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Mutton do pyaza – soaked in memories !!

Mutton do pyaaza, very close to my heart, is a beautiful mutton dish from India, full of flavour that comes from slow braising on low heat and onions are added in two stages, full of bold and rustic flavour, worthy of special occasions.

This space was silent for more than a week because of our re location to India. Frequent relocations are not good, I tell you,  but it always feels good to be back home again. In today’s global world, however the word “home” has transgressed many boundaries though !

With a messy household and cluttered kitchen, my Durga pujo this year is far from anything that you would have dreamt of. No shopping, no pandal hopping, no chomping on the sumptuous Bengali fare at restaurants. Sigh !!! Very colorless , lack luster but I wont crib about it.

Instead lets talk about todays special recipe, close to my heart, weaved with so many fond memories of yesteryear. Mutton do pyaaza – the way my Baba (Dad) used to cook. Sounds genuinely appetizing with extra supplement of onions used lavishly in the dish. Whoever coined the term “do pyaza” first, has invoked lots of arguments among the food connoisseurs. One school of thought holds that it uses two onions, hence “do pyaza“, the other with whom I has certain affinity holds that onion is used in two stages while cooking, hence “do pyaaza“.

mutton do pyaaza

Here is a snippet from the book “Curry in the Crown: The Story of Britain’s Favourite Dish written by Shrabani Basu. … where an English traveller in seventeenth century took fancy of mutton do pyaza and wrote – “Among many dishes of this kind, I will take notice of one they call deu pario (do pyaza), made of venison cut into slices, to which they put onions, herbs and some roots, with little spice and butter : the most savory meat I have ever tasted … “

I never got the opportunity to ask my Baba, why he had used onions in two stages, I was never interested to know the finer details of cooking, that was me in some other timescale. Now when I try to recollect those days, all I could find few sketchy memories of a small sigri (a kind of hearth) tucked in a corner in a smoky courtyard, just beneath that lone mango tree, an aluminium dekchi half filled with freshly cut goat meat, a huge thala (large plate) with sliced onions, few cloves, cinnamon, couple of bay leaves, few cardamom and few red chillies soaked in water.

Indian mutton curry


Meat was never marinated for this recipe, just smeared enough with mustard oil, salt and turmeric. The same way we also made Aloo Gosht or Meat curry with big potatoes (Mangsher jhol in Bengali), except adding extra onions. For this recipe, half of the onions will be slowly caramelized first , then followed by meat pieces, spices and will be braised slowly on a charcoal heat. Water was never added, he believed it dilute the taste. The meat used to be so tender and fresh that it released enough juices to cook the meat in that liquid. The hot coals lends a nice smoky aroma to the dish and house was filled with heavenly flavor. Mutton do pyaaza was then devoured with hot plain parathas and sirke wali pyaaz / vinegary pearl onions on side. Smoky, rustic and bold.

indian mutton recipes

Mutton do pyaza - soaked in memories !!

Mutton do pyaaza is a beautiful mutton dish from India, full of flavour comes from slow braising on low heat and onions are added in two stages, full of bold and rustic flavour.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Mutton do pyaaza
Servings: 4
Author: Sukanya Ghosh


  • 1 kg Mutton / goat
  • 3 Red onions , large
  • 1 Garlic
  • 2 tbsp Ginger , minced
  • 4-5 Red chillies depending upon your preference
  • 8-10 Cloves
  • 2-3 Black cardamom
  • Cinnamon : 1 stick
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp Cumin powder
  • 2-3 tbsp Mustard oil


  • Wash the meat pieces well and rub it with salt, turmeric powder and one teaspoon of mustard oil. Cover it and keep aside for 15 minutes.
  • Finely chopped large onions, minced the cloves of garlic and soak the red chillies in water for 20 minutes.
  • Lightly roast the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Grind them to a fine powder.
  • Grind the red chillies to a fine paste.
  • In a deep bottom vessel, heat the mustard oil till it reaches its smoking point.
  • Add the finely chopped onion, saute for a while till it becomes translucent. Add the ginger and garlic, continue saute on medium heat.
  • Add red chilli paste and ground spice mix, fry for couple of minutes and add the meat pieces.
  • Braise the meat on high heat, till the rawness disappear.
  • Continue braising the meat on medium heat for around 10 minutes till it releases some water.
  • Add cumin powder and continue braising the meat on low heat now till the oil comes out.
  • This will take some time.
  • Meanwhile finely sliced two other large onions and in a separate non stick pan, caramelise the onion. A tiny pinch of sugar and salt helps to get nice caramelised color and also quicken the process.
  • Once braising is done, add enough hot water just to cover the meat pieces.
  • Cover and let it simmer for half an hour or more till the meat is tender.
  • Check the seasonings, stir in the caramelised onions and serve hot.
  • Mutton do pyaaza goes well with paratha or roti.


