Category Archives: Mutton/Lamb

Aadu/Mutton Urundai Kuzhambu/Meat Balls (lamb) in Spicy Gravy


Mutton Kola urundai kuzhambu, Keema/Kaima urundai kuzhambu, Mutton urundai kuzhambu – all mean the same : a tasty, spicy Meat Ball Curry. I was introduced to this curry long back in a Tamil household, where native food at its best was the norm. Here, food at home was always strictly with the warmth of softest cloth idlies (idlies made in cloth) and the taste of grandmother’s stone ground curries. The efforts put in by the ‘Efficient Mother of the House’ was and is still truly impressive. So much emphasis on perfection for even the simplest of chutnies and precision in making curries used to be a fanfare while visiting their home.

One such amazing cooking experience that I could watch was that of Urundai Kuzhambu with Lamb. Urundai literally translates as ’round’ and is used for all round structures or believed to be round – including the world. Hence, Sweet Balls like Laddus are also known as Urundai and Meat Balls are also denoted by the term Urundai and more so, the Lentil Balls are Paruppu Urundai.

I rekindled the learning experience I got approximately 16 years ago and made Urundai Kuzhambu with Lamb. Whether the recipe is the same is yet to be referred.

I took these recipes as guidelines. Thanks a ton friends!
Special thanks to Mrs. G for introducing me to this non-vegetarian extravaganza – due to its elaborate preparation,  especially making it in the traditional way possible (in today’s gadget world) with the stone grinder.

This is how I made it –

Aadu/Mutton Urundai Kuzhambu/Lamb Meat Balls in Spicy Gravy (serves 10-15 persons) – reduce according to family needs



Step I – Making the Meat Balls


Ingredients (makes appr. 35-45 urundai)


  • minced meat – 1/2 kg
  • grated coconut – 3/4 cup
  • cardamom – 4 no.s
  • cloves – 4 no.s
  • garlic – 10 cloves
  • ginger  – 2 inch piece
  • chopped onion – 1/4 cup
  • green chillies – 4 no.s
  • black pepper – 1 tsp
  • turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • salt – as needed

Method of Preparation

  1. In a stone grinder, first grind the minced meat
  2. Next, add cardamom, cloves, ginger and garlic and let them mash well in the stone
  3. Add grated coconut and grind
  4. Then, add chopped onions and green chillies


5. Add salt and grind till smooth balls can be rolled out of the blended meat


6. Make small urundais and keep aside on plate.


Step II – Making the Kuzhambu/Curry


To saute –

  • oil – 2 tbsp
  • cinnamon stick – 1 inch
  • cardamom – 5 pods
  • cloves – 4 no.s
  • bay leaves – 2 -3 no.s
  • curry leaves – 15 leaves
  • chopped onions –  1 cup (2 big onions)
  • chopped tomato – 1/2 cup
  • slit green chillies – 2 no.s

Make a paste-


  • grated coconut – 1/2 cup
  • ginger – 2 inch piece
  • garlic – 8 cloves
  • fennel seeds – 2 tsp
  • black pepper – 1 tsp
  • red chilli powder – 2 tsp or more
  • coriander powder – 2 tsp
  • turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

To cook-

  • tamarind juice – juice extracted from a lemon sized tamarind  – 1 cup


Making of Urundai Kuzhambu

  1. In a large, hard bottomed pan, add oil
  2. Saute bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and curry leaves
  3. Add chopped onions and slit green chillies and fry until golden

4. Add tomatoes and fry until soft

5. Next, add the ground paste of coconut and spices and fry well


6. Add tamarind juice to dilute the thick paste and salt to taste

7. Cook till the raw smell of spices and coconut is gone

8. Add more water if needed, as we need to let the meat balls cook and absorb more juices of the curry

9. When the curry is done and is there is enough liquid to soak the balls, gently drop the urundais one by one

10. Do not over crowd the curry – give enough breathing/cooking space

11. Close the lid, simmer the stove and let the meat balls cook in the gravy for at least half an hour

12. Check in between for enough liquid in the pan

13. Switch off once the meat balls are cooked well. Make this curry at least 4-5 hours ahead of meal time, for juicier urundais. Serve with Idli, Dosai or Rice.



