Kaala (Black) Mutton

Happy Holi, folks! After a very long hiatus, this blog sees some activity. The much needed inspiration came from a dear friend who was determined to try out my mom’s signature mutton dish – Kaala (Black) Mutton. So we jotted down the recipe for her in staccato ‘whatsapp’ mode, which she faithfully followed and I was fortunate to relish the dish at her place amidst great company on a chilled-out saturday evening. (We also made mom’s stuffed pomfret, btw – which is going to be a separate post!)

This recipe has been handed down in my mom’s family. I recollect my beloved Usha Mavshi, my mom’s late sister, making this – it used to be, quite simply, THE VERY BEST.  Meticulous and the perfectionist that she was, she would line up all the ingredients precisely before embarking on the kaala mutton journey. This post is in the memory of Usha Mavshi.

BTW, making this mutton is indeed a ‘journey’ – elaborate that it is. This friend slogged over it for a good two hours!

Ingredients (for 1 kg mutton):

For the marination:

  • Ginger-garlic-green chillies-coriander-Pudina paste
  • Turmeric – 1 to 2 tspns
  • Curd – 4 tablespoons
  • Salt to taste

For the dry masala:

  • Lavang (cloves) – 10,
  • Dalchini(cinnamon) – 3 to 4 pieces (1 inch size),
  • Whole black peppers – 20
  • Badishep (Aniseed or Saunf)- 1 tspn
  • Velchi / Elaichi (cardamom)- 1or 2 pods
  • Dhaney(coriander seeds) – 2 tbspns
  • Dry red chillies – 7 to 8

For the ‘fresh’ masala:

  • Ginger – 3-4 slices,
  • Garlic pods- 4-5,
  • Onions – finely Sliced (not chopped) – 2
  • Fresh coconut – grated – 1 cup.
  • Dry coconut (copra) – grated – 1 cup
  • khas khas (poppy seeds) – 1 tsp full

Other ingredients:

  • Mutton – 1 kg
  • Onions – finely chopped – 2.5 cups
  • Shah Jeera (Black Cummin) -1/2 (half) tsp
  • Tejpatta (Bay leaf) – 2 or 3
  • Potatoes (Optional) – cut into large pieces
  • Tamarind – size of 1 lemon


Stage 1: Marination

Apply all the ingredients mentioned under marination above to the mutton (cut into pieces). Keep aside for at least an hour, if not more

Stage 2: On the side

Soak the tamarind in water and keep aside

Stage 3: Cooking the mutton

Add 1.5 cups of finely chopped onions to the mutton, add on sufficient water so that the whole mix is just-about submerged and pressure cook

Stage 4: Making the masalas

In very little oil, roast all the ingredients of the dry masala. Keep aside

In same vessel, in a little oil,  add the slices of ginger, garlic pods and sliced onions. After the onion browns, add the fresh grated coconut and roast till it becomes light brown in colour.  Then add the grated dry coconut (copra) and the khas khas and roast till golden brown.

Mix earlier dry masala to this and wait till it all cools down. Then grind it to a paste – not very fine though.

Stage 5: Putting it all together

In a little oil, add the Shah Jeera, Tejpatta and one cup of finely chopped onion and fry till golden brown. Add cubes of potato (optional). Add on a little water n cook till the onions n potatoes are fully cooked. Then add  the cooked mutton and the tamarind pulp (from the soaked tamarind) and boil till the raw smell of tamarind goes away. Then add the ground masala paste, adjust the water to the gravy consistency you like and bring to a boil on a slow flame for 2-3 minutes.

This dish gets its dark colour (hence ‘kaala’ mutton) from the tamarind basically. The older (mature) the tamarind is, the darker the colour)

You can have this mutton with rice or chappatis. Its best to cook the mutton at least a few hours before the meal and leave it aside. It tastes better that way 🙂