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Years ago, when I was a teenager, my father took me on a trip to his favourite eating places in Mumbai. In those days, the cuisines of the different states in India rarely travelled, the most we knew of “other” food growing up in Delhi was dosas from Madras and Machher Jhol from Bengal. So this was an exciting trip to sample the culinary delights of Maharashtra – we tried everything that week: dhansak in the Parsi area, biryanis in dhabas and finally Kolhapuri mutton (made with goat meat)- heaven!

It was not uncommon for someone from my background never to have eaten these dishes even though I am Maharashtrian by descent. This is because my parents were from Brahmin families that were strictly vegetarian. Although they broke family rules and started eating meat when they moved to Mumbai as young adults, they did not know how to cook sophisticated meat dishes such as these. I dont think my mother ever made Kolhapuri mutton.

That experience of eating Kolhapuri mutton and freshly made bhakri (sorghum flat bread) stayed with me and I decided I would teach myself how to make it. I learnt how to make the spice mix that gives the curry its flavour and colour. So, I can now bring this fabulous dish to you.

This is a hot and spicy dish where the gravy, based on a stock made of bones, is really the main part of the dish and the meat is almost secondary. In local parlance it is called “Tambda Rassa” or red gravy and that is really where all the taste is. It is typically eaten with sorghum bhakri, a type of flat bread, and its perfect for mopping up all that yumminess.

Serves: 4

Cooking Time: 2 hours (make it the night before for a better taste)

You will need:

  • 500 g goat meat with bones (these are important for the giving flavour and body to the gravy). If you cannot get goat meat, lean cuts of lamb will do.
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic , 1″ piece of ginger, 1 medium onion ground to a paste
  • 2-3 large tomatoes chopped
  • 2 tsp Deccan Tiffin Kolhapuri Masala 
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil


Marinate the meat in the onion/garlic/ginger paste together with the turmeric and salt. Add enough water to completely cover the marinated meat. Cook in a medium oven (180 C) with the lid on for about 90 minutes or until the meat is thoroughly cooked. Stir once or twice in between. Alternatively cook in a pressure cooker for about 20 minutes.

Heat the oil in a wok or karahi, add the cumin seeds, let crackle and add the tomatoes. Cook these for about 10 minutes, stirring every few seconds, until slightly brown. Now add the cooked meat with the all the liquid and add the Kolhapuri Masala. If you can, cook this dish the day before so that the spices can properly infuse the gravy. Serve with Indian bread, preferably sorghum flat bread, raita, salad and a slice of lime.

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