This mutton curry dish is an explosion of beautiful spices and flavors. Well, most Indian dishes typically are. Not a fan of mutton? Keep reading. I'll try to discuss this post as a curry in general rather than sticking specific to mutton so you can go ahead and get any meat you prefer in its place.
We'll use a relatively tough stewing cut of meat here not only for the more robust flavor it has, but mainly for the reason that using a more premium cut would be pointless as any cut should end up tender anyway with the long process of cooking. As a bonus, these cuts do come the cheapest.
Start with a basic marinade. I've used a meat masala here with some yogurt as a flavor carrier. This yogurt will also provide some creaminess to the resulting gravy and cool down the spices we'll be using by a bit. Leave the mutton to marinate for at least 4 hours.
Next, make a spice paste. Though ginger and garlic paste can readily be bought in bottles from most specialty Indian food stores, making your own gives you the liberty of getting any other flavor into the paste like I did with the addition of the red onions. You can get chilis in this paste if you want more heat to go into your dish.
Next, roast this spice paste. Those flavors start to develop into deeper more pronounced characters if you get them roasting in a bit of fat.
As soon as most of the moisture from your paste has evaporated, its time to add the dry spices. Build your own concoction, it's how curries are made traditionally. Every Indian cook keeps a well-guarded combination of spices of his own.
Here I've used star anise, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek, black cardamom pods, and cinnamon bark. Roast them until aromatic but keep them from burning and turning bitter as a result.
Next to go into the pan would be the tomatoes and tomato puree if you're using any. Give them some time to roast too. Doing so will tame down the acidity of these tomatoes and get their colors turn into a richer, deeper red.
You've just made your own curry sauce. Now time to add in the meat together with the marinade. If you're allowing this to stew in the same pot over your stove you may need to add some water to make up for the evaporation that'll take place during the long stewing process.
Once your pan has come to a simmer, get all of its contents into your slow cooker where it'll finish cooking. No need for additional liquid as evaporation hardly is a problem with slow cookers. The yogurt from the marinade and natural juices from the mutton and tomatoes should be enough to keep this dish from drying out.
After 6-8 hours on a low heat setting, the mutton should be perfectly tender and the gravy should have come together thick and flavorful.
Add a final seasoning of salt if needed. You may also add more spice with some chopped chilis or some cooling freshness with a few leaves of cilantro or mint.