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Spicy Mutton Stew

A very delicious spicy lamb stew.

The day to day food of the Indian Jewish , many years ago, was based mainly on rice and fish, and chicken dishes for weekends. Lamb was served on special occasions and especially on Passover.

As a child who spent a lot of time in the moshav with my grandparents, I remember the early preparations for Passover: cleaning, preparing the dishes, my grandmother used to buy fabrics and sew new bed linen, from the old one, she sew new pillow covers. Every year, on top of working on the farm in the moshav and in the chicken coop, she used to to paint all the the house by herself.

The early seventies were different days, from what we use today.

In Cochin, the main occupation of the Cochin Jews was trade and merchandise, and when they immigrated to Israel, most of them lived in different settelments called "Moshav" and started to worked in agriculture. They worked very hard, but they never complained.

my grandfather was a shrewd merchant, and succeded to purchased a grocery store which he managed for many years. He never took a day off, not eaven for a sick leave. Every morning he used to go out, riding on his bicycle through the paths between the hills that surrounded the vilage, in order to get to work, and he return only in the evening.

Before Passover, my grandfather's responsability was the lamb. He used to by a lamb for all the large extended family. The slaughter was done in the behind the house yard. Then he used to sit with his endless patience in the yard with huge tubs, to clean and cut the lamb into pieces that would be ready for cooking.

The lamb arm that was in the middle of the Seder bowel, and the lamb stew that was served to the center of the table on Passover evening dinner was one of the delights of the holiday.


1.5 Lamb meat suitable for long cooking, cut into 3 cm cubes

5-6 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon of crushed ginger

2 onions

1-2 green chilli pepper

5-6 tomatoes

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1 teaspoon tamarind paste or vinegar


1 tablespoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon ground coriander


  1. Heat oil in a wide pot

  2. Lightly fry the garlic and ginger

  3. Add the onion and chili pepper and fry until golden

  4. Add the meat cubes and fry them on all sides, when the meat changes color close the pot with a lid and cook on a low flame for about 20 minutes

  5. Add the tomatoes, mix well, bring to a boil and cook another 20 minutes covered on a low flame

  6. Add all the spices, tomato paste and tamarind, mix and cook for about two hours until the meat is tender

  7. Stir occasionally and if necessary add a samll cup of water

  8. Towards the end of cooking, you can add potato cubes and cook until they soften.

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