Easy Mutton Curry (Mutton Dak Bungalow)
This easy Mutton Curry is inspired by the traditional Mutton Dak Bungalow recipe. The key to this recipe is it is simple, with very few basic ingredients and wholesome yet absolutely finger-licking tasty. Even though this recipe is an adaptation of the original, but this adaptation works like a charm for me every time without fail, keeping the soul intact of the authentic recipe.
Dak Bungalows were Government Buildings under British India or Raj. The government originally built these bungalows to carry out the tradition of Roadside Inn or Guest Houses for travelers precisely for the Government Officials. The Dak (Post) officials used to rest on their journey to the destinations. In the latter days, these structures became more like Guest Houses for the Government Officials where with a minimal charge they could stay. These Bungalows usually had Darwan (caretaker) and sometimes Khansamah (Attendant) to take care of the facilities. The house steward namely “Khansamah” who used to watch these Dak Bungalows often cook for the visitors of these Banglows. That is how the name of this dish came into existence. You can get a feel for these Dak Bungalows from this site.
My dad is a retired government official. So we often stayed in these kinds of guest houses in my childhood whenever we had the opportunity. I remember traveling many times with groups of friends and families during our summer vacation every year and lodging in those Bungalows. At present many of these Bungalows are heritage homes and have excellent facilities that offer various cuisine to enjoy. But back in the days as these Bungalows were located in different regions often the cooking was influenced by the locals. So there isn’t one authentic Dak Bungalow recipe but many.
The recipe I will share today is an improvisation of the original. It is said that the ingredients are simple, and in most likelihood, the preparation was not made ahead of time. But I do marinate my meat for faster cook time and convenience. This recipe traditionally includes Hard Boiled Eggs and Potato to make it a wholesome dish. In the North-Eastern part of India, we have a lot of Tea Gardens and this recipe uses some black tea as well, which is one local variation.
The color of this curry is quite rich even though it has very few ingredients. The reason for the rich red color is adding some sugar in the oil during tampering. The caramelized sugar adds the color. I have not used tomatoes but yogurt for marination. I do often use a meat tenderizer to cook red meats faster but that is completely optional. You can add the hard-boiled eggs directly in the curry but I prefer to add some color, so mix some turmeric and salt and lightly brown them in oil for 1 min. This is another optional step. The original version is cooked in a deep vessel and slow-cooked for a long time till the meat is tender. The potatoes are cut in halves and kept as the same size as the meat and eggs so they all can cook together slowly and absorb the flavor.
1 hr, 15 Prep Time
45 minCook Time
2 hrTotal Time
- 2 lb Mutton with bones
- 2 tbsp Plain Yogurt
- 1/2 Cup Onion Paste
- 2 tsp Garlic Paste
- 1 tsp Ginger Paste
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 2 tsp Salt (as per taste)
- 1 tbsp Mustard Oil
- 1/2 tsp Meat Tenderizer (Optional)
- 2 tbsp Mustard Oil
- 1 tbsp Whole Garam Masala (2-3 Cloves, 1-2 Cinnamon Sticks,2-3 Cardamom)
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2-3 Whole Red Chillies
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 Cup Chopped Onion
- 1 Cup Black Tea
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
- 2 Medium Size Potatoes
- 4 Hard Boiled Eggs
- Add all ingredients for marinate and let it sit for an hour or two.
- Boil and peel eggs, and set aside
- If you want to brown the eggs, add 1/4 tsp turmeric and pinch of salt and brown in oil for a min.
- Peel and cut Potatoes in halves
- Soak a black tea bag in 1 cup of hot water
- Heat 2 tbsp mustard oil in a heavy bottom pan. We can also use Instant Pot in 'Saute' mode.
- Add whole garam masala and whole red chilies
- Add sugar, let it melt
- Add the chopped onion and fry till brown
- Add the marinated meat
- Saute the meat till oil separates from the sides
- Add Garam Masala , mix well
- Add Potatoes, and Boiled Eggs, and tea
- Adjust Salt and Spice
- Option 1 : Slow cook till the meat is tender
- Option 2 : Put in Instant Pot manual setting for 4 minutes
- Option 3 : Use ay pressure cooker
- Mutton Dak Bungalow is ready!
The prep time includes the marination time. This can be marinated overnight as well. If it is cooked in Instant Pot then cook time is much less.