First Class Railway Mutton (Lamb) Curry
The story goes that this mutton curry recipe is served in all First Class compartments on Indian trains. Regardless, this is a First Class curry!


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  Serves:  6       Print   


  • 1 kg (2.2 lb) lamb or mutton (see Notes)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 100 g cashew nuts (or 250 g cashew nut paste)
  • 2 tomatoes, blended to a purée
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 100 ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp garlic & ginger paste
  • 1 tsp salt
For the marinade
  • 1 tbsp garlic & ginger paste
  • 3 tbsp thick yogurt
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
Whole spices
  • 5 cm "2") piece of cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 bay leaves
Ground spices
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp mace
  1. Mix together the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Add to the meat, mix well to coat the meat, cover and place in the fridge for several hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the whole spices and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the garlic & ginger paste. Stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the onions and stir-fry for 10 minutes until the onions start to brown.
  5. Put the ground spices in a bowl and mix with ½ cup of hot water. Add this slurry to the pan and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the marinated meat and any juices. Stir-fry for about 10 minutes to brown the meat.
  7. Add the cashew nut paste and puréed tomatoes. Mix well.
  8. Add 1 cup of water and the salt. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 3 hours. Stir from time to time and add a little more water if necessary.
  9. The sauce should be thick and the lamb should be tender. Remove the whole spices.
  10. Add the coconut milk, stir well, turn off the heat and leave for 5 minutes before serving.
Titli's Tips
Any cut of lamb or mutton can be used for this dish, either on or off the bone. I use lamb pieces but you could also use lamb shanks.

You may wonder why the ground spices are mixed with water before adding... This simply reduces the chances of the spices burning on the hot pan.

The story behind this curry is that an English army officer became ravenously hungry while travelling in a train. He followed his nose to the pantry car where a spicy mutton curry was simmering. He was offered a taste, whereupon he burnt his tongue because of the spices. The helpful cook reduced the heat with some coconut milk and served it up. From that day on, this curry has been served on all first-class compartments of Indian trains.

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving       % Daily Value
Calories 465 23%
Calories from Fat 282
Total Fat 31.4g 48%
Saturated Fat 15.2g 76%
Unsaturated Fat 10.4g
Amount Per Serving       % Daily Value
Total Carbohydrate 9.7g 3%
Dietary Fibre 1.2g 4%
Sugars 1.6g
Protein 37.0g 74%
Cholesterol 109.4mgs 36%
Percent Daily Values based on a 2,000 calorie diet.