Mutton curry as comfort food

Comfort foods. Not just Hagen Daaz or a Basken Robbins or a London Dairy. Sometimes, food offers comfort when it’s a time-tested recipe, the signature of a particular family or community and known to be the dish that cannot go wrong. Every relative I know of has cooked a particular mutton curry that is unique to the folks who originate from North Malabar. Said to have originated from the Khasthriya lineage and warrior professions of kalari and archery, this dish is cooked with soft, boneless mutton and the final output is a dark brown curry, tangy with the aromas of coriander and saunf powders and fresh curry leaves. A thick coconut and onion base gives it a stolidity that one yearns for when in need of comfort. Or in celebration. I pick this dish as a comfort food as it never goes wrong and has been made innumerable times over by my mother, grandmother and her ancestors.
When eaten with a nice solid paratha, this rich curry can tease the taste buds and beguile them into wanting more and more. I finish the paratha and then serve only the curry on my plate many times over. The half-cooked slices of tomato and coriander leaves crunch while the brown, spicy base and the succulent mutton melt in the mouth. Now, isn’t that what one needs when badly in need of succor? When one cannot understand the vagaries of life, relationships, or love.

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