Irachi Varattiyathu (Dry Lamb Masala)

by - November 16, 2011

I love lamb (or mutton as we Indians call it). I love it in every form. I know some consider it fattening. I don't. I cook lamb only once a week and I also firmly believe that red meat is important in a woman's diet (something I remember my mother telling me).

For majority of Keralite Muslims, Friday means 'biryani' day. Since both my husband and I are not huge fans of biryani, I don't make them often. So on most Fridays, I cook lamb. The following is my own recipe for 'irachi varattiyathu' or dry lamb masala. It will vary from other irachi varattiyathu recipes in the fact that I use ground almond, yoghurt and also coconut milk. This recipe was actually an accident - I added all my favourite ingredients while cooking lamb one day during last Ramadan and ended up with a yummylicious recipe. :))

In the picture, you will see that I've served the lamb on a bed of 'gothambu kanji'. Honestly, I'am not sure what to call it in English. It's basically wheat grains cooked in water and some sliced onions. Once its cooked, thick coconut milk is added and simmered for few minutes before taking it off heat.

It's usually made for breakfast and is very healthy. You could have it with salt or sugar. It's also one of my current favourites as it's super easy to make and very fulfilling.

Irachi Varattiyathu
1/2 kg mutton cubes (with bone)
2 onions - thinly sliced
2-3 tomatoes - halved or quartered
1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
2 green chillies - sliced half
1 tbsp red chilli powder
2 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp ground almond
1/2 cup yoghurt - whisk it in a bowl and set aside
1/4 cup thick coconut milk (onnaam paal)
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
salt to taste
few sprigs of curry leaves and mint leaves - chopped

In a pressure cooker (if you do not have a pressure cooker, you could use a heavy bottom saucepan), heat the oil and saute onions, ginger, garlic, curry leaves with ground black pepper and garam masala. Add some salt here so that the onions cook and ooze out their moisture quickly. Saute for three to four minutes.

In your blender, mix 1/4 cup of water, tomatoes, chilli and coriander powders. Add this to the above and cook for couple of minutes. Add the yoghurt tbsp by tbsp and keep cooking the sauce. Add ground almond and cook the sauce for few more minutes. Keep stirring so that the sauce doesn't burn or stick to the bottom. Check seasoning and add more garam masala or ground pepper if required.

Add the mutton cubes and mix well. Pour in rest of the water (feel free to add more if you feel it isn't enough). Close the lid of the pressure cooker and cook on a low heat for 15-20 minutes (if you are not using a pressure cooker, it would take 45-60 minutes).

Open the lid of the cooker (after letting out all the steam) and add the coconut milk. Simmer for three minutes and take it off the heat immediately. (Coconut milk has the tendencey to curdle on high heat.)

Garnish with chopped mint leaves.

Gothambu Kanji

200g wheat grains (soaked for few hours)
milk from 1 coconut
1 large onion sliced
salt for taste

Drain and cook wheat grains in some water and sliced onions. Once its cooked, add the coconut milk and simmer for few minutes before taking it off heat.

Do give these recipes a try and let me know how it turned out.

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  1. Hi there Neelu! Was super excited to hear about another lovely Dubai food blogger from Anja - would love for you to join Fooderati Arabia :) Could you please send us a request at and we'll add you right in!


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