It is about Manghsor Jhol -- Mutton Curry. The Sunday one. The Bengali home staple that has reached a mythical proportion simply by virtue of us bragging about it. And Robibarer Manghsor Jhol does give us bragging rights, the whole gamut of it.
But I have written paeans about it in my earlier posts so today I will talk about clouds instead.
Not that I know much about them. The only times I actually watch clouds is when I am stuck in traffic or more specifically when I am stuck in traffic with two kids in the back seat. Also when there is no traffic but a never ending road and two kids in the back seat, I often suggest that they watch clouds. Somehow it makes me feel like a very free spirited kind of Mother, the one who makes blueberry jam and then spreads it thick on coarse rye bread handing them over to her children who play in the meadows by brambles and thistles.
Sadly I am not that kind. I have never made blueberry jam and my kids refuse rye bread. And we will not even discuss brambles. But I digress.
So anyway this random "cloud watching" thing inspired a desire in Little Sis to spend an entire afternoon watching clouds and nothing but clouds. And she wanted it to be done in a proper setting. Not from cars. Lying down on a sleeping bag(no grass mind you) set out in the deck on some balmy summer afternoon, LS wanted to watch them clouds.
Amazingly two summer months almost passed us by and we never got a chance to do that! So when summer was drawing to a close, I grabbed a late afternoon with a good measure of clouds and we watched. No proper setting, no sleeping bag, not even grass. While BigSis was attending one of her classes we sat on the ledge by the sidewalk outside her class and watched.
"Wow. Doesn't that one look like a teddy bear?", I said trying to be at my excited best.
"No. It looks like a monster", said LS.
"Now that one is like a cute little doggy", I said all cloying and sweet.
LS who was now more interested in the rocks on the sidewalk than any cloud, glanced and said "Nope. It looks like a big dragon".
"Come on. This one surely is like a magic fairy's hair", I blurted out trying to salvage a sweet cloud watch moment.
"Oita dushtu lok er moton lagche (That one looks like a mean person)", concluded LS.
And with that we closed our "cloud watch' chapter and concentrated on rock tricks,
*********Okay and before I go onto the mutton curry, I have to tell you this. Soon after turning four, LS seems to have discovered the words "girlish" and "boyish". I have no clue where she got them from but she has been scattering her conversations with those words.
Today hearing her Dad's voice over the phone, she declared "Baba sounded very girl-ish on the phone. Maybe he drank too much pink lemonade"
Back to the mutton curry now which is my Ma-in-law's recipe this time. Her Sunday Mutton curry recipe is different from my Mother's Sunday mutton curry recipe and yet they largely taste the same with finer points to be debated on. The mother-in-law's recipe involves marinating the mutton with mustard oil, all the spices, tomato, onion, garlic and ginger that makes the curry. If you can manage to do this single step of detailed marination, the night before, the actual cooking happens very fast the next day.
Now on days when you are rushing and a simple mutton curry will do you can side-step the "kashano" or "bhuno" part of this recipe and directly make the jhol in the Pressure cooker. That jhol is a bit runny and akin to something that the famous author Syed Mujtaba Ali would refer to as "Bangali'r Mangshor Maacher Jhol" which means a Mutton Curry which is as runny as plain as an everyday fish curry.
If you spend 30 mins of your time in "kashano",then the same mutton curry becomes richer and more regal looking. Take your pick and have a lovely Sunday lunch of Mutton curry and rice. Oh yes, do cook the rice in the same pressure cooker with remnants of the mutton gravy to flavor it and little ghee. My daughters love that rice as much as the curry.
Ma-in-Law's Sunday Mutton Curry
Wash and clean 2lb of goat meat.
Make a paste of following
2 cups of chopped red onion
6 fat clove of garlic(12 regular)
2" of ginger peeled and chopped
Roughly pound 5-6 hot Indin green chili.
Chop 1 medium sized tomato. If the tomatoes are the tough. commercial kind just puree them or get a better tomato.
Chop 3 potatoes in half
In a bowl marinate the meat with
1 tbsp Cumin Powder
1 tsp Red Chili Powder or Kashmiri Mirch
1 tsp Turmeric powder
2 tsp Mustard Oil
1-2 tbsp yogurt
salt to taste
Ideally overnight marination is good but even 3-4 hours works well.
Half an hour before cooking toss the pottaoes along with the meat in the marinade.
When you are ready to cook, get your pressure cooker. If you don't have one, do not panic, we can also do it in a regular heavy bottomed pan, only it will take longer.
Heat about 2tbsp Mustard Oil in the cooker. Add a tsp of sugar and caramelize it.
Next temper the oil with
4 Green Cardamom/Elaichi
1 Bay leaf/TejPatta
a 2" stick of cinnamon
Once the oil is flavored add the marinated mutton and the potatoes. Add the pounded green chilies.
Mix everything well together and let it cook for some time. Stir intermittently so that the meat does not stick to the bottom of the cooker. The meat will also release some water. Wait for the water to almost dry up and for the meat to change color.
For a richer version of this curry, the meat is kasha-oed for about 25-20 minutes till you see the oil surfacing. But in my Ma-in-law's everyday version, we do not wait for the oil to surface. Once the meat has changed color and no longer looks raw, we give a good stir, and add enough water so that the meat pieces are submerged. Then I adjust for salt and spices and close the Pressure Cooker lid.
Once the Cooker starts going "Phissssssshhh", I wait for about 8 minutes or so and then switch off. I have a Futura cooker and it does not whistle so I am not sure of the number of whistles.
Make a wet paste of
2 green cardamom
small stick of cinnamon
in a mortar-pestle
Once the pressure has been released, open lid and add this fresh garam masala paste(kaaNcha garam mashla bata) along with little ghee. Close the lid again and open only at time of serving. Thanks UshnishDa for this tip.