My earliest recollections of Durga Puja was Pandal hopping on Oshtomi and Nabomi all night long. One of these two days when we were hopping around North and Central Kolkata, a trip to Golbari was a must (courtesy my uncle who is a BIG foodie and knows almost all the hidden gems in Kolkata). Now Golbari is basically a restaurant which served this amazing Biryani and a fantastic Kosha Mangsho – the very famous Bengali specialty of lamb/mutton slow cooked without much water. And the colour, damn! so brown that it would put dark chocolate to shame.
Slowly we grew up and these rituals transformed itself to flirting in Maddox Square or drinking in Park Street and boy! I craved those Golbari visits when that “party” phase passed by.
Last year when I was in Kolkata after living abroad for years and having missed Pujo for a while, I decided to take a walk down memory lane. After cajoling the chef for 30 minutes and also ensuring that he has no business threat from me cooking it in Paris, he shared the recipe albeit an incomplete one. He said, quite proudly “there is a missing ingredient and am not allowed to share it”. I assumed safely it is the “dhulo” roadside dust which my mom strongly believes makes all the difference for all street food in Kolkata 😛
Here, is my Kosha Mangsho recipe that I will pass on to my future generations if they can move beyond Pot-Au-Feu that is.
Mutton/Lamb/Chicken- 1 kg (medium-sized pieces with bone)
Onion- 2 medium sized (thinly sliced + 1tbsp paste for marinade)
Salt (to taste) + 1 tbsp cumin and coriander powder
Ginger paste- 1 tbsp
Garlic paste- 1 tsp
Sugar- 1/2 Tsp
Bengali Garam masala powder- ¼ tsp + Whole cardamom (2-3), cloves (3-4), cinnamon stick (1 inch) and bay leaves (2-3)
Mustard oil- 1/4 cup
Raw papaya- ¼ cup (grated) helps tenderize + 1tbsp green chilli paste+1tbsp onion paste+ 1tbsp ginger and garlic paste each
Kashmiri chilli powder- ½ tsp
Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
Salt – ½ teaspoon + Sugar ½ teaspoon + 1tbsp mustard oil
yoghurt- 3/4 cup
Mix all the ingredients of the marinade with the meat and keep it for 4 hours to overnight.
- Take 3 Tbsp. of Mustard oil in a deep bottom pan and heat the oil sufficiently.
- Add the sugar to the oil and let it caramelize.
- Temper the oil with Bay leaves, and the other whole garam masala spices (cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves)
- Once the spices have released the aroma, add chopped onions and cook until the onion turns brownish in colour.
- Now add Ginger and garlic paste and cook for another 4-5 minute in medium flame until oil separates and raw smells disappears.
- Add rest of the Turmeric Powder, Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder and chilli powders and cook for one more minute.
Add the Mutton pieces from the Marinade mix and start cooking on high heat for a few minutes
- Next step is the “Kosha” part in Bengali which means cooking without adding water and it requires frequent stirring. Cook for at least 4-7 minutes in high flame and stir frequently.
- Now add the Marinade mix to the mutton and cook on medium flame and stir frequently until the oil separates.
- Check the gravy for salt and cook on low flame for around 45 minutes.
Add very little water if required.
- Cook till the meat is tender.
- Add Ghee and Bengali Garam Masala Powder and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Serve with Biryani!