The Savjis or Saoji community has its origin in the Malwa region of India. They claim to be the descendants of king Sahastrarjuna and Haihaya dynasty. They lived in the north-central part of India during the 6th-13th century till the advent of Islam in northern part of India. After that the community gradually dispersed to different parts of India.
Saoji community is known for its hot and spicy non-vegetarian delicacies prepared with its special Saoji masala. This community is mainly non-vegetarian. Mutton, Chicken and Fish are an integral part of Saoji cuisin along with other vegetarian dishes. Saoji Bhojanalayas[eateries] are quite popular in places like Hubli, Bangalore, Belgaum, Nagpur, Solapur.
The master chef of India Sanjeev Kapoor once featured Saoji mutton in his show which says it all about the popularity of the dish. Week ends are for mutton and chicken. This week I picked up Saoji mutton curry to cook following Sanjeev Kapoor's recipe. I made little changes like skipping poppyseed as I stay in Singapore, added mace and nutmeg to add more flavour to the dish. I also went through other sources for the Saoji spices where use of nutmeg and mace has been mentioned. I changed the amount of the spices according to our taste buds. Let us proceed with the recipe.
Mutton : 1kg
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Garlic Paste : 1tbsp
Onion : 2medium
Coriander Seeds : 1/2tsp
Caraway Seeds : 1/2tsp[shahi jeera]
Cloves : 3-4
Black Peppercorns : 12-15
Green Cardamoms : 3-4
Black Cardamom : 1
Cinnamon : 1inch
Dry Coconut : 1tsp
Mace : 1[javitri]
Nutneg : 1[jayphal]
Bay leaves : 2-3
Dry Red Chillies : 5-7[or as per your taste]
Poppyseed : 2tsp[skip if you are in Singapore or Dubai]
Stone Flower : 1[I did not have, so skipped]
Turmeric Powder : 1tbsp
Salt : As Required
Lemon Juice : 2-3tbsp
Oil : 5-6 tbsp
Wash the mutton thoroughly and marinate with salt, lemon juice and half of turmeric powder. Keep aside for 3-4 hours or over night is the best. Take out the mutton 1hour before cooking.
Peel, wash and slice the onions. Heat oil in a pan. Fry the onion slices till brown. Cool and grind them to a paste.
Break the nutmeg into smaller pieces. Fry the coriander seeds, caraway seeds, cloves, peppercorns, green and black cardamoms, cinnamon, dry coconut, mace, nutmeg, bayleaves, dry red chillies, poppyseed and stone flower in the same oil.
Take out from the oil, cool and grind to a paste adding water.
Add the ginger and garlic paste to the hot oil. Fry for 2 minutes. Add the onion paste. Fry for another 1 minute. Now add the spice paste, rest of the turmeric and required amount of salt. Add the mutton without the marinade.
Fold in well and fry at high heat for 3-5 minutes stirring constantly. Lower the heat to minimum. Add the marinade, stir and cover.
Open cover and stir every 3-4 minutes. It will take about 45 minutes for the released water to dry up.
Now add 1 big cup warm water to the wok. Stir and cover cook for another 5 minutes at minimum heat. It is done.