Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kosha Mangsho

Everybody loves a good Mutton Curry. Getting a good recipe and then making one according to that recipe is another matter.

A few months ago we had lunch in Chennai at the home of our close friends who are Bengalis. Ruby, our friend’s mother, like most mothers and grandmothers over the age of 50 [not yummy mummies] is a great cook. She had made a typical Bengali Mutton Curry called Kosha Mangsho. This was deeply aromatic, spicy with Garam Masala, had a thick gravy, and, like all good curries, had potato. This, in my view, is essential.

Ruby generously shared her recipe in fabulous detail and honesty. This recipe which I followed to the `T' actually makes a Kosha Mangsho as good as Ruby’s. For a home-cook, this level of detail is rare, which is why this recipe is all the more precious to us.

We have made this a few times and have slightly adapted it. We made it a couple of days ago for dinner. It turned out very well. Leftovers have a great advantage. All you need to do is keep them away and make a Biryani the next day. Place the left over Kosha Mangsho in the bottom of a pot, add a tablespoon of Kewda Water [Screwpine], fill the pot with almost cooked rice, place on a slow fire for about 15 minutes covered and your biryani is ready.

Like all food with onion, ginger and garlic, particularly, stews, please eat the dish the day after making it. A night in the fridge does wonders for the flavour. 

So Ruby, take a bow. I am sorry to have tinkered with your recipe but, we believe it is better this way. The recipe follows.

Ruby Banerjee’s

Kosha Mangsho - Pot Roast Mutton Bengali Style


4 Tbsp or more Mustard Oil

5 Green cardamom
10-12 Peppercorns

6 Cloves

3 Inch cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces

2 bay leaf

5 onion finely chopped 
1-2 teaspoon sugar 

2 Tbsp Ginger Garlic paste

2 tomato, diced

1 1/2 Tsp Coriander seeds powdered
1 1/2 Tsp Cumin seeds powdered

1/2 Tsp Turmeric

2 Tsp chilli powder, or to taste

[If you like you could dissolve all the powders in a little water to make a paste]

1 Kg Boneless mutton cubed and throughly dried on some kitchen paper. This is essential.

2-3 potato, peeled and cut into big pieces

Garam masala powder

[Equal quantity Clove, Cinnamon & Cardamom dry roasted and powdered]

1 Tbsp Ghee


Day 1 - Cooking 

Heat mustard oil. Add the Cardamom, Peppercorns, Cinnamon, Bay leaf and clove. Stir till they crackle.

Add the onions and the sugar and sauté till golden. Really golden not golden from outside. Do this on a lowish flame.

Add Ginger Garlic paste and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the diced tomato and cook till the oil and water separates.

Now add the powders [which you may have dissolved in water] i.e. Corriander, Cumin, Tumeric and Chilli. Stir for a couple of minutes.

Turn up to high heat. Now add the cubed dried mutton in batches. This will ensure that water is not released. Once all the mutton is added keep stirring occasionally till all water dries, the oil separates and the meat and masala start turning darker. If the meat and masala start sticking to the pan and a tablespoon of water and scrape off the caramelised part. This process should take about 30 minutes to an hour. The meat will turn visibly darker. Have a look at the photos. 

Meat before browning

A much darker colour as well as drier

Once all the meat and masala has turned a much darker shade (almost black) add water to cover the meat, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered. If it gets too dry add some water. You should have a thick gravy.

Now put the contents into a pressure cooker along with the Potato and cook till the Pressure cooker whistles once. Turn off the heat and wait till the pressure reduces. When cool, put contents in fridge overnight.

Day 2 - Eating

Heat the Kosha Mangsho, add salt to taste, sprinkle Garam Masala powder and Ghee. 

Classically eaten with Bengali Luchis, it is also good with steamed rice or chapatti/paratha.

Finished Kosha garnished with Corriander


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