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Curried Mutton with Green Chilli and Almonds

by Allegra McEvedy, Paul Merrett from Economy Gastronomy

This simple curry recipe flavoured with hot green chilli and sweet and nutty almonds is the perfect way to enjoy mutton. Serve with basmati rice and naan.

From the book

Allegra McEvedy, Paul Merrett


I love a good curry. No, actually it goes beyond love! Every so often I yearn for spicy food. Luckily this country boasts many fine Indian restaurants, but eating out is a relatively expensive business, so most of my curries are home-made. The temptation is to pick up the phone and order a takeaway, but that still costs money. The answer, of course, is to cook your own.

This is a simple, tasty beginner’s curry, with relatively few ingredients – all of them easily obtainable. I have chosen to use mutton because it’s a meat often used in Asian restaurants. Mutton is lamb that is older than a year. Because it’s slightly older, it is a little tougher and, therefore, requires slightly longer cooking. The payoff is in the flavour.

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1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
6 cloves
6 cardamom pods
2 or 3 green chillies, very finely sliced
5cm piece of cinnamon stick
500g shoulder of mutton, cut into 5cm cubes
180g natural yoghurt
½ lime
3 tbsp coconut milk
For the spice and almond mix:
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 dsp ground almonds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chilli powder
a pinch of black pepper

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You will need a pot with a lid for this recipe, as the idea is to trap the steam and moisture created by the ingredients instead of adding lots of liquid. So, heat the pot up on the stove and add vegetable oil. Fry the onion, garlic and grated ginger for about 5 minutes, until they soften and colour very slightly.

Put the ingredients for the spice and almond mix in a bowl. Add the cloves, cardamoms, green chillies and cinnamon to the onions and allow to fry for a few seconds. Next add the spice and almond mix and stir in. Add the meat and mix it in well.

Pour in the yoghurt and, over a low heat, gently bring the curry to a simmer. At this point the pot’s contents will look quite dry, but steam will soon be created as it simmers with a lid on. If at all worried, now would be a good moment to add a little water – say, 3 tablespoons. Cook the curry slowly for about 1–2 hours, or until the mutton is really tender. Once it’s cooked, check for seasoning and finish the dish by adding a squeeze of lime juice and the coconut milk. Serve with basmati rice.

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