Railway Mutton Curry

4.75 from 8 votes

Made especially for the elite class traveling in first-class compartments of Indian railways during pre-independence, Railway Mutton Curry is a milder take on spicy Indian Mutton Curry. Here is how to make it.

If you want more Mutton Recipes, here are some of my other favorites: Mutton Korma, Mutton Rara, Mutton Kulambu, Punjabi Mutton Curry, and Kashmiri Mutton Rogan Josh.

Railway mutton curry served in a bowl.
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About Railway Mutton Curry

Railway Mutton Curry, as the name suggests, originated from the Indian Railways. Served in the first-class coaches of Indian Railways during pre-independence or British Raj times, this mutton curry is a mellowed-down version of the spicy Indian Mutton Curry.

The spice level was toned down from using coconut milk to suit the palate of the sahibs traveling in the first-class compartments of Indian railways.

This curry is no longer served on the railways but has much history.

It involves boiled mutton pieces cooked in a spicy onion, tomato, and potato curry, whose flavors are mellowed down with coconut milk.

Serve it with steamed rice or Indian breads like tandoori roti, phulka, or naan.

You can make this curry in a traditional stovetop pressure cooker or an instant pot.

I used my 3-quart instant pot (or a 3-liter stovetop pressure cooker). To scale the recipe, use a bigger instant pot or pressure cooker. The cooking time will remain the same.

History Of Railway Style Mutton Curry

During the pre-independence days, the Indian cooks in Frontier Mail, run by the Western Railways, prepared a meal for themselves after a busy day serving the guests in the first class.

Then, a British officer, traveling First Class, reached the pantry for a midnight snack, following the fragrance of the food being cooked.

Surprised, the chef offered him the mutton curry and a stale dinner roll.

When the officer took its first bite, he burnt his tongue.

The officer demanded that the curry be mellowed down, and the chef generously added some coconut milk, thereby reducing the pungency of the spices.

The officer left the pantry satisfied, but when he visited again and could not remember the dish’s name, he called it the Railway Mutton Curry, and that’s how the dish got its name.

Ingredients

Mutton – The traditional railway curry uses bone-in goat mutton. Lamb meat can be substituted for goat.

If you dislike bone-in pieces, use boneless mutton cut into 1and ½ inch pieces.

Potatoes – Like Bengali mutton curry, this curry uses big pieces of potatoes.

Potatoes are cooked in the curry itself; therefore, you do not have to boil them. Just peel and half them to add to the curry.

Coconut Milk – It is used to mellow down the spicy curry.

You can either use store-bought coconut milk or make it at home. I have mentioned the process of making coconut milk at home in the post below.

Oil – For an authentic flavor, make this curry in mustard oil.

If you don’t have mustard oil, you can make this delicious mutton curry with any cooking oil or even ghee.

Whole Spices – You will need whole spices such as bay leaves (tejpatta), cloves (laung), green cardamoms (hari elaichi), black cardamoms (badi elaichi), fennel seeds (saunf), cumin seeds, and dry red chilies.

Spice Powders – In addition to whole spices, you will need some everyday spice powders, such as coriander powder, turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, cumin powder, and salt.

You can increase the amount of red chili powder if you want the curry to be spicier.

Tamarind Pulp – Traditionally, tamarind pulp or white vinegar was added to this curry to add tang and ensure it lasted longer.

Others – You will also need red onions, ginger-garlic paste, and cilantro (fresh coriander leaves).

How To Make Railway Mutton Curry

Cook The Mutton

Rinse 2 pounds (1 kg) of bone-in goat mutton (cut into 1 and ½ inch pieces) and add it to a pressure cooker.

Add 2 cups of water and 2 teaspoon salt and stir gently.

Mutton, salt and water added to a pressure cooker.

Close the lid and pressure cook for 1 whitle on high heat. Reduce the heat and cook for 20 minutes.

Remove the cooker from heat and let the pressure release naturally.

Note – You can also cook the mutton in an instant pot. Add the mutton, 1 cup of water, and salt to the instant pot and secure the lid. Press PRESSURE COOK and set the timer to 20 minutes at high pressure. Once the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Release the remaining pressure manually and open the lid.

Cooked mutton.

Make The Curry

While the mutton is cooking, make the curry.

