennel powder, coriander powder, chilli and turmeric powder.
Once the ingredients are blended to a caramelised fashion, mutton pieces (along with the soupy extras) make a re-entry giving the dish a beautiful brothy outlook. The job is almost done after I add a cup of delicately chopped coriander leaves over the boiling broth and pressure cook for another 20 minutes under low to medium flame.
The stove is switched off. Like the doors of an unseen heaven, the pressure cooker’s lid opens, revealing a piquant, ambrosial, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (this quenches my adjective thirst!), reddish royal brown mutton semi-gravy submerged under a golden oily mask of enticing coriander leaves. The aroma is as good(great) as the looks, which makes me want to fall on my knees yet again but I am not going to, for I don’t want to lose sight of my own masterpiece that’s tantalizing my gustatory receptors..(I hope you’ll excuse me for all the brag words I have splashed on your screen!!!) Bye for now. Plate of joy calling.
PS: Special thanks to Dr.A for the voice assistance. You are my lifesaver!