It’s taken me two years and ten months, but I think I’m ready to start cooking mappila food in my kitchen in Bangalore now. For the past two years, I’ve subsisted on a diet of soup, noodles, pasta and a god-awful number of eggs, but all of a sudden I find that I’m ready for the flavours that I grew up eating — spicy curries and coconut everything.
I’m taking baby steps, and so far, I can confidently make a prawn moilee, koi porche, or a fiery chicken fry, and stew. The Mappila stew is different from the ishtu that everyone associates with Kerala — the one with coconut milk. Although my general rule in life is when in doubt, add coconut milk, in this particular case, I’d say go without. There is a time and place for ishtu, but on most days, I like my stew light, fragrant and herby with a generous handful of coriander, and a hit of lime juice.
Mappila Mutton Stew
1/2 kg mutton, cubed
3 large onions sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
5-6 green chillies, sliced
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 inch ginger, crushed
1 tbsp ghee
A handful coriander leaves chopped
1 tsp Tellicherry black pepper, powdered
Salt to taste
Squeeze of lime juice
Heat a pressure cooker on low flame, and add the ghee to it.
Now add the onions and sauté until transparent.
Add green chillies and ginger and continue sautéing for 2-3 minutes.
Add the mutton and a dash of salt and mix well.
Pour 3/4 cup of the hot water and place the lid with the whistle on. After one whistle (about a minute), reduce the heat and let it cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid carefully, and gently mash the onions with the back of a ladle, add the potatoes, rest of the water and close the pressure cooker once again for two whistles.
Take off the lid and, if you like the stew to be a little thicker, let it cook for a few minutes with the lid off.
Now add the Tellicherry black pepper, adjust seasoning, and garnish with coriander.
Squeeze a little lime over it and serve hot.