A start to the Bengali year

A start to the Bengali year

This week is a wonderful time for many communities in our country as most of them are gearing up to celebrate New Year. Being a Bengali, it's a special time for me as well.

It gives me a chance to reminisce the great dishes I had during this time during my childhood.

Food is an important part of our community. During the Bengali New Year, fish and sweets are the two things every household will prepare. This is followed by many other meat dishes like chicken and mutton.

What I love about Bengali cuisine is its use of ingredients. Even though some of these ingredients are used in other cuisines too, the way some of it is prepared is what makes the dish unique. For example, worldwide, the garam masala entails a number of other ingredients while we only use cinnamon, green cardamom, and bay leaf to make the masala. That itself gives it a unique taste and makes the dish interesting.

And of course, the use of mustard oil in the dishes also adds a certain value to the age-old tradition.

I joined the hotel management industry close to two decades ago and it's been an interesting journey. I joined the field because I love cooking, but over the years, I've been driven to make Bengali cuisine popular worldwide.

I now work with Oh! Calcutta as the executive chef and I believe that the cuisine has so much to offer.

While there are plenty of ready-to-make options available when it comes to preparing a dish now, I prefer to make everything from scratch to give it the authentic taste.

There are also certain ingredients that could be used differently. The Bengali rice is usually used in pulao but lately, I've been experimenting with it to make various starters. The results have been successful till now.

The recipe I'm sharing today is called 'Kosha Mangsho' which is a popular Bengali dish prepared for every festival. I know many households will be preparing it this weekend as well. The cooking process will take three to four hours on slow heat, but it's worth the wait.

Make sure that you don't add any water to it the onions and the mutton fat will work their magic.

Enjoy it with some hot puris.

Kosha Mangsho

Ingredients

Curry cut mutton (16-18 pc/ kg) front leg and shoulder, 2 kg

Onion sliced, 1 kg

Ginger paste, 80 gm

Garlic paste, 40 gm

Green chilli, 25 gm

Garam masala powder, 4 gm

Mace-nutmeg powder, 2 gm

Dahi, 160 gm

Whole garam masala, 2 gm

Bayleaf, 4

Mustard oil, 100 gm

Salt to taste

Method

Clean the mutton thoroughly and marinate with ginger paste, garlic paste, green chilli, garam masala, dahi, mustard oil and salt. Mix well and marinate for one hour.

Heat rest of the oil in a kadhai, temper with whole garam masala and bay leaf.

Fry the sliced onion in this oil till well browned.

Add the marinated mutton and cook the mutton till it is half done.

At this point add the fried and browned onion to the cooking mutton mixture.

Keep cooking the mutton on medium heat till it is done. Keep stirring all the time.

Adjust the seasonings and cook till the gravy is dry and napped and the mutton is tender as well.

To prepare one portion: from the cooked mutton portion out five pieces of mutton with gravy in a kadhai, season with salt, red chilli, garam masala powder and mace-nutmeg powder and stir fry till well mixed. Serve hot.

 

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