This is a slow braising meat dish, and more you braise it, more it will taste better.
I cook mutton in big dekchi or deep bottom vessel. But you can use pressure cooker to save time and fuel.
If the meat is tender enough and release enough juices, then no need to add water. Or adjust the amount of water accordingly. However, I do not prefer to add water.
Large onions means really large (US standard) , so adjust the amount of onion accordingly.
I have used pearl onion for garnish, and has chopped few of them and add it to the dish. This is optional.


This mutton do pyaaza recipe is unassuming simple, yet bold with full of rustic charm and smoky flavours. No tomatoes, no curds and no marination is required for this dish. Simple, yet beautiful and best enjoyed with roti or plain parathas.

Please check our Chukandar Gosht or Meat curry or stew with beetroots, if you are up for different flavour.

Also do try our  Bengali Mutton Kosha and Mutton Chaap, festival favourites.

Enjoy the festive days



  • Reply
    ushnish ghosh
    October 11, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    That is some recipe , I tell you , cant wait to try it . Also saw great mutton dishes that I have missed …reading them and will cook too.

    • Reply
      October 13, 2013 at 10:37 am

      I always prefer slow braised mutton dishes and do pyazaa is such a simplistic one. Do give it a try and tell me how it fares, would love to know the feedback from an expert like you.

  • Reply
    Helene D'Souza
    October 11, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    I would be happily munching on your mutton curry now. The ingredients sound all fantastic! I have never used so much mustard oil in my cooking, so would be interesting to see how it comes. Can it be that there are different mustard oil qualities?

    • Reply
      October 13, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Thank you Helen. Mustard oil has high pungent flavour, so to reduce its pungency a bit, the oil is always heated up to its smoking point. And it is not advisable to use mustard oil in the later stages of cooking, unlike other oils because it leaves an aftertaste of raw mustard oil in food. If you have not tried mustard oil before, you can try it in non veg dishes, it blends better that way. Once you are adapted to its taste and flavour, you can try it in veg dishes also.
      As mustard oil is known for its pungency, the more pungent the oil, the better it is.
      In India some pure mustard oil brands are, without any blend with other oil – Dhara and fortune. While in USA, I prefer to use Radhuni brand from Bangladesh.
      In USA, mustard blend with soybean oil is also available.
      But we prefers the pure mustard oil only.
      Hope it helps

  • Reply
    Suman Arthy
    October 11, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    wow…i love it…gravy looks very tempting…im sure my whole family will love this dish….

  • Reply
    October 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    5 stars
    Loved reading your post. It took me back to my childhood too, when dad used to make his favorite dal on an angeethi and it lent such an amazing smoky taste.

    The mutton looks so delicious, I could devour it right away! I too do not add water to the lamb until and unless it has to be served with rice and needs some gravy. The difference in taste between the two ways of cooking is huge.

    • Reply
      October 15, 2013 at 9:02 pm

      Thank you so much Taruna. I really missed those simple days, cooking was so simple and unfussy , and meals were not hidden behind any fancier terms. Yes charcaol lends such an extraordianry flavour to any dish, nothing can recreate that. And thats the reason I love bhuna gosht more than any other meat dish.


  • Reply
    Barnali Biswas
    October 12, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Your recipe comes at such an apt time. Just today me and hubby planned that tomorrow for Nabami we will be getting some mutton. But we were clueless as to what we can prepare which would suite the festive season. I thought I would recreate one of my own creations the Rogan Josh. Now after reading this lovely recipe my mind is made up.
    Hope you are having a wonderful Durga Puja. And happy re locating to India.

    • Reply
      October 13, 2013 at 10:52 am

      Thank you so much Barnali. Even at our home, we can not think of Nabami without luchi and mangsho. I was looking for rogan josh recipe for long, now that you have mentioned it, will check your recipe. Please do try it and would love to know your feedbacks.
      Happy Durga puja to you too.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    Happy Durga Pujo.
    I love this pooja, in fact was there for Ashtami pooja yesterday and just enjoyed every minute of it.
    this dish is so inviting and yummy looking.

