As much as I like delicate flavours I ache for the occasional sensory overload that comes with pickles. I appreciate every kind of pickle – bread & butter to mustard oil flavoured Punjabi achaar. At any given time, my kitchen is stocked with at least seven types of pickles – both homemade and store bought.
Roots of my affinity to pickles lie in my late grandma’s kitchen. Every summer we spent a few days preparing various pickles. My favourite of course was the sweet spicy chundaa that I ate with theplas. (No, I’m not Gujarati but a Mangalorean who grew up around people from various communities in Chembur and South Bombay)
My mom heard about mutton pickle from her colleague and make a quick note of it. The following Sunday I was off to the market to buy 2kgs of mutton. It took almost two hours of kitchen time but the end result was simply divine. Instead of cooking the meat in a pan, we used a pressure cooker to save time. The spice base was a paste of onions, ginger, garlic, red chilli powder, jeera and vinegar. Best part about this recipe was you can adjust the heat and sour lever as per your liking.
2.5 kg boneless mutton chopped in very small cubes
1 top haldi powder
10 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp coriander seeds
Red chilli powder (to taste)
Salt to taste
Vinegar to taste
5 tbsp vegetable oil
In a pressure cooker, add the Mutton cubes with a splash of water, haldi and salt. Pressure cook it till the meat is cooked. When cooked, drain the water and keep meat aside.
Grind onions, ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander to a very fine paste.
In a large kadhai, heat some vegetable oil (you can use olive or mustard oil if you like) and fry the paste for 20 minutes on a low heat. This slow method of cooking will bring out the best flavours. Add chilli powder and salt (remember that we added salt to the mutton already) and keep cooking till it becomes a deep, rich masala.
Add mutton pieces and keep cooking for 10 more minutes. Make sure the pickle doesn’t look watery.
Right at the end, add vinegar to taste, give it one final mix and let it cool completely. Transfer it to a jar and keep it in room temperature for 24 hours and then store it in the refrigerator. If stored properly it should stay for a month but I’m sure you won’t let it stay that long. It’s addictive.