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Durga Puja Special 2017 –
Bengali Mishti Pulao & Kosha Mangsho / Mutton curry for Durga nabami
Today we bring you this eternal cult classic of Bengali cuisine – the lavish combo of Bengali mishti pulao and Golbari style kosha mangsho, a festival favourite. Pulao – mangsho is beautiful combo platter with anarasher / pinepapple chutney on side. I said beautiful and not deadly or killer combo, because those words best describes the incredible “luchi – mangsho” .
It is that time of the year again. When the autumn sky is painted in deep azure blue, the air is mildly scented with the fragrance of shiuli flowers that beautifully carpets the surrounding green grass, like fresh morning dew drops…
…the kaash flowers swaying in gentle breeze, telling tales of traditions that is seeped so deep in every bengali’s heart, the hypnotic resonance of dhaaker taal, dhunuchi naach, soul stirring hymns of pushpanjali, pujo, heady smell of sweet camphor and incense, natun saree, pujor gaan, bhoger khichuri, bonhomie, dream food are what Durga puja brings to the mind of every true blue Bengali…a homecoming, infused a new leash of life battered from the mundane lifestyle…invokes joy, happiness, festivity, togetherness..
And starting from today, we will bring you the delicacies and festive platters throughout the Puja continuing till Lakshmi puja. We have already blogged about very best of Bengali cuisine, which you can find here. So please stay tuned and to have a glimpse inside my own kitchen, you can follow us on Instagram for my daily lunch stories and on Facebook too.
There are two kind of pulao popular in Bengal, white one- that has striking Mughal influence and its origin can be traced back directly to the kitchens of Nawabs of Murshidabad. The other one is Basanti pulao (inherently yellow in color) which is greatly influenced by the Odisha’s Kanika – a sweet rice preparation. Both the pulaos are sweet in taste, hence popularly known as Bengali mishti pulao.
Unlike the pulao or pilaf from other regions of India, Bengali pulaos are simple to prepare, with an undeniable sweet taste, that hedonistic smell of Jharna ghee, which imparts luxurious fragrance to the sweet cinnamon and cardamoms, the deep flavours of bay leaves and are generously laden with just cashew and raisins. No ground spices and fried onions are used here. The rice used for pulao will always be that special and elusive short grained “gobindobhog or gopalbhog” which is renowned for its sweet aroma. Even basmati can not match its sublime fragrance. No wonder this rice is named after Lord Krishna.
The sweet taste of the pulao demands something spicy companion. Here enters the kosha mangsho which is nothing but braised meat, mostly goat in this case. There is an age old tradition of animal sacrifices associated with Durga Puja, which is still continuing in many homes, steeped deeper in ancient rituals and traditions and at the same time, many families has replaced the animal sacrificial ritual with the vegetables like chalkumro or white pumpkins. Hence, eating meat during Durga puja is perfectly legitimate (albeit the reasons are more gastronomic than religious) and particularly on Navami night.
This recipe of kosha mangsho is adapted from the famous Golbari kosha mangsho of Shyam Bazar, North Kolkata. A small, kinda dingy place (hole in the wall kind) that is feeding the greedy souls of Kolkata for decades. At first glance you might not enter it, but the long queue outside the shop will instantly change your mind. I had been there number of times during my college days, and each and every time it has proved its worth. I dont know what they add in their kosha mangsho, but seriously it was highly addicted. Their secret recipe is zealously guarded, so no chance of getting any clue. So what I am sharing here is my recipe – analysis to create a replica of the dish. But replicating any recipe is almost impossible. This recipe of kosha mangsho is almost close or close cousin to the much famed and celebrated Golbari kosha mangsho.
Check the recipe for shahi garam masala used here.
I have found that pressure pans are perfect to cook meat dishes. This saves time and fuel both.
