Mutton Kolhapuri is a dish from the region of Kolhapur in India. It traditionally is made from mutton, tomatoes, a mixture of many toasted spices, and a large amount of hot chili peppers. The amount of spicy heat in the classic preparation of mutton Kolhapuri can be overwhelming for some who eat it, although home cooks can easily adjust the spices to reduce the amount of heat. The cooking process is fairly simple, involving a marinade for the meat and slow cooking until all the ingredients have come together and the mutton is tender. To reduce the amount of time needed to complete the dish, it is not uncommon to perform the final stage of cooking mutton Kolhapuri in a pressure cooker.
The main flavoring in mutton Kolhapuri, aside from the mutton itself, is the mixture of various spices. This generally can be referred to as a garam masala, which literally means "a hot mixture". The types of spices that are added are as important as the technique used to create the masala. The spices are usually toasted in a dry pan — while they are still whole, if possible — to release their oils and become aromatic, concentrating their flavors. The roasted spices are then ground in a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder until they are a powder, although some versions add a little vinegar or coconut milk to make a paste.
The garam masala for mutton Kolhapuri contains a base of peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, star anise and green and black cardamom seeds. A bay leaf, cinnamon, fennel seeds, poppy seeds and dried coconut also can be added. Finally, the hot red chili peppers or dried chilies are added to the masala. Some recipes call for 20 or more peppers to be added to the dish, while others use only a handful, though the actual amount can be based on the tastes of the cook. All the spices are roasted dry in a pan and then ground into a powder, sometimes with a little coconut milk added at the end.
A paste is made from garlic, ginger and cilantro leaves and the mutton is covered in it and allowed to marinate for an hour or more. Once done, some oil is heated in a pan and onions are fried until translucent, after which the mutton is added and browned. The spice mixture is poured into the pan with chopped tomatoes, providing the liquid that will be used to finish the dish. The pan is covered and allowed to simmer until the sauce has reduced and the mutton has cooked. The finished mutton Kolhapuri can be served over rice, with Indian bread, or alongside yogurt, especially if the level of heat in the meal is very high.