Heat 5 tablespoon mustard oil in a pan over medium-high heat.

Add the following ingredients once the oil is hot, and let them crackle for 4-5 seconds.

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 2-3 green cardamoms
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-3 dry red chilies
Whole spices added to hot oil in a pan.

Add 1 and ½ cups of thinly sliced red onions and cook until they turn slightly brown (7-8 minutes), stirring frequently.

Onions added to the pan.

Now, add 2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste and cook until onions turn nicely brown.

Ginger garlic paste added to the pan.

Add the following spice powders and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
Spice powders added to the pan.

Reduce the heat to low.

Add the cooked mutton along with the broth and 2 potatoes (peeled and cut into half). Mix well.

Cooked mutton, broth and potatoes added to the pan.

Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked well, stirring a few times.

Pan covered with a lid.

Add 1 tablespoon tamarind paste and 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Now add 1 cup of coconut milk and cook until the curry comes to a gentle simmer.

Check for salt and add more if needed.

Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with steamed rice or roti.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this railway-style curry using chicken?

Yes, this curry can be made with chicken instead of mutton.

Remember that cooking chicken takes less time than mutton, so cook accordingly.

You can cook chicken in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles on high heat. Then remove the cooker from heat and let the pressure naturally. Open the lid. Then, follow the rest of the recipe the same way.

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Made especially for the elite class traveling in First Class compartments of Indian railways during the pre-independence time, Railway Mutton Curry is a milder take on the spicy Indian Mutton Curry. Here is how to make it (gluten-free).
4.75 from 8 votes

Railway Mutton Curry Recipe

Made especially for the elite class traveling in First Class compartments of Indian railways during the pre-independence time, Railway Mutton Curry is a milder take on the spicy Indian Mutton Curry. Here is how to make it.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds bone-in goat mutton (1 kg, cut into 1 and ½ inch pieces)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 5 tablespoons mustard oil (or any other cooking oil)
  • 2 bay leaves (tejpatta)
  • 2-3 cloves (laung)
  • 2-3 green cardamoms (hari elaichi)
  • 2 black cardamoms (badi elaichi)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2-3 dry red chilies
  • 1 and ½ cups thinly sliced onions
  • 2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
  • 2 potatoes (peeled and cut into half)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp (or 1 tablespoon white vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (fresh coriander leaves)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
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Instructions 

Cook The Mutton

  • Rinse mutton and add it to a pressure cooker.
  • Add 2 cups of water and salt and stir gently.
  • Close the lid and pressure cook for 1 whitle on high heat. Reduce the heat and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the cooker from heat and let the pressure release naturally.
  • Note – You can also cook the mutton in an instant pot. Add mutton, 1 cup of water, and salt in an instant pot and secure the lid. Press PRESSURE COOK and set the timer to 20 minutes at high pressure. Once the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Release the remaining pressure manually and open the lid.

Make The Curry

  • While the mutton is cooking, make the curry.
  • Heat mustard oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, add bay leaves, cloves, green cardamoms, black cardamoms, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, and dry red chilies, and let them crackle for 4-5 seconds.
  • Add onions and cook until they turn slightly brown (7-8 minutes), stirring frequently.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and cook until onions turn nicely brown.
  • Now add coriander powder, turmeric powder, chili powder, and cumin powder, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low.
  • Add the cooked mutton along with the broth and potatoes. Mix well.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked well, stirring a few times while cooking.
  • Add tamarind paste and cilantro and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Now add coconut milk and cook until the curry comes to a gentle simmer.
  • Check for salt and add more if needed.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with steamed rice or roti.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

I used my 3-quart instant pot ( or a 3-liter stovetop pressure cooker). If scaling the recipe, use a bigger instant pot or pressure cooker. The cooking time will remain the same.

Nutrition

Calories: 694kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 56g, Saturated Fat: 24g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 22g, Cholesterol: 110mg, Sodium: 144mg, Potassium: 902mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 377IU, Vitamin C: 41mg, Calcium: 70mg, Iron: 5mg
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4.75 from 8 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Gm Mam ji ,
    Nice blog, very informative.
    Mouth watering.
    Historical review is superb.
    Tysm.
    Dr.Patil.Rajendra.
    Kharghar.
    Navi Mumbai.