On a recent bazaar walk near Chor Bazaar (Thieves Market), I spotted a group of men making mutton kurma for a feast in the evening. I stopped for five minutes to chat and photograph. I've promised to bring back colour photos the next time I go there.
So here's what I saw:
Step 1: Saute onions with garam masala, until the onions turn red. Lots and lots of onions, enough to thickly layer the bottom of this vessel. Lots of oil too. When the onions are ready, add the mutton.
The guy holding the mutton basket is the Master Chef. He was a man of few words, but clearly the boss. Actually, it was pretty cool to see. His vocabulary was a whole bunch of terse sentences, each with not more than 2 words. If he said something, the others would hop to it, pronto. They were pretty smooth as a team.
Step 2: Stir the mutton and onions together for about 5 minutes. Requires muscles.
Step 3: Ginger, garlic and green chillies - ground into a paste. Exercise discretion. This plate was heaped full, before most of it was added to the waiting mutton.
Step 4: Turmeric - lots of it. He actually just picked up a handful and flung it carelessly into the pot.
Step 5: Add a pan full of tomatoes. Clearly not a major ingredient, but a critical one.
Step 6: A litre of water, and a full handful of salt - looks delicious already.
Step 7: Now the magic trick - layer with more onions. This is about half way through the process of layering. By the time the layering was done, all the mutton was covered.
Step 8: Close and cook until the mutton is tender.
Step 9: Here's the team that orchestrated the whole thing. Master Chef with Assistants.