Mutton in Bengali & Indian Cooking: Things to Know

Mutton is mostly a Sunday special at many Bengali households. Every Sunday, the aromatic whiff coming out of the kitchen and carrying the flavours of spices that go into marination and slow-cooking take us back to our childhood years.

Back then, I had no idea why they took so much time to marinate mutton. Those days, mutton dish was not only a recipe but a Sunday ritual.

Use of Mutton in Bengali and Indian Cuisines

Cooking Mutton

Mutton is very popular among the meat crazies in Bengal and across India.

The insane greed for mutton dishes is not limited to only Muslims; Hindus and other communities cook and enjoy the goat meat with equal élan.

There are a variety of mutton dishes across India’s culinary landscape. Each region has one or more signature mutton dishes.

For example, kanchi panthar jhol is a famous Bengali cuisine whereas rogan josh is very popular in Kashmir’s culinary scenario.

In addition, there are other varieties of mutton recipes such as, kebabs, rolls, chop, rezala and last but not the least, how one can forget aromatic Hyderabad-i and Awadhi mutton biryani.

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How to Master the Art of Cooking Mutton?

There are several steps to master the art of cooking mutton. Remember the following points:

  • Firstly, you need to know the pieces most suitable for different mutton dishes. The part of mutton that goes into making of biryani is not used to cook botis or kebabs.
  • Secondly, you need to marinate mutton with proper ingredients. Raw papaya is a very good natural tenderiser. You should also leave mutton marinated for several hours, preferably overnight in your fridge. Mutton is hard and therefore, if not marinated, will be rubbery, difficult to chew and digest.
  • Slow cooking is a time-consuming process but it brings the best out of any mutton recipe. It makes the mutton pieces softer and juicier.
  • It is important to make sure that mutton is not undercooked or overcooked.

How to Make Mutton Taste Good?

Fresh mutton

Mutton has a very strong flavour. The art of cooking mutton is to cook the smell out of the meat. To do so, remove the thin layer of pink coating the meat and cut off the excessive fat.

Another way to reduce or eliminate the strong flavour and enhance the taste is to add garlic, mint, wine, olive, thyme, rosemary, pepper, curry powder and dry mustard.

Do You Need to Marinate Mutton before Cooking?

It’s very important to marinate mutton before cooking. Mutton has a hard and elastic texture. If not marinated, it will be difficult to chew and digest the meat.

Proper marination makes mutton tender, succulent and delicious.

Remember to sauté the mutton in a pan for a while before adding tomatoes or lemon; otherwise, mutton will get hard.

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You should use yogurt or raw papaya (a very strong natural tenderiser) when marinating mutton as these make meat softer.

How Long Does Mutton Take to Cook?

It depends on how you are cooking mutton. If you are cooking it on a standard stovetop, it will take 2 hours to cook.

It takes 6-8 hours if cooked in a slow cooker on low and 4 hours if cooked in a slow cooker on high.

However, if you are using a pressure cooker, it will take just 40 minutes to cook mutton. Slow cooking definitely makes any mutton dish much tastier.

However, to save time without compromising the ‘TASTE’ factor, you can slow cook mutton and then transfer it to a pressure cooker.

Which Mutton is Good for Biryani?

The right ‘cuts’ of mutton is as important as the right mix of spices for biryani. Right meat, right cut and right spice combo are three most important tips to make perfect biryani.

There are 12 basic cuts of mutton in India. To make good biryani, a good chef always uses meat from shoulders, chest and forelimbs.

Why Mutton Gets Elastic after Cooking?

Mutton is elastic before and after cooking. However, after cooking, mutton gets softer and the changed texture makes it easier for us to chew the meat.

Mutton is high on protein. Cooking any protein-containing foods leads to ‘disruption (denaturing) of protein chains. As a result, the food becomes tender for easy chewing and digestion.

Goat meat available in the subcontinent has a higher percentage of connective tissues that convert to gelatin when getting cooked. It also lends the kind of texture already explained.

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Which Part of Mutton is Best?

It depends on the kind of dish you are preparing. Cutlets/chops are most expensive but amazingly tender and most delicious.

Shoulder is flavourful and tasty. Other succulent parts of mutton are rump, loin chop, leg, shank and neck.

Questions & Answers:

How to Quickly Tenderize Mutton?

Use raw papaya to tenderize mutton more quickly. Some also put cuts across the pieces or beat them flat for softening. The process of cooking also matters a lot. Slow cooking makes meat tender.

How Do You Know When Mutton Is Cooked?

Mutton gets soft when it is cooked well. Check the mutton before plating it out. Take a piece of mutton on a plate and try to cut it with a spoon. If the flesh comes out easily, mutton is cooked.

How Do You Recook Undercooked Mutton?

Undercooked meat is very unhealthy. But the good news is, it is easier to fix. You just need to cook undercooked mutton a little more. Cut the meat into smaller pieces to save on cooking time.

What Is Boti in Mutton?

Mutton boti fry is prepared with mutton intestines and gizzards. After properly cleansing, the boti is boiled and fried in different spices.

Which Mutton Cut is Best for Curry?

The most tender and delicious cuts always come from small goats weighing only 6-9 kgs. Shoulder, bone marrow (nalli), leg (raan) and rump (puth) etc are considered the choicest parts for mutton curry.

For How Long Do You Marinate Mutton?

You should marinate mutton for at least 8 hours. It’s best to leave marinated mutton overnight in a fridge and take it out 2-3 hours before cooking.

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