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Kerala Dishes, Non-Vegetarian Dishes

Mutton Stew – Among The Lush Green Paddy Fields

Nestled in among the  green carpets of paddy fields, in a village near Palakkad, was the home of my husband’s grandmother. It was the sort of house you would  identify  with ” The House of The Seven Gables”. The rooms were large and our room sort of swallowed me.

The evening meal at 8 was rice and mutton stew. The mutton was soft and the gravy simply wonderful. The taste lingers with me till this day.

I remember that evening  and many memories come flowing back to me. Once the lights were off it was pitch dark , save for the fireflies and the light of the “choot” carried by the occasional wayfarer passing by the the varambu ( the pathway between the fields) some distance away. I could see them vigorously swinging the torch up and down. The wind whistled through the trees and came in to caress us through the large windows.

All these memories are packed into this mutton stew..…..Please enjoy!

Mutton stew is served with rice and chappathis but is best with appam. This curry spiced with cinnamon, cloves and black pepper and stewed in freshly extracted coconut milk is traditional and embedded in the Malayali  psyche.

Serves : 4               Preparation time  : 30 mins               Cooking time : 45 mins


  1. Tender mutton – 500 gms (cleaned and cut into cubes)
  2. Potatoes – 2  cut into cubes
  3. Onions – 3 sliced fine
  4. Garlic – 1/2 pod – grind coarsely with ginger
  5. Ginger – 4 cm
  6. Green chilly – 4 sliced long
  7. Cloves – 5
  8. Cinnamon – 2
  9. Coconut – 1/2 grated
  10. Curry leaves – 1sprig
  11. Oil – 3 tbsp
  12. Salt – To taste
  13. Peppercorns – 5, crushed
  1. Extract coconut milk. We need from the first extraction – one and a half  cups of thick milk, second extraction – two  cups of thin milk.
  2.  Heat oil in a heavy pan, add crushed cloves, cinnamon, pepper and saute.
  3. Add ginger – garlic paste and saute
  4. Add sliced onions, chillies and fry till onions are transparent, add  meat and fry for a few minutes.
  5. Pour the thin milk, add potatoes and salt.
  6. Cook on medium heat for about  30 minutes or until the mutton is well cooked.
  7. In low heat, add thick coconut milk and curry leaves. Stir. Just when it starts to simmer, remove from heat .

Note: The gravy can be made thicker by adding 1 tsp maida or cornflour diluted in 1 tbsp water.

Do you know tapioca made its entry into Kerala in the Late Nineteenth Century from Latin America. It was introduced by the then Maharajah of Travancore  during a period of famine.


About Paddy

When I married and came to Bangalore, it was a real ‘Pensioners’ Paradise.’ The climate was as today’s generation would say – ‘Awesome’. It was cool and pleasant throughout the year. My parents cautioned me to keep warm and have given me the loveliest Kashmir shawls, which I treasure to this day. Since I could not distinguish between rice and dal, cooking was an uphill task. I had a cook from Kerala, but the cold weather did not suit her and in a month’s time, she went back. Looking back, I have come a long way now… Cooking for me has metamorphosed from a daily routine of making edible and nutritious food for my family to an exciting journey of creativity by experimenting with different flavors and ingredients. To me, food is not only for nourishment and sustenance. Its taste and flavors take us back to our good times too. Food is nostalgia and comfort. It brings home our culture. Food is a treat and nourishment for the soul too. I dedicate this blog to my parents, who instilled in me a strong sense of ethics and discipline, and whose affection, love and support gives me strength in this journey of life. I feel the need of today’s generation, who come away from their homes and crave for home cooked food. To you too, I dedicate this blog, where I will share the recipes that I have learnt and grown to love over the years.


2 thoughts on “Mutton Stew – Among The Lush Green Paddy Fields

  1. Dear Vama,

    Devi and I were taking a late night round of the ‘Net’ when she decided to take a look at your blog. The new banner and the Mutton Stew drew me in and made me read it from end to end.

    Your description of night time at Tathamangalam conjured up images of a bygone era. In my own unique way I often wish I was in such a place…and yes, dinner at 8! – that’s the best time to have dinner. Wish I could reach home at 8 these days!.

    Liked the ‘Do you know’ section too. The King was good.

    Have asked Devi to replicate this divine looking mutton stew. Will update you post that,

    Posted by Arun Krishna Pillai | February 13, 2012, 12:31 AM

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