Cooking is truly an art that requires the perfect techniques to achieve impeccable taste. When it comes to mutton, the technique is crucial in determining whether the meat turns out soft and tender or tough and undesirable. You wouldn’t want to serve your guests tough mutton, would you? Don’t worry, we’re here to share some tips and tricks that will make your mutton effortlessly melt in your mouth, leaving you craving for more.
The Art of Tenderizing Mutton
According to the renowned Celebrity Chef Sadaf Hussain, his memories of mutton go all the way back to his childhood and the delicious Eid-ul-Adha feasts. Through his experiences preparing various mutton delicacies like Korma, Razala, Paya, and Biryani, he mastered the art of tenderizing the meat. One method involves using a kitchen hammer to break the muscle fibers or making cuts across the meat with a knife, which allows it to cook faster and become softer.
Chef Amit Bhatia from The Sassy Spoon, Mumbai emphasizes the significance of raw papaya in Indian cooking for tenderizing mutton. Slow cooking and braising are also key techniques in maintaining its tenderness.
Introducing the Techniques
Let’s explore some ingenious ways to make your mutton incredibly tender:
1. Master the Art of Slicing
Did you know that how you slice the meat plays a vital role in achieving tenderness? To obtain soft and tender slices, cut across the direction of the muscle fibers rather than with them. This method not only prevents the meat from becoming chewy but also aids in breaking up tough proteins, allowing the meat to absorb tenderizing marinades more effectively. So, if you believe that the slicing process doesn’t matter much, think again!
2. Elevate Your Marination Game
Chef Sadaf suggests marinating the meat in curd or papaya paste for a minimum of 2-3 hours, and if time permits, let it soak for about 6-7 hours. For delightful dishes like Kachi Gosht ki Biryani or Galouti Kebab, overnight marination is a must. You can also use ingredients like curd, papaya, buttermilk, or acidic fruits such as lemon or kiwi along with salt and pepper to break down the tough fibers. While nutmeg is commonly used, it alters the flavor, so it’s best to avoid it. The acids present in a well-prepared marinade help to break down the collagen between the muscle fibers, resulting in tender and succulent meat. Marination not only enhances tenderness but also adds moisture, making the meat irresistibly juicy.
3. Discover the Perfect Cooking Method
One effective way to achieve tender mutton is through slow cooking. Following Chef Amit’s advice, braise or slow cook the mutton for more than 3 hours on low heat. This European cooking technique allows the tough fibers, collagens, and connective tissues to gradually break down, resulting in beautifully tender meat.
4. Salt as a Secret Weapon
If you prefer not to marinate the mutton, salting it can work wonders. Simply salt the meat and let it sit for an hour or two before cooking. This process effectively breaks down the muscle fibers without any hassle. Rinse off the excess salt and get ready to cook your mutton to perfection.
Apart from these techniques, it’s crucial to buy the right quality of meat. Chef Sadaf recommends looking for pieces with clear, hard, and white fat when purchasing meat. Freshly butchered meat is more vibrant and appealing compared to old or frozen meat. Additionally, inspect the meat fibers; if they appear broken or loose, it likely indicates poor quality meat.
If you have any other secret tips to make mutton even softer and tenderer, we’d love to hear them!