Mutton Sukkha and the joys of simple cooking.

Many a time we tend to complicate the simple. Like I was in my attempts to write this post. This post is about a dish so simple, I doubt it would make it to the blog, leave alone a restaurant like they say on Masterchef. Let me tell you what happened.

I cooked a very simple mutton sukkha dish some time back. The idea was to cook ourselves a light meal and that is it. So, we got some meat and and i decided to cook it in sukkha style. Now, to be fair; this is not an original sukkha recipe. Of course, I have Mangalorean blood in my veins and a sukkha recipe is sacrosanct. The fact is that there are different variations of sukkha among the different communities in Mangalore and this one a honestly, a little bit of this and some bit of that. Coming back to the dish, I couldnt be more proud of what i cooked that evening. Many many years later, if you ask me to recount my top 5 dishes, I’d reckon this would be among the top two. Such simple, rustic and homely flavours. ‘Simple is beautiful‘ couldn’t be truer.

Once the dish was made, I tried writing a post for it. but couldn’t. Somehow, I couldn’t relate the post and the blog. And as I was thinking how to resolve this, I received a longish watsapp which went like this. “Have you ever noticed how despite having coffee at the most premium places, you enjoy your cup of cutting chai with your friends at the college canteen. You probably move around and rub shoulders with the who is who of your field; but you feel warm in the embrace of  your loved one”……. So you see that is what simplicity does to you. It makes you warm withing your soul, takes you back to where you belong. A place you call your own.

I really dont want to complicate things much by rhapsodizing about simplicity. I would rather leave you to enjoy the recipe.

Mutton Sukkha

Mutton Sukkha

Ingredients

  • 500 grams, mutton on the bone
  • 100 ml coconut oil (please don’t use any other oil)
  • 15-20 curry leaves
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 10 pods garlic pods, crushed
  • 1/2 inch ginger, crushed
  • 2-3 green chillies, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3-4 tablespoons  of crushed pepper
  • 150 grams of grated coconut
  • salt to taste
  • coriander leaves and juice of lime for garnish

Procedure:

  • Wash the mutton and keep aside.
  • In a deep bottomed pan, heat the oil and add the curry leaves.
  • Once the curry leaves start spluttering, add the cumin and onion and fry till the onion is light brown.
  • Add the garlic, ginger and green chillies and fry till garlic is reddish brown.
  • Now add the mutton and fry well in the oil. The oil must coat the mutton well. Cover and cook for a while till mutton is almost done. This should take about 20 odd minutes depending on the quality of the mutton.
  • Add the salt.
  • Lastly, add the coconut, pepper and mix well so that the mutton and pepper integrate well.
  • Garnish with lime juice and corriander and serve with rotis or neer dosas
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Chicken Tikka Masala!

If I ask you to describe your favorite gravy, what would you say? Creamy, rich, flavoured with just the right amount of spices and yes, succulent meat or vegetable chunks. Today’s  dish is just that. The British claim that they’ve invented it, while we Indians claim to have invented it way back in the Mughal era; and in this “us” versus “them” debate, the fact remains tha tchicken tikka masala is to Indian cuisine just what fish & chips are to British cuisine.
Historically, legend has it that Butter Chicken and the Chicken Tikka Masala was prepared from the unwanted remains of the chicken like the neck, wings etc left over by the Nawabs. The cooks would then gather the pieces and cook then in a tomato gravy flavored with spices. Needless to say, the dish has been through many modifications and variations down the ages and the version we have today is made popular by a restaurant called “Delhi Darbar”. The actual flavor of the dish comes from the grilled chicken pieces. The other secret is the rich sauce made from tomatoes. One look at the texture and presentation may make you feel that it’s complicated to make but believe me, get everything ready and making this will be just a breeze. The original recipe doesn’t call for capsicums; however, I added a small one just to add some crunch to otherwise smooth gravy.
To be honest, doesn’t matter where or how the dish was invented; simply enjoy the sumptuous Chicken Tikka Masala.
Chicken TIkka

 

Chicken Tikka Masala

  • 450 grams  Chicken tikka (Refer note 1 below)
  • 5-6 tablespoons Oil or ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 table spoon cumin seeds
  • Assortment of whole spices (2 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, 1 inch cinnamon stick, 1 small bay leaf)
  • 2 medium onions—finely chopped
  • 3 large tomatoes—finely chopped
  • 500 grams good quality curd—beaten well
  • 1 small capsicum cubed
  • 1 ½ tablespoon ginger—garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric  powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder (all spice powder)
  • 5 tablespoons  Cashew Paste (refer note 2 below)
  • Juice of half lime (small)
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped coriander—for garnishing

Procedure

  • In a heavy bottomed pan heat oil, and add in the whole spices and the cumin seeds.  Sauté spices till you have a fragrant aroma from them. Once the spices are done, add the chopped onions and cook till the onions are entirely caramelized (brown).
  • Now add the ginger garlic paste and cook well.
  • Add in the chopped tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are pulpy. This is a very crucial step since if the tomatoes are not well cooked; the gravy will separate and ruin the dish.
  • Once the tomatoes cook, add in all the spice powders (coriander, red chili, turmeric & the garam masala powder) and mix well.
  • Once the spices have integrated well with the rest of the mixture, add in the cashew nut paste and sauté till the oil leaves the sides and the mixture has thickened a bit.
  • Add the pieces of chicken tikka and mix well so that the pieces are covered well with the gravy and the flavours permeate into the pieces. Add a little water to the gravy to adjust to your consistency. Add salt, curd and cover and cook for about 7–10 minutes.
  • Add the chopped capsicum, coriander and the lime juice and mix well.
  • Serve hot with steamed rice or parathas.

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Important notes:

 Note 1

  • To make the chicken tikka
  1. Pre heat oven to 100 C for about 15 mins
  2. Clean and wash the cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces and marinate them with curd, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and garam masala powder for half an hour.
  3. Keep the chicken pieces on a grill and bake them in the oven at 175 C for 10 minutes.

Note 2

  • To make the cashew paste
  1. Soak about 20 cashews in warm water for 30 minutes
  2. Grind to a fine paste in a mixer.

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