Aattukkal Paya – Kuzhambu/ Leg of Lamb (Trotters) Curry



Aattukkal Paya or Mutton Paya has been a long awaited recipe to try. I was introduced to Aatukkal Paya when Appa was suffering from chronic pain of spondylitis. A vegetarian family where eggs were allowed once in a while in the name of health food, acclimatized itself to the smell of burnt goat’s leg – to be very blunt. A separate stove in the backyard, a separate pressure cooker and a few utensils for cooking and serving were all part of the new recipe to tackle the bone ailment of Appa. Every time ‘paya’ came home, it was a curious thing for me to see how it looked behind the goaty smell that it rendered. The burnt leg gave an additional intolerable smell while getting cooked….but all was tolerable in the name of spondylitis.

Our helper ‘N’ single handedly introduced all of us to the exclusive Paya. Awestruck, wide eyed and amused, me and Amma would watch her clean, wash and smash before dropping the stuff into the cooker. The done soup would enter the house through the back doors and then into appa’s tummy. But by the time appa would gulp it down, ‘N’ would clean the backyard with disinfectants and other necessary cleansers. Show over and the theatre would return next week.

The done Aatukkal Soup or Paya soup was a beautiful one. It was truly a surprise how the smelly bone turned out to be a glowing aromatic soup with just the simplest of ingredients like ginger, pepper and salt. Generally, vegetarian Tamilnadu foods don’t glow so much like their non-vegetarian counterparts. Poriyal (dry vegetable curries), kootu (vegetables cooked in lentils) or sambar .. the day to day curries are certainly less oily. The other kuzhambus like the Vatral Kuzhambu or Puli Kuzhambu (tamarind based curries) are made more flavourful, if needed, with hot gingelly oil (cold pressed sesame seed oil) poured on top. Hence this wide eyed surprise for a food product which delivered so much of glow. Less did I know then that animal protein has more fat to cook itself without addition of extra oil.

But Paya is a different and exclusive one that provides healthy fat that is loaded with nutrients and helps avoid degeneration of bones and cartilage.



Cartilage found in animal joint areas such as chicken feet, beef or lamb knuckles, trachea and ribs, hooves and skin, tend to yield the most nutritious broth. It contains cartilage (gelatine), bone marrow, amino acids and minerals. The end ingredient is a broth that contains all the valuable nutrients that are found in animal bones.

Bone broth promotes strength and nourishes, specially in times of sickness, injury, rehabilitation, and helps to prevent bone and connective tissue disorders.
Bone broth contains a high quantity of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sulfur, fluoride, sodium and potassium. These minerals can promote not only bone health but also support intestinal healing, help in calcium- or- magnesium-deficiency-related insomnia, irritability, fatigue and anxiety.


When I knew nothing of cooking and was used to chatting with Amma and aachi while they were cooking, this was a great introduction to non-vegetarian stuff. But what remained well embarked in my mind was the fact that, that particular glowing soup was providing enough lubrication to the joints and was helping in easy recuperation of bone ailments.

Life is a great tutor. It shows you various things at various stages of your life….. that you may make use at perfect situations. It introduces you to very many things you might need to adapt at very many junctions… Now, adaptation is the key to a happy life. It’s true and I’ve experienced it.

Athai, my mom-in-law always remembers and narrates her childhood memories of Aattukkal Paya. In certain pockets of Tamilnadu, Dosai and Paya are quintessential Diwali breakfast foods. She tells me how Paya would be slow cooked on a wood-burning stove in her house in a big vessel..  Almost everyone contributes to the cooking process of Paya,  by stirring off and on, on the day before Diwali. After extensive cleaning, cutting and chopping of garlic, ginger and onion necessary for the curry, cooking begins by experienced elders of the household. With all siblings waiting to taste, Paya is ready to eat only the next morning. The aroma of Paya getting cooked in wooden based stove would fill the house, making the wait irresistible.

