Lamb|Mutton Polov

By Published On: 31 Aug '22Last Updated: 14 Apr '24

A signature and most popular Mangalorean wedding style Lamb|Mutton Polov made with bafat powder, coconut and bottle gourd or ash gourd. Serve with boiled rice or Mangalorean rice breads such as mutlim, pan polay or sannas.


“Stumbled across your recipe when I was looking up dinner ideas online.

Super easy and delicious. Didn’t have the veggies so subbed with potatoes.

This recipe is AMAZING! Can’t wait to try some more. Thank you for sharing Lavina”!

– Vic, Sydney

This Lamb|Mutton Polov curry is deliciously spicy and is a much loved dish all over Mangalore. This is a curry for all who feel nostalgic about Mangalore and the pre-wedding celebration called “Ros” or “Roce”.

My earliest memory of eating ‘Mutton Polov’ was for a “Ros” or “Roce” (pre-wedding anointing ceremony) and any member of a Mangalorean/Goan family will tell you that this ‘Polov’ is a huge part of a pre-wedding celebration called “Roce”. Although, a very popular dish in Mangalore, Polov was not commonly prepared for Roce ceremonies in Udupi. I am not quite certain why this was so!!

On the contrary, a popular vegan version of this curry called ‘Ash Pumpkin Polov|Kuvalo Bafat‘ was a central dish to a ‘Ros’ ceremony next to ‘Pork Bafat’. Other popular items on the banquet were ‘Sannas’ (a type of fermented rice bread), Chano Suko (chickpeas cooked in spices and grated coconut), a dry dish (or curry) made with raw bananas and boiled rice with ‘saar’ (a type of lentil stew) and pickle (usually spicy mango pickle). Finally, a dessert of a kind of pudding called ‘Vorn” was served.

From time to time ‘Ash Pumpkin Polov’ was replaced by ‘Mutton Roce Curry’ (goat meat coconut curry with roasted and ground spices). If this was the case, some households had two meats served – Mutton and Pork.

I love cooking this curry because it brings back such wonderful memories of my mum and all the early childhood happy times spent with my siblings.

Traditionally, ‘Polov’ is made with mutton (goat meat) and ash pumpkin (aka Kuvalo). The dish comprises earthy whole roasted spices paired with onion, garlic and coconut, all of which are ground to a fine paste and added to the cooked mutton. The white pumpkin or winter melon is cooked al dente separately in thin coconut milk. The mutton and the cooked pumpkin are then combined to finish off into a mildly sweet, satisfying and delicious mutton curry that has been enjoyed for generations of Mangaloreans.

I have used lamb and bottle gourd for this recipe instead of mutton and ash pumpkin, as lamb is freely available close to home and bottle gourd is a well stocked vegetable at my local green grocer’s shop. Both the meats and vegetables yield good results!!

Pair this curry with hot steamed boiled rice or Mutlim (round rice bread) for a hearty meal for occasions or a regular weekend in modern times.

It is also a curry that is quite often prepared by Mangaloreans globally for ‘Ros’ ceremonies, where most of the extended family will gather and celebrate this pre-wedding ritual.

I am lucky to have a good stock of bafat powder in my pantry at any given time. Thanks to my friends who are generous to bring me a pack of this priceless bafat powder each time they go to India.

I love to prepare this curry on a weekend, as and when I get a taste of ‘Mutton Polov’. As it is a big hike to go to a butcher in the west of Sydney to buy mutton, I use lamb instead. This curry tastes delicious with lamb also.

This recipe is a easy to make version as I am using the ‘Bafat Powder’ (a blend of fragrant Indian spices), a staple in most Mangalorean/Indian pantries instead of individual whole spices. It takes just over hour to prepare this curry, if you follow my step by step instructions below.

Pair this ‘Polov’ with steaming hot boiled rice or any variety of Indian rice breads such as Mutlin|Mutlim, panpolay (lacy rice crepes) or Mangalore Sannas (fermented steamed rice cakes).

