Ask any Odiya what makes her or him most nostalgic thinking about a lazy Sunday afternoon growing up and they would say the aromatic smell of pot cooked mutton (mansa) curry, the secret recipe handed down from mother to daughter. The sons accompanying their dads and uncles to the butcher (the local mutton vendor) arguing over the cuts and to add some liver and to hold the fat
Times have changed, places have changed and we have traded a lot to be what we are today and yet something’s never change. Like the aroma of the foods that our mother so lovingly cooked the cricket matches that went on forever and the love that warmed the hearts. This recipe originally comes from the kitchens of the Nawabs that once occupied Kalinga and perhaps this is one of their better remembered legacies.Unlike the mutton curry from the rest of India, this specialty requires the overnight marinade of the cuts and then the slow cooking of the mutton (traditionally this was done in earthen pots over wood fired cow dung plastered home made ovens in the backyard where it would not touch the vegetables in the Handishala (kitchen). With no earthen pots I have had to rather reluctantly use the non stick cookware to cook the mutton to its succulent best by preserving the traditional spices that give it the nostalgic remembrance.I have also tired to make a small variation by holding off the water to make the gravy more thick to be in times with the modern day food styles. Another important variation is not using the fat of the mutton to cook it as well one has to watch one’s heart over one’s tongue.
I recently came across a wonderful article in the reader digest that marinating meat not only enhance the taste but also helps in lowering the unhealthy cholesterol compounds that form during cooking.
Serve hot with plain rice or Jeera rice and khajuri khatta. It is delectable.
The quickest way is to use pressure cooker and adding raw grated papaya to the marination. It is meat tenderizer.