The Paya would be done by night and left on the stove, with firewood in sim throughout the night. The goats’ leg absorbs all the flavour of the spices and coconut milk while resting on the stove whole night. The next morning, when the world wakes up for sweets and celebrations of Diwali, soft Dosais are prepared. The wait is over and everyone gets the share of sumptuous Paya with Dosai.

This story from Athai that is always part of her childhood memories, and narrated several times to me, has acted as a catalyst in cultivating a special interest in Aatukkal Paya for a new comer to non-vegetarian cuisine, as a new daughter-in-law many years ago.

After the first Paya episode in childhood, almost 25 years ago, Paya holds a special place in my kitchen and in the freezer. I sit back with some statistics… Started Cooking non-vegetarian food 16 years ago, became non-vegetarian by chance and choice 10 years ago, started blogging 6 years ago, now I present Aattukkal Paya Curry (not soup that Appa (father) had but what Athai (mother-in-law had) that I think is truly a delicacy… Not because of my culinary skills, but because of the natural fatty agents stuffed inside the cartilage of the goat or sheep, and the exotic flavour of coconut milk in which the Paya is cooked. Truly, the combination is deadly.

To get a better idea of making Paya Curry or Lamb Trotter Curry, I got great tips and methods from these two bloggers:

Thanks so much guys. My work was made easy because of your posts.

Check out these posts and one gets a comprehensive idea of Paya, it’s usage, health benefits and above all two great curries.

I adapted the basic Paya making from these two curries and thought trotters initially cooked in thinner coconut milk would render better flavour as in my Tirunelveli Sodhi, where vegetables are cooked in the third or thinnest diluted coconut milk to render the coconut aroma throughout the dish. The double cooking of the trotters would somewhat compensate for the lack of slow cooking.

Recipe Aatukkal Paya Curry/Leg of Lamb (Trotter) Curry



Ingredients (serves 2-3)

  • Any cooking oil – 2 tsp
  • Aatukkal – 1/2 kg appr.
  • turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • salt – to taste

Finely clean, burnt Lamb trotters with absolutely no hair. I always immerse the Paya in turmeric-salt water for at least 30 minutes to disinfect.

Dry whole spices


  • Cardamom – 5 no.s
  • Cloves – 5 no.s
  • Cinnamon stick – 2-3 pieces
  • Bay leaves- 2 no.s

Dry Grind together


  • red chilly-  5 no.s
  • cumin seeds – 2 tsp
  • coriander seeds- 2 tsp
  • fennel seeds-  1 tsp
  • black pepper- 1 tsp

To sauté



  • Ginger- 2 inch piece
  • Garlic- 10 cloves
  • Onions – 2 no.s finely chopped
  • Green chillies – 3 no.s slit
  • Curry leaves – a few
  • Tomato – 2 no.s finely chopped





Milk from 1 fresh coconut – divided into two parts:
a. Thick first milk reserved for second time cooking trotters
b. Thinner second milk used for the first stage cooking with spices
Store bought coconut milk (500ml) – 1 can divided into two parts:
a. Half can thick milk reserved for second time cooking
b. Other half can mixed with water used for the first stage cooking with spices
Method of Preparation
Getting ready

  1. Clean the well-burnt trotters and immerse in turmeric-salt water for at least 30 minutes.
  2. If using fresh coconut, keep aside the thick milk taken from the first squeeze; and grind the coconut again with more water to get thinner milk. Strain both milks in a strainer with thin pores as we need clear milk. Keep them ready.
  3. Finely grind ginger and garlic.
  4. Finely chop onions and tomatoes and slit green chillies.
  5. Dry grind the above mentioned spices in a blender.