This is a curry that I could mop off with a slice of bread even for breakfast if there was any leftover!

If lamb is one of your favourite meats, then check out a tasty Hubby’s Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks (Croc-pot) recipe, which I am sure you will enjoy!

THE ‘ROS’ or ‘Roce’ ceremony

In a Mangalorean wedding, on the eve of the wedding day, an important ceremony is performed both in the respective homes of the bride and the groom, and it is called the ‘Ros’ or ‘Roce’ Ceremony – oil bath or anointing. The ‘Ros’ or ‘Roce’ is a mixture of coconut oil and coconut milk, but the coconut oil and roce are anointed separately. The wedding celebrations really kick off with this ‘Ros’ ceremony, which ideally takes place on the previous evening just prior to the wedding day. This ‘Ros’ or ‘Roce’ ceremony signifies the mother’s love towards her son or daughter and, is both an emotional and a joyous occasion.

The purpose of this ceremony is to indicate that the bride or the groom is finishing his/her unmarried state and embarks on a new phase of life – the married life.

On the evening of the ‘Roce’, the guests who attend are given a warm welcome at the main entrance of the ‘matov’ (pandal) with paan-pod and udaak. The welcome starts with the words ‘paan-pod’ ‘udaak ailem’ – ‘receive this plate of areca-nut, betel leaves and water’. The guests promptly respond to the welcome with the words ‘Dev Borem Karum – ‘May God Bless You’. The guests who eat betel leaves will also chew on the ‘paan-pod’.

The ‘Yezmani’ (the master of ceremonies) who are the parents of the bride and the bridegroom respectively, makes an announcement giving the exact time of the ‘Ros’ in a loud voice for all the guests to hear. The wife of the ‘Yezmani’ is called ‘Yezman’ and according to customs, no widow or widower can act as Master of Ceremonies. If the parents cannot act as Master of Ceremonies, a close relative can also take that office.

Once the time for the ‘Roce’ is announced, the bridegroom or bride (in her house) enters the matov (pandal) with his best men (dhedes), who are usually his brothers. In the case of the bride, it is usually her sisters or her cousins. They sit on the bench in the centre of the ‘matov’.

For this ceremony, the groom (voreth or novro) and the groomsmen (dhedes) traditionally wear a soft cloth called ‘pudvem’ or ‘lungi’ on their lower bodies, although in modern times, they wear shorts.

Similarly, the bride (vokal) has a traditional attire too for the evening, wherein, she wears ‘Kirgi Bazu’ (a skirt and blouse). It is very common for the bride to wear her mother’s wedding saree, dressed up to look like a long decorative skirt and a matching blouse. The bride is also decked with fragrant flowers called ‘Jasmine’ (kahle) symbolising purity. The added advantage is that these flowers bloom at night and smell absolutely beautiful for the evening. The bride and the bridesmaids (dhediyos) then change into a normal skirt and blouse for the ‘Ros’ Ceremony.

The ‘Yezman’ enters the matov with two bowls – one that holds the coconut oil and the other coconut milk. She then pours a teaspoon of oil into the ears and on to the head of the bridegroom or bride (in her house) and rubs the ears and the head. Then a little coconut milk is poured on the body and gently rubbed in. The best men and the brides maids (in the bride’s house) are also anointed in a similar way.

As the anointing is taking place, the women surround the bridegroom or the bride (in her house) and sing ‘vovyos’ (wedding songs). One of the women, usually the ‘Yezman’ leads the ‘vovyos’, while the rest of the women repeat the last verse.

The anointing comes to an end when the women finish singing the ‘vovyos’. The groom with his brothers or friends is then pushed to the bathroom for a ‘bachelor’s bath’ (avnkarponachem nahn navnchem).

