Holi Special: Chef Pallavi Nigam Sahay shares the recipe of Bihari Halwai Style Mutton Curry

Chef Pallavi Nigam Sahay also shared how she got the idea for the recipe: a conversation with her father-in-law.

Heena Khandelwal Published :  09th March 2020 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  09th March 2020 12:00 AM

Chef Pallavi Nigam Sahay shares the recipe of Bihari Halwai Style Mutton Curry

Many of us have a recipe with us that is integral to our household and has an interesting story behind it. Chef Pallavi Nigam Sahay, author of The Bhojpuri Kitchen, also has one such recipe - Bihari Halwai Style Mutton Curry.

When asked about the story behind it, Pallavi shared with us a conversation that happened between her and her father-in-law:

Sasurji (Father-in-law): Aaj humko waisa mutton khana hai (I want to have that kind of mutton today)
Dulhin (Daughter-in-law): Kaisa, Papa? (Which kind, Papa?)
Sasurji: Bihari halwai style ka (The kind that Bihar’s halwai prepare) 
Dulhin: Waisa he to banate hain hamesha Papa (Papa, we always make that only)
Sasurji: Na, tumlog waisa nahi banati ho, tumlog healthy banana ke chakkar me reh jaati ho... (In your pursuit to make it healthier, you guys don’t end up bringing that flavour)

This is exactly how the conversation went between Pallavi and her father-in-law before she decided to prepare her own version of ‘Bihari Halwai Style Mutton Curry’. “I remembered eating mutton curry prepared by the halwai employed at home during my first Holi celebration at our ancestral house in Hazaribagh. So I summoned all my senses, recalled everything about that mutton curry and gave it my best shot and as a result, it became one of my signature dishes,” says Pallavi while sharing the secret behind the halwai-prepared food.

“When we say halwai style mutton, what we basically mean is that there is no “hisaab” or calculation of the quantity of oil and spices that have to be used. And it’s not an authentic halwai curry if the oil is not floating on the top. This one is a little indulgent curry but believe me, it’s absolutely worth it,” she adds before sharing with us her recipe.  

Mutton 1 kg
For curry: Onions - 4-5 medium size - sliced, turmeric powder - ½ tbsp, red chili powder - ½ tbsp, coriander powder - ½ tbsp, salt to taste, oil 6-7 tbsp
Whole spices for phoran (tempering): Tej patta - 1, black peppercorns - 4-5, green cardamom - 1-2, brown cardamom - 2, dry red chili - 2, cumin seeds - 1tsp.
Garam masala: Coriander seeds - toasted, 1 tsp, fresh coriander - handful, green cardamom - 3, ginger - 2 inch piece, garlic cloves - 8-10, green chilli - 4-5, salt, oil - 2 tbsp.


1. Prepare garam masala paste. For this, add all the ingredients for garam masala along with oil and salt in a small grinder and grind until it turns into a smooth paste.
2. Rinse the mutton and then pat dry it.
3. Heat 2-3 tbsp of oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan, add the clean mutton and sauté till they get slightly brown. Take them out on a plate and keep it aside.
4. Now in the same pan, heat 5-6 tbsp of oil and add the whole spices for phoran. Let them crackle.
5. Now add the sliced onion, sauté till golden brown.
6. Add the prepared garam masala, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and coriander powder, add 2 tbsp of water. Sauté till oil begins to separate from the masala.
7. Add the mutton and salt, mix everything together. Cover with water. Cook for 45-60 minutes at low flame.
Serve hot garnished with fresh coriander.