- 2 cups Gobindobhog rice / Basmati rice
- Cashews and raisins : a handful each
- 2-3 Bay leaves
- 2 tbsp Ghee (solid )
- 3-4 tsp Sugar
- Salt : a small pinch
- Whole garam masala : 1 cinnamon stick ; 4-5 green cardamom ; 3-4 cloves
- 1 tbsp Ginger minced
- 1/2 kg Mutton (goat )
- 2-3 tbsp Raw / unripe papaya grated
- 2 tbsp Ginger-garlic paste
- 1 tsp Salt and turmeric powder (each)
- 1/2 cup Hung yogurt / thick plain curd (without water content)
- 1 tbsp Wet garam masala paste (see recipe section)
- 1/2 tsp Shahi garam masala
- 1 tbsp Cumin paste
- 1 tsp Red chilli paste
- 1 tsp Green chilli paste
- 1 Onion cut into quarts, medium
- 1 Onion sliced , large
- 1 Tomato, ripe
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- Salt to taste
- 4-5 tbsp Mustard oil
- 1 tbsp Ghee melted
- 2-3 Bay leaves
- 2 cups Hot water
- Wash and soak the rice in water for 30 minute.
- Drain the rice very well and spread it on a dry plate.
- Rub it with little ghee and sugar.
In a pan, heat the ghee, Temper it with cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamom and cloves.
- Fry the cashews and raisins, till they turn nice golden in color.
- Add the rice and saute for 5 minute more, till everything looks dry.
- I cook pulao in microwave .
- Add rice, sugar and spices in microwave safe bowl. Level it.
- Add 3 1/2 cup water or till the first line of your index finger submerged in water measuring it from top of rice bed.
- Close the microwave safe lid. Cook on micro high (950 W) for 15 minute.
- Stir it and serve hot.
- First wash and clean the mutton pieces. Use good quality fatty mutton for the recipe.
Marinade the mutton with ingredeints listed under marination for 2 hours minimum to overnight. I usually marinate for 8 hours.
- Prepare the wet masala paste - Soak 3-4 cardamoms, 4-5 cloves, one big stick cinnamon, 4-5 peppercorns. Grind it with water and make a thick and coarse paste.
In a small pan, heat little oil and fry the onion that is cut into quarts (in four parts). Once it turned little brown, add the tomato (tomato is optional here, you can skip it too) and fry till tomatoes starts browning.
Cool and grind it to a paste.
I cook mutton in pressure pan to save the time and fuel. You can cook it in dekchi or any deep bottom pan.
- Heat the mustard oil in pressure pan.
Lower the heat and add the wet garam masala paste. Stir it and keep a watch on ot. The masala should not get burned.
Add the sliced onions and fry till they turn golden, on low heat. This will take around 10 min.
Next, add the fried onion-tomato paste, red chilli and green chilli paste, pinch of turmeric powder, salt and bay leaves.
Mix everything well and add marinated mutton with sugar, keep braising the mutton and masala on medium flame.
Braise the mutton on low flame and this will take around 10 -15 min.
- By this time you will see the mutton starts getting a deeper, richer brown color.
- Add rest of the spices and keep braising the mutton.
- Now add one cup hot water and keep bhunoing / braising the mutton till all the water evaporates and by this time you will see that the color is deep reddish brown.
- Check for all the seasonings.
- Add remaining one cup hot water, close the lid of the pressure pan / cooker and cook till done or upto 2 whistle.
If you want to cook this in pan or dekchi, close the lid and let it cook for 10 min. After that , you will find that the water has dried up. Add one cup more hot water, close the lid and cook further. Repeat the steps till mutton get cooked through and becomes tender.
Cooking mutton in pan takes around 45 min - 1 hour.
Meat should be soft and easily fall off the bone kind. Add ghee and serve hot with mishti pulao or luchi, paratha or just with simple roti.
Do check our in house special – The ultimate lipsmacking Mutton Do Pyaaza
Stay tuned for more Bengali delicacies,