Fresh curry leaves and black cardamom makes this curry sing. If you prefer lamb to mutton, reduce the cooking time by 1 hour.
Serves four to six
1kg mutton meat, cut into 4cm pieces
60ml lime juice
2½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp smoky paprika
1 tsp caster sugar
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin
Salt and black pepper
14 black cardamom pods, lightly broken
12 fresh curry leaves
½ red chilli, thinly sliced
10g ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Sunflower oil, for frying
600g charlotte potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm dice
3 red peppers, deseeded and cut into 2cm pieces
6 spring onions, cut on an angle into 2cm slices
100ml coconut milk (optional)
Put the mutton in a large bowl with three tablespoons of lime juice, one and a half teaspoons of curry powder, the paprika, sugar, garlic, half a teaspoon of salt and some pepper. Mix, cover and marinate in the fridge for at least two hours.
Place a large, heavy-based pan on high heat and brown the meat all over (if it catches, add a little oil). Reduce the heat to low, cover and leave the meat to simmer gently in its own juices for about three hours, until tender. Check occasionally that there is enough liquid in the pan: you will need to add water a few times, but make sure there is no more than 1cm of liquid. When the meat's been cooking for two hours (1 hour for lamb), add the cardamom, curry leaves, chilli and ginger.
While the meat is cooking, pour sunflower oil into a large frying pan so it comes 0.5cm up the sides. Add the potatoes and fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown. Transfer to kitchen towel.
When the meat is done, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, then skim as much fat as you can off the surface of the juices. Add the red peppers, remaining curry powder and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring, on high heat for three minutes. Add the potato and spring onion, sauté for a minute, then return the meat to the pan. Add the remaining lime juice and the coconut milk, heat up and serve at once.