    • Reply
      October 15, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      Happy Dusshera to you too. Hope you had a lovely time with your family.


  • Reply
    October 17, 2013 at 10:52 am

    mutton do Pyaza looks so yummy…!!

  • Reply
    Neera Dhawan
    October 17, 2013 at 1:22 pm


    I would like to clarify. Is it a whole pod of garlic to be chopped before using?

    And another thing is, if I have never cooked mutton before, will I get it right? What part of mutton should I get, or how to get the meat chopped? Please advice. Thanks.

    • Reply
      October 17, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      Hi Neera,

      Yes, a whole pod of garlic need to be minced. Atleast 12-15 medium size cloves of garlic you should get from one garlic pod.

      Cooking mutton is very simple, you can not get it wrong. Even if you dont follow any particular recipe, mutton will taste good. Just with onions, ginger, garlic and few basic spices, mutton taste way better than chicken. If the meat is not tender, since you are saying you havent cooked it before, try tp cook it in pressure cooker, just 3-4 whistle. Meat will drip off easily from the bones. Once you gained expertise, you can cook it in pan or dekchi. Only thing need to remember, you have to patiently braise (bhuno) it for long time. You have to measure the water and let it simmer for atleast 30 minutes. Sometimes it may take longer than that. if you can handle it, go for it.
      Coming to buying a mutton, if you are staying in India, then most of the butcher shop will try to sell you pre-packed fresh / frozen mix goat curry pieces. If the butcher is relaible, you can go for it. Else, if you want the butcher to chop the mutton in front of you, then ask for meat portions from leg. For special need, ribs are also good. If you waant lean meat, then ask the butcher to trim off the fat. Mutton in small – medium pieces cooks easily and taste better. If you need to chop the mutton at home, use your cleaver and chop it in desired sizes.

      Hope it helps and go for it. It will turn out good.
      All the best

  • Reply
    Neera Dhawan
    October 18, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Hi Sukanya

    Thanks a lot for this ..I’m going to try it this weekend and I’m excited! I live in Malaysia and we do have butchers who would chop mutton for me. So I go for the meat from the leg right as you advised?

    Can’t wait!

    Thanks a lot once again 🙂

    • Reply
      October 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      My pleasure Neera.

      Yes, ask for the meat from leg. If you dont want the fat, ask your butcher to trim it for you.

      And please let me know how it turned out for you.

      All the best

  • Reply
    Neera Dhawan
    October 19, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Hi dear

    Made the mutton today…a bit disappointed….not because of the recipe, but the meat wasn’t tender at the end of almost an hour and a half process.

    My husband says it’s because the mutton was Australian and not local mutton? Do you think that makes any difference?


    • Reply
      October 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      Dear Neera, am so sorry to learn that.

      Now if you have any leftover mutton, cook it in pressure cooker until tender. When we talk about tenderness in mutton, we meant that it is soft, not chewy and filled with gravy juces. In no condition, you will be able to cut it with spoon.
      Mature mutton – dry, chewy and fibrous.
      How to identify that raw meat is matured ? If the fat is yellowish, dull and looks old. When you buy the mutton, look for the quality of the fat. It should be white or creamish, soft and vein like appearance or marbled appearance.

      In case of matured mutton, because at times we too bought it specially when it comes in pre cut packages, and with practice we come to know the condition while washing the meat. We use tenderizer such as grated raw papaya and marinate it for hours in spices.

      Coming to the type of mutton you have bought – Australian and Newzealand meat products are considered as best livestock in the world. I have used Newzealand grass fed lamb shanks, while I was in USA, and it was the best I have eaten so far.
      If you want to try mutton again, ask for kid lamb, if available in your country.
      Hope you will not give easily on your mutton adventure 😀
      It happens, we all learn it gradually. You will too cook wonderful mutton dishes.
      Happy cooking

  • Reply
    October 31, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    That is one amazing mansho. I am drooling. There is nothing like a great bowl of kosha mansho with luchi….just divine!!!

  • Reply
    September 23, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    It’s my all time favourite recipe for mutton doh pyaaza. I had been cooking this dish for donkey’s years and had never achieved the glorious finish that I did with this recipe. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. I have sent it to my son who is now in college and wants to cook occasionally.

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