Irachi (mutton) Olathiyethu

This is one of my all time favorite recipes and a dish that is oft demanded by friends and family. The biggest task here is getting the perfect quality of mutton and that is a non negotiable.

I first had this preparation while in college in a small shop in Cochin. The fact that I was studying in a hostel can bring in misgivings about my 'taste' in food because everything was bound to look and taste delicious. But years of adopting different techniques to get the perfect blend of masalas has taught me that the taste on this dish 'about the right timing and technique'...

Let's go ahead and start the prep and let me caution you this dish takes a while to get done. The recipe has three parts to it.

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Sindu Aven's Secret Indian Recipe !
Serves: 
6

Preparation Time: 
2 hours
Cooking Time: 
1.5 hours

Complexity: 
Medium


Ingredients: 
Part I - Getting the Mutton right!
Mutton - 1 kg (Medium sized pieces)
Red chilli powder - 2 tsps
Corriander powder - 3 tsps
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Garlic and Ginger paste - 2 tablespoons
Salt to taste
Part II - Getting all the frying done
Shallots (Sambhar onions) - 3/4 kg (cleaned)
Garlic - 30 pods
Ginger - 2 inches
Curry leaves - 4 sprigs
Coconut oil - 1/2 a tea cup
Part III - The Top Up Masala
Pepper - 2 tablespoons
Saunff (fennel seeds) - 2 tablespoons
Cardamom - 6
Cloves - 4
Cinnamon - 2 inches
Directions: 
Part I
Wash the mutton and based on the mutton quality decide whether you need to pressure cook it or leave it to cook in an earthen pot. I prefer to use the best mutton and cook in an earthen pot.
Dry roast the corriander powder on a low flame till the aroma comes out. Add the chilli powder and stir. Switch off and add the roasted powders to the mutton.
Also add the turmeric powder, garlic and ginger paste and the salt. You may add half a tea cup of water at max.
Leave the mutton to cook. Please note that the mutton should not get over cooked at all! Also when the mutton is done ensure there is no stock.
While the mutton is getting done let us start with part II.
Chop the shallots and garlic into thin slices.
Slice the ginger thin into 1 inch jullienes.
Use an urali (wide vessel) if you have one or a really large sauce pan.
Pour in the coconut oil and let it heat well. Keep the flame on medium high.
Put the onions in first, when they turn transparent add the garlic and the ginger. This will take a while to turn golden brown.Remember to keep stirring. (Tip - add 2 pinches of salt to keep the onions from going soft towards the end of the frying process).
Meanwhile, using a small pan, toss all the ingredients of Part 3 on a low flame till the aroma comes out. Cool this and dry grind into a powder. May not turn out as an absolutely fine powder - but that's all right.
By now, the onion, ginger and garlic mixture would be golden brown.
Turn the flame up higher and add the mutton and mix well. Leave it on for 5 -8 minutes and let the oil and masala seep in. (Caution - you may need to keep stirring to avoid the mutton and masala mixture from sticking to the urali / pan).
Once the mutton is mixed well, add the ground masala mixture and stir well. Leave on for another 5 minutes and let the masala blend well. Remember to keep stirring.
Add the curry leaves and cover the dish stand at low heat for another five minutes.
While serving, it would be great to line your serving bowl with a banana leaf (if you have access :)
Footnotes: 
This is best had with Kerala red (matta) rice, rasam and a dry crisp potato masala fry!