Once the groom has finished his bath, he comes and sits in the centre of the ‘matov’ . The ‘Yezmani’ toasts to the bridegroom or bride (in her house) wishing good health to everyone in the ‘matov” (boliki magchi). At the end of his speech, all the guests say ‘dev borem korum’ – ‘may God bless you’. The dinner is served almost immediately. As many guests are invited for this special occasion, the dinner is usually divided into two or three rounds. In the first round (poili Pankti), people who come from a distance, children and older people are seated.

The last round is usually occupied by close family, friends and neighbours. This round is commonly known as Kadechi Pankti. A famous Latin Hymn is sung during the last round of dinner and the hymn is called as “Laudate Dominum”. With this hymn the ‘Ros’ or ‘Roce’ ceremony ends but the preparations for the wedding on the next day continue in the background.

So… roll up your sleeves, get prepped and learn how to cook ‘Lamb|Mutton Polov’ like a chef with my Step-by-Step instructions and guidance, as I take you through the preparation and cooking techniques used to make one of the signature and most popular Mangalorean curries served at a pre-wedding anointing ceremony in Mangalore and now worldwide!!

Long live Mangalorean Mutton|Lamb Polov!!!!


You will find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. This is the summary of the process to go along with the process photos.

Gather your ingredients on your benchtop so you have them ready before you start cooking.

Trim lamb|mutton of excess fat. Cut into bite size chunks

Wash, peel and dice bottle gourd or ash gourd

Assemble ingredients – lamb, oil, onions, coconut, bafat powder, salt, bottle gourd or ash gourd and extra oil (not shown)

Heat oil in a medium size frying pan on medium heat

Add 1½ sliced onion and all the garlic and fry until onion in translucent

Reduce heat to low, add desiccated/fresh coconut and fry till slightly brown (2-3 minutes)

Add bafat powder

Stir to combine. Fry for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat into a bowl and set aside to cool off

Place the cooled coconut mixture into a blender or similar appliance. I use my Indian National Panasonic blender. You may use any blender that blends Indian whole spices, as the mixture needs to be blended to a smooth paste

Add 1½ cups water, the reserved unroasted coconut, close lid and blend to a smooth paste. Blenders vary, therefore add enough water to blender so the blades rotate comfortably!!

Remove the blended paste on to a bowl. Wash blender with 2 cups (500mL) water and set aside

Heat remaining oil in a large, deep saucepan on medium. The saucepan should have a lid and should be able to hold both the lamb and vegetables comfortably

Add remaining half onion and fry for 3 minutes

Add diced lamb and brown for 5 minutes.

Add reserved blender water, salt and another 250mL water. Stir to combine. Bring to the boil. Close lid and cook for 30-35 minutes or until lamb is tender, stirring from time to time.

If you are using mutton (goat meat), you must cook mutton in the pressure cooker as you would normally cook mutton

Add the diced bottle gourd or ash gourd. Stir well to combine. Close lid and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the vegetable is parboiled.

Do not overcook the vegetables

Add the ground coconut mixture. Stir well to combine. Adjust the consistency of the curry by adding water, if required. We do not want a very runny curry.

See Recipe Card (Instruction 6) below, if in doubt.

Season if required. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered for 3 minutes

There tis! A beautiful lamb and vegetable curry, otherwise called as Mutton Polov in Mangalore.

The colour of the curry varies with the colour of the bafat powder used!!

I hope you will enjoy cooking this wedding polov and I also hope that you will find my instructions easy to follow. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me through my website.

If you have tried this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback. Please be sure to rate the recipe and/or leave a comment below or tag me on @lavina_mendonsa with your finished dishes. If you want to see more recipe inspirations, you can follow me on Instagram @lavina_mendonsa.

Lamb/Mutton Polov

Catherine Lavina Mendonsa
This is a deliciously flavourful and much loved Mangalorean pre-wedding ceremony curry. This signature Polov comprises a blend of earthy spices (bafat powder), paired with onion, garlic, lamb or mutton, coconut and bottle gourd or ash gourd. Its delicious served over a bed of boiled rice. Equally delicious with Mangalorean rice breads such as pan polay, mutlim or sannas.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time