Unsuccessful Mutton and Spinach Curry

To get this right has been a long standing quest of mine after being unable to reproduce the ones I had in the Indian Restaurants of Shibuya. Previous efforts left spinach and mutton together in an unhappy partnership, I wanted a thick mutton sauce. Desperate, I even troubled His Excellency the GG to corner a waitress if he had the chance. I decided to merge two recipes I found as they both had something I liked.

This one
one was interesting because it uses the meat as a stock. The other was a little more interesting in its choice of spices. Read both, as I’ve made a kind messy montage of both of them. It’s all a bit epic for a mid-week meal.

Meat

600gm mutton -cut into 3cm cubes

1/2 tsp grated ginger;1/2 tsp mashed garlic

Marinate together all three together for twenty minutes and then put in a saucepan and barely cover with water and cook gently for 30 minutes. Drain the meat, reserving the liquid.

Spinach

400gm frozen spinach – Place spinach in a covered saucepan and put on low heat until thawed. Break up and simmer for 2-3 minutes. If the spinach is coarsely chopped, puree in a food processor until reasonably smooth.

The curry

1/4 cup oil ;1 cinnamon stick; 1 bay leaf; 2 cardammom pods; 2 cloves;

1/2 onion chopped;

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder; 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

4tbs butter

Heat the oil in a deep, heavy saucepan with the cinnamon, bay leaf, cardamom and cloves. When the oil is really hot and the cinnamon leaf starts to fry, add the onions.

Fry for 15 minutes over a low to medium heat. Add the cumin and chili and cook a little.

Cook the meat in the butter until seared on the surface. Then add the yoghurt and cook until the yoghurt has been absorbed and the pan is almost dry, about 8 minutes. The yoghurt breaks down and it soon looks like you’re refrying it in butter. I kept stirring frequently to coat the meat.

1 tbsp almond meal ; 1/2 tbsp nutmeg; 1/4 cup cream

Add the spinach, almond meal, nutmeg and about 3/4 cup of the reserved lamb liquid. Cool [sic. I took this as cook] gently for 7-8 minutes, tightly covered. The mix looked exactly right and I was stoked. Stir in the cream and eat [sic. ditto – heat] gently.

Serve with pappadums – I forgot about rice.

Well?

No. The sauce was textured right but the taste was wrong. The mutton was too strong and had the taste of mutton fat – it’s worst feature. This may have been helped by using lamb or substituting the “mutton stock”with just water. Some of the spices could have been increased – especially the chili as it was far too mild.

So – not yet, but I’ll keep at it. Lord Sedgwick?


4 comments

  1. Helen’s avatar

    Maybe fresh spinach rather than frozen might overcome the muttony taste?
    Also, spinach often ain’t spinach. Are you sure what was in the original recipe wasn’t something tangier and more rocket-y, for instance? Spinach is such an amorphous thing which changes from country to country.
    Mmmm, Spinach.

  2. Anthony’s avatar

    Helen

    Sorry, didn’t see you down the end there. It’s a good point about the spinach, I can’t remember why I chose frozen stuff – oh yes Woolies didn’t have any and didn’t know if they’d get any the next day – didn’t get to go to my regular vege market.

    You’re right, spinach ain’t spinach and a spicier number could be worth looking out for – perhaps I should look into growing my own. The herb garden has been a small triumph for me.

    I’m also thinking a few cardammom pods in it. I’ll keep at it – thanks for the advice.

  3. Kalicharan’s avatar

    Try adding fennel (sonph) and cardamom. Sub out to kosher salt or if really desperate to sea salt in place of salt.

    I put anchovies and sea salt when i make palak gosht along with coconut milk but then again i am a surfboy who uses lifebuoy.

  4. Janet’s avatar

    I made this with stewing beef, fresh English spinach, coconut milk and tinned tomatoes, cooked it for hours and the results were melt in the mouth bloody fantastic.
    Mutton is horrible: it has to be cooked for hours and it still has that awful fatty flavour. Lamb should be used if you want it to be from a sheep.

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