Cooking first time with thin milk



  1. In a pressure cooker, add oil and all dry whole spices and sauté.
  2. Add the slit green chillies, chopped onions and tomatoes one after another and fry. Need not wait for them to turn golden brown. Minimal sautéing is enough.
  3. Now, add the perfectly washed trotters and fry .
  4. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry.
  5. Add the dry ground spices and mix well.
  6. Add turmeric powder and salt.
  7. Mix the thinner milk (appr. 2 cups); To avoid curry getting burnt- add more water if needed for the trotters to hold pressure in the cooker for at least half an hour, and pressure cook; After the first whistle, I reduced the burner and cooked for 20 minutes.


cooked once


Cooking second time with thicker milk



  1. Let the pressure release by itself, then open the cooker. The trotter curry would be almost done and would taste good if the Paya is cooked well. But we are not finished… The curry hasn’t reached its perfect consistency.
  2. Open the cooker, check salt and spices. This is the time one can add chillies or salt if needed. Add as per required.
  3. Heat the curry on hot stove again. Add the reserved thick milk and stir well. There shouldn’t be any need for water, unless the gravy is seriously thick.
  4. Close the lid and pressure cook again. I reduced flame to sim after the first whistle and cooked for 15 more minutes for the curry to absorb the flavour of coconut milk and spices.
  5. Once pressure releases fully, open and serve. Aattukkal Paya can be served with idli, dosai or appam.


Mutton Vathakkal/Spicy Stir fried Mutton

Let’s complete the Simple Sunday Meal of Mutton Biriyani (refer –  home-cook’s-pressure-cooker-mutton-biriyani ) with Mutton Fry. Having given balance to Biriyani with Salna (refer – kathirikkai-salna-brinjal-salna )– a veggie gravy/stew in the previous post, its time for Aadu Vadhakkal – spicy mutton stir fry.




Mutton fry – That’s not the best of pictures, I know. Shall update it shortly. Yet, no compromise in taste.
Aadu Vathakkal or Stir fried Mutton can be found in restaurant menus as mutton fry. It’s a spicy dry curry. And as a well known fact, the culinary secrets of Indian Cuisine differs with each family.  With the basic preparations intact, modify the fry as per your taste and spice preference. With the addition of tomatoes, this might become a gravy dish.

Since I decided to make Mutton Varuval, along with biriyani, I put in the mutton pieces for both biriyani and spicy fry in the pressure cooker for initial cooking. This reduces the time in cooking mutton separately. After a kilo of mutton is cooked in the first stage, separate boneless chunks (app. 250 gms) for Vathakkal. Keep the bigger portion for Biriyani.

Otherwise, to make a separate mutton fry, pressure cook mutton pieces with water, salt and ginger for 30-40 mins. or until done. Enjoy the broth as soup with crushed pepper. Take the pieces for the vadhakkal/fry. Easy isn’t it?



  • mutton – 250 gms
  • garlic – 12 cloves crushed coarsely
  • onions – 2 no.s sliced fine
  • salt – to taste
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • oil – 2 tbsp
  • red chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • coriander powder – ½ tsp
  • black/white pepper powder – 1 tsp
  • turmeric powder – ¼ tsp


Method of Preparation

  1. Cook mutton in water, with salt and ginger for 30-40 minutes or until cooked well.
  2. Strain the cooked broth and consume as soup.
  3. Use cooked mutton pieces for the fry.
  4. In a pan, heat oil and fry the crushed garlic.
  5. Add sliced onions and sauté till golden brown.
  6. Add turmeric, red chilli, coriander and white pepper/black pepper powders and mix well.
  7. Add ¼ cup cooked broth and a pinch of salt. Be cautious with salt, as salt has already been added while cooking mutton pieces.
  8. Cook closed in sim flame.
  9. After the raw smell of powders is gone, open lid, keep stove medium.
  10. When almost done, keep flame in full and let the water dry.
  11. Add the juice of lemon and transfer vathakkal to a serving dish.
  12. Spicy Vathakkal is ready.

Home Cook’s Pressure Cooker Mutton Biriyani with Thayir Pachadi/Raita



That was a simple Sunday that started with the usual home made bread for breakfast.  Sundays can turn out to be one of the laziest days, yet the best is expected to come from the kitchen.  Thankfully for me, Cooking has always been a stress buster and an energy creator. This attitude can be termed as the height of optimism by those relaxing Sunday souls, who refuse to enter kitchen on holidays.

