Saturday, March 22, 2008

Mutton cha Rassa (Maharashtrian Lamb Curry)

Mutton Rassa (Maharashtrian lamb curry) was probably the first food I knew I couldn't live without. Especially the way my mother makes it. My grandmother, my mother and all my aunts would make their own garam masala. Although my grandma has passed away, her memory still lives on every time I cook something as my garam masala still comes from home. I have had Mutton Rassa all over Pune, but only the Parsi restaurants do real justice to the Rassa part of it.

Although it has been 10 long years since I've been to Cafe Good Luck on Fergusson College Rd, I still remember the L shaped restaurant where time seems to have stood still. It has withstood many a communal riot that required reconstruction for other Parsi establishments. The entrance of Good Luck, the apex of the L, is at the corner of Bhandarkar Rd and Fergusson College Rd. One wing of the L extends into the dining area, the other is only for tea & pastry consumption. I remember the slightly bent old man who used to sit at the counter. He was a grumpy old man with a blue fly swatter who watched your every move. He didn’t quite know what year it was, but kept a watchful eye on the waiters making sure then don’t ‘favour’ their favourite customers of which there were many. An old, rickety Cinni fan from the 1950's, with most of the black paint chipped used to keep him cool. I don’t think it had been oiled since the 70’s either. My father would tell me that he was quite the dashing man when my father was a regular at Good Luck in his Fergusson days. Quasim his grandson, was my classmate at Fergusson College and from what I hear, is running Good Luck — and quite successfully, too. I have fond memories of dining at Good Luck with my father as he would order my mutton just the way I liked it. It was a dish only known as Mutton Double Fry. Your basic mutton curry, sautéed with onions, tomato and chili till the curry was reduced to a dry coarse paste, to be consumed with larger than life chapatis.

Most of the restaurants around the neighbourhood I grew up with have disappeared due to new construction and the so-called malls. Good Luck is still standing strong. Maybe someday I'll able to take my children to Good Luck and introduce them to the food three generations of their family have grown up on. Hopefully, it will happen before Cafe Good Luck is just a blip in the rear view mirror like Lucky, Cafe Sunrise, Poona Coffee House and Hotel Deepa.

I lb lamb cubed
2 large onions finely chopped
2 large tomatoes finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic crushed or 1 tsp paste
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt (or according to taste)
3 cups water
1/2 cup oil

In a large pot heat oil on high and add ginger and garlic.
When the garlic starts to splatter add chopped onion
Once the onion browns on the edges, add tomato and stir
Allow to cook for 5 min
Then add chili, turmeric and garam masala
Allow to cook for a few minutes and add Lamb
Stir and allow to cook for a minute or two
Add water and mix well
Turn heat to medium and allow to boil till water reduces by 1/2
Keep cooking till meat is tender
Serve with Chapati or rice.


Meera said...

Wonderfully written. I loved mutton rassa too but do not get mutton here.

Purnima said...

Chaan ani soppi karoon dili aahet he recipe! Thanks for sharing, the dish looks perfect! (Have been once to Fer. college with my cousin who studied there, more than a decade ago, its serene beauty!)

Purnima said...

I tried this recipe yest with nutrella chunks..the gravy is truly yum! Nice choice of curry!!

Zulu said...

My favourite dishes at Goodluck are Chicken Chilly Fry and Mutton Ros Masala.I also enjoy bread pudding they serve

Kishor said...

I am responding three years after this article was published.

Well, Good Luck still stands and so do the Chicken Chilly fry and the mutton ros masala. Cafe Sunrise Lucky Restraurant and Poona Cafe House (PCH) have all gone to make way for a huge mall.....BUT Good Luck still stands. Hotel Deepa was defuncked long ago due to some internal hassels.

Yes, this mutton russa is brilliant!!...Way to go!

White Magpie said...

Tu meeth visarlas..mala nantar athavle taste kartana..but good tips

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This may be a very good recipe but for sure it isn't a mutton rassa recipe.. call it a mutton curry and all but not rassa.. rassa is when all the ingredients are mashed into a paste either in a mixer or a 'paat' (in olden days).. the paste consists of dry fried onion, coriander, tomato and coconut..
u want a good rassa, u got to visit the inners of maharashtra during the 'jatra' season.. not a parsi restaurant.. i am a big fan of goodluck bu not for rassa for other things..

Anonymous said...

I cannot forget Cafe Good Luck.It was in the year 1972-1975 period during my stay in Pune city.
One more hotel Asara in Shukrawar Peth.
Cafe Diamond queen near Rashid Khodadad (Petrol Pump) at end of East street in Cantonment.Full chicken leg biryani was at Rs.6/- only. TE HEE NA DIWASO GATA. Those golden days will never come again.In Mumbai Hotel Delhi Darbar Dish called as "Dabba Gosht" is now Rs.200/- Alas only memories of sixtees & seventies !

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing good information. Enjoy the divine taste with your loved one, order food online (600+ restaurants in Pune)