Chettinad Mutton kuzhambu (Karaikudi mutton curry)

Chettinad food is popular for its non-vegetarian dishes in chettinad region in Tamil Nadu. Some of the popular food in chettinad cuisine is chicken curry, mutton curry, fish curry, adirasam and many more dishes. Chettinad cuisine is popular for its hotness (spicy), variety of spices and freshly ground spices for non-vegetarian dishes.

Chettinad mutton kuzhambu or chettinad mutton curry is a spicy, hot and aromatic dish which is flavoured with aromatic and distinctive spices like dagad phool (kal pasi or black stone flower), nutmeg and mace (jaiphal and javitri), staranise in addition to shallots (sambar onions), which is important for this dish. Don’t compromise with the ingredients given or else you will not get the chettinad mutton taste. The distinctive spices used in the dish gives it an aromatic and distinctive flavour and taste to the chettinad mutton kuzhambu/curry.

My previous mutton chettinad curry is different from this recipe, as I have not used spices which make this curry different. Refer to my chettinad chicken curry recipe, which uses similar spices but has a few additional ingredients and the method of cooking is different from this recipe.

The chettinad mutton curry best tastes with parotta, roti, idli, dosa, idiyappam or just plain rice.

Preparation time: 20 mins

Cooking time: 50 mins

Cuisine: Chettinad

Serves: 4 to 5

Spiciness: Hot


  • Mutton – 600 gms
  • For roast and grind masala

  • Cloves – 6(small)
  • Green Cardamom – 6(small)
  • Cinnamon stick – 1inch
  • Star anise – 1
  • Dagad phool (black stone flower) – 1tbsp
  • Mace (javitri) – 1 flower
  • Nutmeg (jaiphal) – a very small piece, or 1/4th tsp
  • Coriander seeds – 2tbsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1tsp
  • Black pepper seeds – 2tsp
  • Fennel seeds – 2tsp
  • Fresh coconut – 4tbsp
  • For boiling mutton

  • Oil – 1tbsp
  • Onion – 160gm or 1big
  • Tomato – 190gm or 2(medium)
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 4tsp
  • Chilli powder – 1tbsp
  • Coriander powder – 2tbsp
  • Cumin powder – 1tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1tsp
  • Water – 3cups
  • Gravy/curry

  • Oil – 1/4th cup
  • Bay leaf – 2
  • Fennel seeds (saunf) – 1/2tsp
  • Curry leaves – 20 or more
  • Shallots – 100gms
  • Green chilli – 4(slit)
  • Water – 1/2cup
  • Coriander leaves – 1/4th cup (chopped)


  • Chop shallots and onion finely, keep it ready.
  • Take all the ingredients under “For roast and grind masala” and roast it without oil, on low flame, until aroma comes and it becomes lightly brown. In the end, add fresh coconut and roast lightly and switch off. Allow to cool and grind it to a fine powder.
  • Cooking mutton

  • Take a pressure cooker, add all the ingredients written under boiling mutton ingredients. Add water, close the lid and pressure cook until about 4 to 5 whistles or until mutton is cooked. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and then open the lid. Keep it aside. A basic mutton curry is formed.
  • Cooking kuzlumbhu/curry

  • Now take a cooking vessel, add oil and when hot add whole spices bay leaves, fennel seeds and curry leaves. Let it splutter for a few seconds. Add the shallots, sauté until it is soft and golden colour.
  • Add green chillies sauté for 2 mins, then add roasted ground powder and roast it with onion mixture for 2 to 3 mins on a medium or low flame without burning the spices. Add 1/2 cup water and cook for 3 mins.
  • Add cooked mutton liquid only (not the meat) and boil for 10 mins or until it forms like kuzhambu/curry.
  • Add the mutton pieces and any remaining liquid and mix well. Boil for 5 minutes. The mutton kuzambhu starts leaving oil and the spices are cooked well.
  • Add chopped coriander leaves and mix well. Lower the flame and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes with the lid closed. Switch off.
  • Allow it to rest for about 10 mins and delicious karaikudi/chettinadu mutton curry is ready.
  • Serve this hot, spicy chettinad mutton kalumbu with idli, dosa or idiyappam.


  • You can reduce the chillies or chilli powder as per your taste.
  • You can add poppy seeds (kus-kus) in the roasted spices when coconut paste is added.
  • While cooking kuzhambu/curry add water as required and as per your consistency. This chettinad mutton kuzhambu is more of curry type, sauce consistency is more so that it can be eaten with dosa or idli or parotta.
  • When my curry got cold, it became thick, so I added a cup of water as per my consistency.
  • You can prepare with chicken or vegetables with the same ingredients.
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