mutton without onion and garlic

 On those days when the Mother thinks she knows better than me about our family history, I correct her mercilessly, and she backs out, but not before making a snide comment. Of course, this can go on for hours, but then, I go inside the kitchen, all the while thinking about the food I ate when I was growing up, and the memories attached to it. One of the recipes which I made recently came from my Grandmother, who knew my aversion towards fennel in meat, and cooked something she had learned from her grandmother. This particular meat dish.

niramish mutton

If you search online about recipes of meat without onion and garlic, you would probably find a few. I did. But, the recipes mostly call for many spices, and I am not a fan of those. The idea of not adding onion or garlic to meat came from the times when we would cook meat for the Goddess Kali, or for Lord Vishwakarma, who loved eating meat, and animals were regularly sacrificed and eaten. The idea of sacrifice in Hindu mythology and religion goes back a long way – from the sacred Ashwamedha Yagna (Where Ram killed and ate the horse after it had helped him conquer quite a few states), to the regular sacrifice of goats and other animals today in quite a few temples, Hinduism has used sacrifice to appease the God, and eaten the resultant produce, obviously (I am hoping this did not happen in the case of human sacrifice, but there are way too many stories of the thuggies of the 18th century smearing blood over their faces before going out for a raid for me to make any clear statement either for/against it). The idea is to provide an offering to the Gods, and consume the results after the sacrifice. Therefore, after the killing, the meat would be divided, with the head kept in front of the God as an offering, and the remaining meat cleaned, cut and cooked. As a child, once, I had made friends with one such sacrificial lamb, and well, lets not talk about that thing any more.

marinating mutton with ginger

Anyway, this ‘niramish mutton’ recipe is a very easy and simple one, and needs minimum embellishment. The star is the meat (as usual), which benefits from being marinated for at least 5-6 hours. I generally take a kilo of meat, and apply 250 ml. plain yoghurt, a tablespoon of kashmiri chilli powder (use 2 teaspoons of regular chilli powder if that’s not available, or hot paprika), and a tablespoon of ginger paste. Cover and set aside. I prefer marinating it the night before, so that the meat can soak in the flavors for at least 12 hours.

tempering mustard oil

Heat a big, heavy-bottomed vessel, and add about 100 ml. mustard oil in it. Make sure the oil is hot and nearing the smoking point before adding 5 dry red chillies, a couple of 1″ sticks of cinnamon, 2-3 bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, and a large pinch of asafoetida (Hing). Hing is optional, but it adds a lovely depth to the meat, so I would suggest not skipping it. Stir about for a few seconds before adding the meat to the oil. It shall splutter, so be careful!

frying mutton in oil

Cook over medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring briskly, till the meat is no longer looking raw and icky. At this point, add 2 teaspoons of garam masala powder. I make my own by grinding together about 10 grams each of cinnamon, big black cardamoms, peppercorns, cloves, small green cardamom, nutmeg, and mace. I pass it through the sieve once so that no icky odds and ends are sticking out, and then add the amount required. This garam masala is superb with meat dishes, and I have also flavored other things with it, so its a keeper! Also, add 1 teaspoon coriander powder, and 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder. Cook till the mutton is reddish brown in color – it will take a bit of time, but worth it. Stir every minute or so, and you can add a splash or two of water if you think the meat is drying up too much.

mutton in pressure cooker

Once the meat looks mostly dry, and oil starts separating from the meat, add salt and sugar. I add a teaspoon of each to start with, and then add more at the serving point if it is needed. Generally, it isn’t. Add a cup of hot water, and then cover and cook till the meat is soft, about 1 hour. Alternatively, put the meat in a pressure cooker with a cup of water, and pressure cook till it is soft (takes 10 minutes after the full pressure is reached. Just drop the pressure and cook, simmered, for 10 minutes, and then turn off the heat, letting the pressure cool down naturally). After the meat is done, add a tablespoon of cashew paste, adjust seasoning, and its done!

quick and easy mutton recipe

I have seen that this recipe of mutton without onion and garlic tastes best with hot, steamed rice, or piping hot rotis. I have also served this with sweet pulao and it was a hit. If you like, to make this more interesting, you can also add some saffron strands soaked in milk right before removing the meat from the fire. It tastes even better on the next day, and you would love the combination of soft meat and a rich, thick gravy, perfect for indulging in!

indian mutton recipe

Written by Poorna Banerjee


  1. Mahesh 2017-08-12 at 11:42 am Reply

    Very tempting
    Would love to try this

    • Poorna Banerjee 2017-08-16 at 1:54 pm Reply

      If you do, please let me know how it turned out.

  2. Raj 2016-01-16 at 6:54 am Reply

    Very nice recipe. Will definitely try this.

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