Mumbai Maushi's Mutton Masala. . .

July 25th, 2012

about ajoy

i’ve been a chef for over three decades now! i trained in chennai and started off with the taj hotel group. i’ve owned nilgiri’s indian restaurant in sydney for over 15 years. i’m on a mission to dispel the myth that indian food is no more than a ‘curry in a hurry’! come with me as i try and educate. indian food is my passion (alongside cricket!) and i’m enjoying exploring the new social media to fulfil this passion! i’ve also published cookery books, been on tv, the radio, won awards! now i’m also moving into making cookery videos. these are simple and easy to follow and don’t go on for hours like some Bollywood movies!

How quickly can you say that tongue-twister then?!

Try it (in both senses!) Mumbai Maushi’s mutton masala. . .

Well, seriously though, I wanted to share this dish with you this week.

You know how it is, just as people have a ‘bucket list’ of “10 things to do” or “10 places to visit” before they die, I also have my own ‘bucket list’ of “10 dishes to eat” before I decide to lay down flat once I’ve finished my “hour upon the stage.”

Well, here is my personal ‘Top Ten’.

(Please note that the list isn’t in any particular order!)

So, here goes: matki chi usal and poori, jhunka bhakri, kache gosht ki biryani, sabudana khichadi, pithla bhat, tandoori chicken, appam and stew, masala dosai, arsimav roti and, last but not least, the tongue-twister, quadruple M: Mumbai Maushi’s mutton masala!!!

Mumbai Maushi’s Mutton Masala, version 4!!

Of course, it goes without saying but I’ll say it nevertheless, that they must all be served with a glass or two of good old Aussie Shiraz!!

Nine out of the ten dishes mentioned are classics from different parts of India and numerous adaptions of these dishes can de found in many households all over that vast land, but there is only ‘one’ recipe of MMMM with three different versions made. The three dishes made come from Shahpur and Kalanagar in Mumbai and the third comes from, guess where?


Yes, that’s right, Perth in Australia!!

But before we go any further, who is Mumbai Maushi and what is so unique about the dish?

Mumbai Maushi, or Aunt from Mumbai, is my best mate Nitin’s mother. Like all mums of this world, she is a great cook and does some fantastic dishes from her native Shahpur, near Mumbai.

Amchi Mumbai Maushi

Some of the dishes she makes include bheja pakoda, mutton chops, kolmino masala and the aforementioned mutton masala.

I was extremely fortunate to have feasted on Aunty’s cooking whilst Nitin lived in Sydney.

Now, however, that Nitin has moved to Perth the feasts have also moved with him which means I have to travel nearly 3000 kilometres to eat Maushi’s mutton masala, or a further 2000 kilometres to Kalanagar, Mumbai where Nitin’s older sister lives, which makes it a very very expensive MMMM!!!

So, in order to have this mutton masala at home in Sydney, my son, Aniruddh says to me, “Dad how about we get a running commentary on how to cook the dish, over the phone from Perth?” This is where Aunty is spending some time with her grandson, Arnav, and the idea of getting her to give us the recipe and instructions is great.

“Super idea, son.” I say, clapping Aniruddh on the back as I get my iPhone out of my pocket and start dialling the number. As the phone rings I say to my son, “This means that if the dish that comes out is good then it will be the fourth version of MMMM on the planet!!!”
And the phone is answered. . .

So, we get Mumbai Maushi on the phone, from Perth, and she is delighted to share the recipe with us and she starts, “Ajoy, you need. . .” and here are her instructions:

Maushi in action…

1.25 kg of goat meat (not 1kg, not 1.5 kg but 1.25kg she stipulated this!), I am also using goat ribs, with her permission!
4 medium-sized laal kanda (red onions), chopped
1 tablespoon ground lasun (garlic)
1 tablespoon ground aala (ginger)
10 gms haled (turmeric)
4 tablespoons masala (aunty’s paach masala, the recipe is attached)
21/2 ladles tael (polyunsaturated vegetable oil)
salt, to taste

clockwise, from left to right: turmeric, salt, vegetable oil, crushed garlic, crushed ginger, chopped onions and goat ribs

She continues,

“For the paach masala (five-spice mix), Ajoy, you will have to use…”

  1. 100 gms sukhi laal mirchi (dried red chillies)
  2. 20 gms dhane (Indian coriander seeds)
  3. 10 gms jeere (cumin seeds)
  4. 10 gms kale mire (black peppercorns)
  5. 20 gms mohori (black mustard seeds)

clockwise, from left to right: black mustard seeds, black peppercorns, Indian coriander seeds, whole dried chillies and cumin seeds

paach masala – grind all ingredients, except mustard seeds, to a fine powder. Grind mustard separately and add to the mixture

Then you need to add 10 gms of hinge (ground asafoetida). [This is not a part of the mix but is added to the mix, later, or it can be added during the cooking process.]

hing [asafoetida]

10 gms garam masala, to finish.
And then Maushi says, “Ajoy, you may use your own garam masala (she’s referring to nilgiri’s garam masala that we sell in our restaurant), but please add 1 teaspoon roasted and ground khus khus (white poppy seeds) to the garam masala before sprinkling on top.”

nilgiri’s garam masala, khus khus or [poppy seeds]

