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The dish: Mutton bone marrow curry at Aunty Manju's

Bone marrow has always been fashionable with Indian home cooks

Photo: Hizwan Hamid

What it is
Long before the nose-to-tail movement (a food philosophy that promotes oft-overlooked parts of the animal) made bone marrow fashionable, Indian home cooks were already on it. Creamy and aromatic, the mutton bone marrow curry is a dish usually reserved for the dining table within the privacy of Indian homes. Therefore, once upon a time, your only chance of having a decent bone marrow curry would be to befriend someone in the hopes that their kindly amma would make it for you. Now, you can have it at Aunty Manju’s. Auntie Manju’s home cooking is legendary (her son’s best friends once sneaked into their home at night to raid the refrigerator for crab curries), so it’s no surprise that when her son, nephew and friends got together to open a restaurant, she took over the kitchen.

Preparation
All respectable mutton bone marrow curry starts from decent mutton. One of the partners at Aunty Manju’s runs a meat business, so the Australian mutton used here is of top quality. First, leg bones are simmered for an hour, which allows the tendons, fats and flavours to slowly leech into the stock. This mutton juice is then used as a base for the curry, combined with the leg bones and a blend of spices (such as cumin, chilli, turmeric, curry leaves) fresh from the spice mill, and cooked for another 30 minutes. The dish is then served in a clay pot with four large pieces of bone and a generous fistful of coriander.

Taste
Infused with spices and mutton essence, the curry itself is not too fiery, which pairs nicely with the excellent banana leaf rice at Aunty Manju’s. But when it comes to the bone marrow, here’s how to eat it: Ditch all cutlery, grasp the leg bone hole-side down with your right hand, and tap your right wrist against your left wrist (if you’re fancy, you can also ask for a straw). With a satisfying squelch, the sweet cylinder of clear fatty marrow will gradually fall out. Make no bones about it; with its sea urchin-like texture and its rich earthiness, this dish at Aunty Manju’s is already (dare we say) one of the best dishes we’ve had this year.

Available only on Wednesdays and weekends.

Eat it at

Aunty Manju's

Auntie Manju’s home cooking is legendary (her son’s best friends once sneaked into their home at night to raid the refrigerator for crab curries), so it’s no surprise that when her son, nephew and friends got together to open a restaurant, she took over the kitchen. Don't leave before trying the mutton bone marrow curry.

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