Kolhapur is the land of sugar and jaggery. In striking contrast, it is also home to one of the hottest chillies in India, the Lavangi Mirchi. Truly enough, the mention of this south Maharashtrian city conjures up images of old Maratha pageantry, muscular pehelwaans, and of course, fiery mutton curries with the iconic gravies- Tambda (red) and Pandhra (white) rassa.
One of the strongholds of Maratha dominion, Kolhapur is surrounded by wooded pastures which served has hunting grounds for the kings of yore. This practice led to non vegetarian food becoming the mainstay of Kolhapuri cuisine.
The Kolhapuris prepare their mutton with great care, and the succulent meat is accompanied by a diligently prepared gravy. Among all the popular recipes that this region boasts of, mutton with the Tambda and Pandhra rassas is most favoured.
The Tambda rassa is lent its vivid colouring with the use of the red bedgi variety of chilli- which gives more colour than heat. The base is that of mutton stock, to which ground chilli powder and a myriad of aromatics and spices are added, tempered with generous helpings of oil. The result is a mouth- and eye-watering concoction that is an appetizer by itself.
The heat of the Tambda Rassa is balanced by the comparatively mellow Pandhra rassa. The gravy has for its base mutton stock, ground cashewnuts, poppy seeds and coconut. Seasoned with black pepper, bay leaf and nutmeg, the heat in this one is of a more understated sort.
Served with bhakri or steamed rice, this combination is a veritable food for the gods. For most gourmands, good food is often the best medicine. Pandhra rassa is also consumed as soup- especially beneficial if you have a cold!
Hungry for Kolhapuri Mutton? Enjoy it with the flavoursome Tambda and Pandhra Rassa at the Reacho Food Festival!
Title image: maharecipes