As for the method?
Well, Maushi’s method is very clear and specific. She continues, “Ajoy, marinate the goat with ground garlic and ground ginger and set aside for about 20 minutes,

goat ribs, marinated in crushed garlic and ginger

then heat oil in a heavy-based pan,

heat oil in a heavy-based pan

heat the oil till it smokes and add the chopped onions,

adding the chopped onions to the oil

caramelise the onions without adding any salt,

caramelise the onions until they are mildly golden, over moderate heat

add the marinated meat to the onions,

add goat ribs and fold well, over moderate heat

sear the meat lightly, then add the ground turmeric,

cadd turmeric and fold

add 3-4 tbsps of paach masala, which has been ground to a fine powder, and mix with the asafoetida then add to the pan. Store the remainder in an air-tight jar for future use.

add paach masala and fold

cook till oil leaves the sides of the pan,

cook for a couple of minutes, till the oil appears

add enough hot water to cover the meat,

add enough water to cover the meat, still retain moderate heat

cover pan with a lid deep enough to hold water (or another pan), when water steams remove lid and check the meat,

cover the dish with a lid/pan of water and cook till the water steams

remove lid and check if meat is cooked, if not, replace lid,

remove lid when goat is cooked

add salt after meat is cooked,

add salt once the meat is cooked

add the garam masala (nilgiri’s, of course!) along with the roasted and ground khus khus,

add ground nilgiri’s garam masala and khus khus

wait till oil rises to the surface, skim oil off from the surface and serve!”

maushi’s dish is ready, now for some plating…

plating it ‘my way’,

arrange the goat ribs on a plate

pour sauce over the meat,

add sauce on top

plated and all ready to go!

final dish!!

Now that the MMMM is ready, here is a ready reckoner to make the dish…(just as Maushi said)….

1. Never add salt to the onions when cooking this dish as doing so prevents the meat from cooking through (this applies only for cooking Indian-style dishes with meat).

2. Paach masala is ground without the spices being roasted. The mustard seeds are ground separately and added later to the rest of the ground spices. (This is done to prevent the oil from the mustard to moisten the rest of the spice mix.)

3. Asafotida can be added to the caramelised onions which means it is not part of the paach masala.

4. The entire cooking process is performed using a moderate heat as this helps in bringing out the oil so that it rises to the surface. Skim off the oil before serving, or leave it in to mature the dish!

5. Lemon juice is never added to this dish, it just is not done as it spoils the taste. Salt does the job of replacing lemon juice as it acts as a souring agent and that is why it is, also, added at the end.

6. The dish is best eaten with a bread called bhakri.

So, if none of those six ready reckoners work for you, take a trip to Perth or Mumbai!!!

Please let me and Aunty know how you got on with your versions. Perhaps we’ll soon have lots of MMMM versions around the globe!

Anah Daata Sukhi Bhaava!!!


  1. Ajoy Joshi

    Hi Sojo
    Apologies for the delay…!
    Quantity of chillies depends on the pungency, so it is always a good thing to experiment and start of with smaller amounts and then increase the amount as per your taste. As I always say my recipe is only a guide to get the ‘process’ right ..the quantities are entirely up to the person cooking the dish.

  2. Sojo Joshua

    made it…..loved it…. only one doubt….for the five spice spice masala mix i felt that 100 grams redchillies is a lil too much seeing the redchillies youve kept in the mixie. So i added only 10 grams while grinding….and then when i added the masala to the curry I added a spoon of chilly powder with the five spice masala. Iam sure will be making this often. Can you clarify my doubt about the quantity of redchillies?

  3. payalsethi

    Wow…Looks delicious…mouth watering…. thank you so much for sharing a great recipe of Mutton

  4. Ajoy Joshi

    Thanks Kavita,
    You can certainly use chicken!!
    Happy cooking….


    Ajoy, delicious recipe! Can i use chicken instead of mutton or lamb? I cant find mutton or lamb anywhere close to where I live.

  6. asha

    That’s a mouthwatering well detailed recipe…I don’t cook much of mutton at home, but after reading / viewing this recipe, i have to try this! Bookmarking this for yummy reminder!

  7. Ajoy Joshi

    Happy cooking!!!

  8. Ajoy Joshi

    Thanks Rupi,
    All you have to do is give it a go!!
    Happy cooking!!!

  9. Blossom Fonseca

    Looks absolutely mouth watering, I can literally taste it !! Can’t wait to cook it ! Thanks Mausi

  10. Ajoy Joshi

    Hello Michelle,
    Good to hear from you.
    Please do let us know how did you go with your’MMMM’!!
    Would love to have a picture if possible.
    Happy cooking!!!

  11. Rupi

    Yummm perfect maharashtrian…..thanks to u and Moushi…I ll definitely try this recipe!!!!

  12. Michelle

    OMG! This dish reminds me so much of the mutton curry that my aunt’s woman-of-all-work makes. Its the number one dish I request as soon as I get off the plane in Bombay… Christine, please make me the mutton curry, panpole, beef chops (minced beef in a potato coating) and her famous red chutney.
    Hugely homesick now, Ajoy, but thanks for sharing. We do get some lovely goat (sadly, not mutton) here in Alberta, so I am going to have to try your Mumbai Maushi’s curry (it won’t be as good as my Christine’s of course!! ;-)) haha.

  13. nicky

    BELCH! BELCH!! Yum sounding dish,horse,my dear friend!

  14. [email protected]

    loved your maushi and thanks for sharing her special recipe. the color of the curry looks so good.

Comments are closed.


Garam Masalas