What is Mutton Kolhapuri?

Kolhapuri lamb is typically seasoned with garam masala, a spice blend that includes ground coriander seeds.

Mutton Kolhapuri is a dish from the Kolhapur region of India. Traditionally, it is made from lamb, tomato, a mixture of many roasted spices and a large amount of chili pepper. The amount of spicy heat in the classic preparation of Mutton Kolhapuri can be overwhelming for some who eat it, although home cooks can easily adjust seasonings to reduce the amount of heat. The cooking process is quite simple, involving a marinade for the meat and slow cooking until all the ingredients are together and the lamb is tender. To reduce the time needed to finish the dish, it is not uncommon to carry out the final step of cooking the Kolhapuri lamb in a pressure cooker.

Cardamom is a typical ingredient in traditional garam masala spice mixes used to season lamb kolhapuri.

The main condiment in Kolhapuri mutton, in addition to the mutton itself, is the mixture of various spices. This can often be referred to as a garam masala, which literally means “a hot mixture”. The types of spices added are just as important as the technique used to create the masala. Spices are often roasted in a dry skillet – still whole, if possible – to release their oils and become aromatic, concentrating their flavors. The roasted spices are then ground in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder until powdered, although some versions add a little vinegar or coconut milk to make a paste.

Mutton kolhapuri is often served with creamy yogurt to spice up the flavor of the dish.

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Kolhapuri lamb garam masala contains a base of peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, star anise, and green and black cardamom seeds. A bay leaf, cinnamon, fennel seeds, poppy seeds and dried coconut can also be added. Finally, hot or dried red peppers are added to the masala. Some recipes call for 20 or more chili peppers to be added to the dish, while others use just a handful, although the actual amount may be based on the cook’s taste. All seasonings are dry roasted in a pan and then ground into a powder, sometimes with a little coconut milk added at the end.

A paste is made from garlic, ginger and coriander leaves and the lamb is covered with it and left to marinate for an hour or more. Once this is done, a little oil is heated in a pan and the onions are fried until translucent, after which the lamb is added and browned. The seasoning mixture is poured into the pan with the chopped tomatoes, providing the liquid that will be used to finish the dish. The pot is covered and allowed to boil until the sauce has reduced and the lamb is cooked through. Ready-made Mutton Kolhapuri can be served with rice, Indian bread or yogurt, especially if the heat level of the meal is too high.

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