The Railway Mutton Curry is a direct throw back to the days of the British Raj to as early as the early 1900s, when traveling by train was considered aristocratic. . This wonderful curry was first served on the long distance train (The Blue Train) between Bombay to Calcutta, and in the Refreshment Rooms on Victoria Terminus Station in erstwhile Bombay. It was presumably innovated by the Spencer’s Railway Catering Service at Victoria Terminus. As its very name suggests, this very popular and tasty dish was prepared and served in Railway Refreshment Rooms and only in First Class Cabins on long distance trains, with Bread or Dinner Rolls. The curry was not too spicy keeping in mind the delicate palates of the British. It was prepared with tender pieces of lamb or mutton, potatoes and other Indian condiments along with the addition of either vinegar, tamarind juice or yogurt to offset the spice as well as to to preserve the dish for the many hours of journey time. It was also popular with the Anglo-Indian Railway staff who had to be on duty for long periods at a stretch. The vinegar or Tamarind juice used in its preparation ensured that the curry would last for quite a few days and was an ideal accompaniment with rice as well.
1 kg tender lamb or mutton cut into medium size pieces
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
2 big onions sliced finely
2 medium size tomatoes chopped
2 pieces cinnamon (about one inch in size)
2 or 3 cloves
4 red chilies broken into bits
2 teaspoons chillie powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
Salt to taste
3 or 4 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons vinegar or ½ cup of tamarind juice
3 or 4 tablespoons coconut paste or coconut milk
3 potatoes boiled, peeled and cut into quarters
Boil the meat in a little water, salt and a pinch of turmeric till tender.
Remove the boiled meat and keep the remaining soup aside.
Heat oil in a suitable pan and fry the onions, red chillies and whole spices and pepper corns till golden brown. Add chopped tomato, ginger garlic paste, salt chillie powder, coriander powder and cumin powder and fry for a few minutes till the tomatoes turn pulpy.
Add the parboiled meat and soup and mix well. Cook first on medium heat then on low heat till the gravy dries up a little. Now add the boiled potatoes, coconut, vinegar / Tamarind juice and simmer till the gravy is slightly thick.
Note: The same recipe could be used for Railway Chicken Curry