The first meal I ever ordered in Kerala was Mutton Mappas or Keralan lamb curry. It was our first night stay near Munnar.
We sat outside enjoying the scenery and asked for the restaurants specialty dishes. Mutton Mappas was one of them and we could see why!
This is so delicious but a bit difficult to eat as the mutton or lamb is cut into small pieces and cooked on the bone until melt in the mouth tender.
You need to really get in there with your hand and savour every last bite.
Although it looks like a lot of meat, there really isn’t much as most of the weight is in the bones.
Good Asian butchers will be able to supply you with the exact cuts of lamb or mutton you need as curry cuts on the bone are asked for often. However, if eating meat in a curry on the bone isn’t your thing, just ask them to cube it for you.
I recommend giving mutton on the bone a go though.
What makes this Keralan lamb curry a ‘mappas’?
Mappas curries are all about the coriander powder. There’s a lot of it in this recipe. It is the citrusy flavour of the ground coriander that really make this curry.
The sauce is spectacular, spooned over rice and I rarely eat much of the meat as this one is all about the tasty sauce the bone-in mutton produces. You could also make this recipe with chicken.
As with all Indian food, tasting as you go is a great idea. Get those flavours right and you are in for a treat. You can do all of the cooking a day or two ahead of time except for adding the coconut milk.
That is best added when you heat the curry up to serve.
Looking for other delicious lamb curry recipes? Here are some of my other favourites;
- 3 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
- 30 curry leaves – fresh or frozen
- 2 red onions – finely chopped
- 2 green chillies – finely chopped
- 1 x 5cm (2 inch) ginger – finely chopped
- 10 cloves garlic – finely chopped
- 2 tomatoes – diced
- 1 - 2 tbsp Kashmiri chillie powder
- 5 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1.5k cheap lamb cuts on the bone cut small
- 600ml (2 cups) light coconut milk
- Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. When hot, add about 20 curry leaves and infuse them in the oil for about 30 seconds. Then add the chopped onion and fry over medium heat for about 8 minutes or until turning light brown in colour. Now stir in the green chillies, ginger and garlic and give it another good stir. Then add the diced tomatoes and the ground spices.
- Add just enough water to cover and let the meat simmer for 90 minutes or longer. The meat is ready when it's ready so don't rush this. It needs to be super tender which takes longer with mutton than it does lamb.
- To finish, stir in the light coconut milk. Season with salt to taste. This curry is a lot like a good stew. The flavours are amazing. It can be served over rice or just eaten as is.