With the same positive energy, to make that lazy Sunday a flavorful one, I chose to try a Mutton Biriyani, a favorite delicacy throughout the world, with some good mathematics to post here. Mathematics with Biriyani…. certainly not written due to stress in brain activity. But, Biriyani needs meticulous measurements to bring out that ultimate aroma and taste.

I’ve tried to be accurate with the quantity of ingredients involved in the making of Mutton Biriyani. Additionally, reducing the effort involved in the making of good Biriyani, Pressure Cooker is used for quick cooking. This is no advertisement for Pressure Cookers, but believe me… it does reduce the stress of watching the Biriyani in a Pot or Handi cook to long grainy soft perfection.
A note on the history of Biriyani in India-


Though it may appear to be a dish indigenous to India, in reality the dish originated quite far away. Biryani is derived from the Persian word Birian, which means ‘fried before cooking’ and Birinj, the Persian word for rice. While there are multiple theories about how biryani made its way to India, it is generally accepted that it originated in West Asia.

There are records of a rice dish known as Oon Soru in Tamil literature as early as the year 2 A.D. Oon Soru was said to be made of rice, ghee, meat, turmeric, coriander, pepper, and bay leaf, and was used to feed military warriors.


Just type – ‘oon soru’ and browse the internet. Your box would be filled with websites that talk about the same above said detail, verbatim. Which website posted the basic article is unknown. The above article gives a very fine and elaborate write up on different biriyanis in India.

An elaborate research would provide different insights into the culinary secret behind the speciality rice in Tamilnadu. I’ve heard people well versed in Tamil literature, talk about ‘Oon Soru’ and the practice of cooking rice with meat among the early Tamils.

With various popular versions of Biriyanis-  Hyderabadi, Lucknowi or Old Delhi’s famous Mughal preparations, Tamilnadu has its own versions – Dindukkal Biriyani, Arcot Biriyani, Ambur Biriyani, Chettinad Biriyani and so on. There is one more variety that has no popular name, but the version is different from home to home – that’s the Home Made Biriyani, with the tasteful signature of the amateur home cook.

So, this Sunday I decided to make the Home Cook’s Mutton Biriyani – with step by step elaborate procedures for purpose of sharing here. This is a two-way process, where meat is pressure cooked initially with turmeric and salt, and then pressure cooked again together with spices and rice. This second part, makes the biriyani an easier version, where no ‘Dum’ (closed cooking in sim flame) is required and hence, is less time consuming, but no compromise in taste.
With the urge to cook Biriyani, came a list of other things that go well with the exotic Rice.

a. Thayir Pachadi – Onion and Yoghurt Raita

b. Kathirikkai Salna – Mildly spiced, tangy Gravy with brinjal/egg plant that is served alongside Biriyani

c. Mutton Vadhakkal – Spicy, Pan fried Mutton – the perfect munching companion for the succulent Biriyani

A successful Sunday with special delights calls for 2 connected posts on the lunch served. So, first – Biriyani and Pachadi, I call it the match made in kitchen, which is supposedly a cook’s heaven of culinary creations!
Home Cook’s Pressure Cooker Mutton Biriyani




Ingredients (serves 3)


long grain basmati rice



and meat



  • basmati rice – 1 ½ cups – (app. 225 gms)
  • mutton – 500 gms
  • turmeric powder – ¼ tsp for cooking meat separately + ½ tsp while making biriyani
  • salt – to taste
  • oil – 3 tsp (for caramelising onions) + 3 tsp (for making biriyani)
  • clarified butter – 3 tsp

Dry Spices




  • cardamom pods – 7 no.s
  • cloves – 7 no.s
  • cinnamon – 2-3 sticks
  • bay leaves – 2 no.s
  • big cardamom – 1 no.
  • fennel seeds – 1 ½ tsp
  • pepper corns – 1 tsp

To chop




and green chillies



  • ginger – 50 gms
  • garlic – 30 gms (app. 3 small pods)
  • onion – 3 large – 165 gms
  • tomato – 2 large – 130 gms
  • green chillies – 5 -7 no.s (finely chopped)

