A Bond of Love... between Bengalis n Mutton. Our Sunday pleasure revolved around it. But what we love is going beyond the reach for their soaring rise in price. Prawns, Mutton, Fish everything is going beyond reach of food loving Bengalis. If we cannot eat what we love, then it is a matter of concern. Majority of Bengalis are middle class for whom budget does matter though we are quite liberal when it comes to food.. So the pleasure of having pathar mangsho on Sunday has become a once a month affair. In a way it is good health wise. At our home it had always been on alternate week earlier.
There is a hilarious childhood story associated to my love for mutton curry. I was only six years old when my brother was born. When he was six months old, we were celebrating his Rice Feeding Ceremony, I was suffering from severe blood dysentery then. Our family doctor totally banned me from eating almost everything. When it came to food, I had always been least accommodative. As the guests started coming in, the aroma of ghee mixed mutton got irresistible to the little girl whose life revolved around food. I got restless n angry while drooling at the guest's plate. I even forgot to cuddle my lovely little brother who was adorned with jewellery, powder, homemade eye kohl. My mom was visibly disturbed to see her daughter in such a state. She asked daddy... can she be given a piece? Daddy said have you gone mad. One who could not see tears in his daughter's eyes, stayed indifferent. Only occasion he got wild with me was while teaching me mathematics, the fear for mathematics was born then. In the evening, daddy went out to see off few guests, I ran to the kitchen. I was so weak, could not stand on my feet, maa got a chair, gave two pieces of mutton with an aloo[potato] n said have it quick before daddy returns. I had to my heart's content what was to me divinity in a bowl. The rest of the story you can well anticipate.
You see I remember so old an incident, but you ask me a basic question on Physics, Chemistry or Mathematics, I am totally blank. My senior says Soma, I wonder how you got through class ten boards. Though I should not be blamed alone ... my mind was elsewhere .... I mean may be in Bollywood. So many times my senior had virtually thrown me out of the window for not having a basic knowledge of things. Every time I come back unhurt and fry pakoras for him to enjoy together with tea and TV. I wished to get the world know the taste of our divine Bengal Mutton Curry. We do it with our regular spices without using tomato authentically. Even a century back, the Bengalis called tomato... 'Bilati Begun'.. which means foreign eggplant. Though I use tomato, for this post of Bengal Mutton Curry , I have not used tomato to keep it authentic.... The taste depends on a different breed of mutton we use back home which we call Rewazi Khashi. Let us do it together.
Mutton : 1kg[you can also use lamb]
Potato : 5-6 medium
Onion : 2 big[sliced]
Grated Raw Papaya : 2tbsp[natural tenderiser]
Garlic Paste : 1tbsp
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Cumin Powder : I tsp[ideally paste]
Coriander Powder : 2tsp[ideally paste]
Red Chilli Powder : 1tbsp[ideally paste]
Cinnamon Powder : 1/4tsp
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/4tsp
Clove Powder : 2pinches
Bayleaf : 1
Turmeric Powder : 2tsp
Salt : As Required
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Oil : 4tbsp + 2tbsp[authentically mustard]
Ghee : 2tsp[clarified butter]
Ideally our mothers do it with spice pastes done freshly and we will not use cooker in the process.
Get medium cut for the mutton, wash thoroughly for 4-5 times. Marinate it with grated raw papaya, 2tbsp oil, 1/2 of the amount of turmeric, chilli, cumin, coriander powders, garlic and ginger pastes, some salt, lemon juice. Mix very well and refrigerate overnight or atleast 4-5 hours in a tight container.
Peel,wash n rub the potatoes with little salt and turmeric.
Take out the mutton an hour before cooking. Heat 4tbsp oil in a wok. Lightly fry the potatoes, take out n keep aside.
Temper with bayleaf. Add the sliced onions. Fry till brown.
Add the remaining garlic and ginger pastes. Saute for 2 minutes. Add salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander and red chilli powder. Fold in well n fry for a minute not letting it burn.
Add the mutton with all the marinade, fold in well. Cover cook at low heat stirring every 3-4 minutes. It will take about 45 minutes for all the water to dry up. Add the fried potatoes and stir.
Now add a big cup of warm water. Stir and again cover cook at low heat for 10 minutes. Open cover, add the cinnamon, green cardamom and cloves powder. Mix well n cook for 2 minutes. Add 2tsp ghee. Done.
Enjoy with your choice of rice or bread.