Mutton fry is a spicy dish that originated around the Kerala region in India. It is made mainly of cubes of mutton that have been marinated or boiled in spices and then later fried in a mixture of onions, tomatoes and more roasted spices until done. Many recipes call for the use of a pressure cooker in the initial stages, speeding up the cooking of the mutton. The final dish has a rich, savory and moist flavor punctuated by the heat of the chilies. Mutton fry can be served on its own, although it is more commonly found served with rice, green salad and yogurt.
The meat in mutton fry is cooked in two different stages. The first stage involves cooking the meat with only a few spices in some water. This can be done in a regular pot or in a pressure cooker that will accelerate the cooking time and keep more of the liquid in the pan. Mutton often needs to be cooked slowly for a long period of time, so this first step ensures that it will be moist when done.
The second part of cooking mutton fry involves frying the mutton with the bulk of the spices from the recipe. This adds a large amount of flavor and develops a texture on the surface of the meat. Some preparations add some of the water from the first step to the frying pan, allowing it to reduce and further concentrate the flavors of the spices.
The water in which the meat is initially boiled is flavored with a garlic and ginger paste made by chopping the two ingredients together until they form a single mash that is refrigerated for a time before being used. Red chili peppers also are added to provide heat, along with salt and curry leaves. Some recipes actually include a very large amount of curry leaves, making it one of the main flavors in the mutton fry.
A frying pan is prepared as the meat finishes boiling. Spices such as coriander, turmeric, paprika and chili powder are added to the pan and fried along with diced onion. Chopped tomatoes also can be added to help form a thick paste. The boiled meat is added and fried until it has taken on the flavors of the spices and the sauce has reduced and become a thick coating on the meat. At this point, the mutton fry is done.
Spicy mutton fry is usually served over white rice, with the rice sometimes being made with the flavored water from the first stage of cooking. Indian bread or green salad also can be used to cut through the spice and dense meaty flavors. A bowl of yogurt can help to mitigate the spice, as well, especially if a large number of chili peppers were used.