For freshness

caramelised onions with mint and coriander



  • mint leaves – 3 tsp
  • coriander leaves. – 3 tsp

Exotic touch


saffron in water



  • generous strands of saffron soaked in ¼ cup hot water tsp bring out that gorgeous colour
  • nutmeg – ½ tsp grated

Method of Preparation


Part I

  1. Wash and soak basmati rice at least ½ an hour before pressure cooking meat
  2. Soak saffron in ¼ cup hot water


soaked rice


Part II– Cook Mutton

  1. Remove fat as far possible from meat
  2. Mix turmeric and salt to meat and keep aside for 15 minutes
  3. Wash and clean well
  4. Squeeze out excess water from the washed meat
  5. In a pressure cooker, add meat, ¼ tsp turmeric and salt with water enough to cook for approximately 30 minutes
  6. Pressure cook meat till done (It takes 30-40 minutes to be cooked well)
  7. Do not forget to use the meat broth to cook the final Biriyani.

Part III– Getting things ready – grinding, slicing, chopping, caramelizing.


  1. Coarse grind ginger, garlic, fennel seeds and pepper corns together in a blender (without water). Though full pepper corns are fried with spices in Biriyani, I prefer to grind as there is no wastage on the plate. Additionally, ground pepper corn spices up the Biriyani with its unique flavor.
  2. Thinly slice onions. Caramelize sliced onions in 3 tsp oil.
  3. Finely chop green chilies and tomatoes separately. Keep aside.


Part IV – Let’s do it – THE BIRIYANI

1. Heat pressure cooker and add oil and clarified butter.

2. Drop all the dry spices except pepper corns and fennel seeds (already blended with ginger-garlic)


3. Next, add the ground ginger-garlic-pepper-fennel paste with green chillies and sauté.



4. Add the chopped tomatoes and sauté till soft and mushy.

5. Then, add the caramelized onions and mix well.

6. Strain rice without water and add to the hot ingredients in the cooker and stir well.



7. Add nutmeg, turmeric powder and salt.

8. Strain mutton and save the cooked broth.

9. Add cooked mutton pieces and mix.
10.The most important ingredient- WATER

Now, it’s time to add water. I go by this ratio and it turns out good.

For 1 cup of rice – 2 cups of water;
For 2 cups of rice – 4 cups water minus ½ cup = 3 ½ cups water
For 3 cups of rice – 6 cups of water minus ½ cup = 5 ½ cups water
For 4 cups of rice – 8 cups of water minus 1 cup = 7 cups water

So, for this biriyani, where 1 ½ cups rice is used, less than double or less than 3 cups, i.e. 2 ¾ cups of water is used.

  • Mutton cooked water – 1 cup
  • Saffron water – ¾ cup
  • Extra plain water – 1 cup

That works out to be 2 ¾ cups water for 1 ½ cups of rice.
Alter plain water according to the quantity of mutton cooked water you have. Add water, mix well.

11. Check for salt. As mutton is already cooked, the water tasted does not consist raw meat. So, go ahead, taste and add salt if needed.

12. Close cooker with lid in full flame. Keep in full flame for 3 whistles. Switch off and wait for the pressure to release by itself.



13.Open cooker and serve hot Biriyani.
Biriyani- Thayir Pachadi / Biriyani- Onions in Yoghurt: Match made in heaven!

Thayir Pachadi – Onions in Yoghurt



Biriyani needs a Thayir pachadi or Raita as in North Indian cuisine. Vegetable, chicken or mutton biriyani, is incomplete without the accompaniment of Pachadi.

Though, there can be many varieties of Pachadi/Raita. In Tamilnadu, a pachadi with just onions and little green chillies for spice is generally served with Biriyani.

  • thinly sliced onions – 3 no.s
  • thick yoghurt – to soak the sliced onions (approximately 3 cups)
  • chopped green chillies – as preferred
  • salt – to taste
  • coriander leaves (fresh) – for garnish


Mix all ingredients together and garnish with coriander leaves. In a restaurant that serves, vengaya pachadi or onion raita – yoghurt is less than mentioned above. But I prefer to have more yoghurt to the quantity Alter quantity of yoghurt as preferred.