This has been a busy month for us with friends visiting and the girls' schedule brimming with what they call "stuff". In between, there has been Mutton Korma and Mangshor jhol but first let me talk about the stuff.
This "stuff" seems to have taken over their lives, making me and their dad run around, dropping, picking up, taking off work to attend school meetings that discusses new test patterns and such obscure stuff and then off to attend more obscure events where I am supposed to help my kindergartner make dolls for Heritage Day.
Yes, you heard it right. Dolls !!! At first when the school sent home a letter seeking volunteers for the event, I quickly trashed it. I had volunteered at LS's class for Valentine's Day and enjoyed myself immensely but I had also found that the class-moms were super craft-y, so no way was I going and making a fool of myself in this project, I decided. Them Dolls, I am not making, I had reassured myself several times.
In a couple of days however LS started complaining. A few of her friend's parents had come in to help make the doll and she wanted me to be there too. "Their doll is going to be perfect. Mine will be made by Mrs.Z and it will not be that good", she wailed.
Apparently the child has more faith on me than her teacher. God, don't prove her wrong. Please. So very hesitantly, I e-mailed the teacher and landed in her school one day, only to hear that LS did not want her doll to be Indian.
"M and S have already made Indian dolls. I want to make a doll from another country", she said
"Err LS...but it is for Heritage Day. You have to make something from the country where your parents and grandparents are."
"But I don't want to do your side of the family. I want to do Baba's side", she said
Now her Baba is more Bengali than most and speaks nothing but Bengali at home and not even an alien from Jupiter would mistake him for a non-Indian.
"What do you mean his side ? He is from India too," I tried to drum reason in to her.
"But Thammi doesn't live in India. They live in XYZ", she wailed, XYZ being a suburb about 3 hours from Calcutta.
She was visibly depressed at the revelation that XYZ was indeed in India and then her interest in the doll took a dive. Thankfully, the kids had already done the cutout and the drawing etc. in class. All we had to help was with the costume and hair. With the variety of supplies available in school, this did not seem as daunting a task, as I had imagined. And guess what I learned in Kindergarten ? How to use a glue gun!
Picture of her doll is in the Kid's Blog.
The best thing amidst all this running around, was the Holi party that we pulled off on a whim, one Saturday. With temperatures dipping to 40s on most days and it being really chilly, the idea did not seem great at first. But then how is a Holi party, Holi if done in May ? Tell me? So, after checking weather.com umpteen times, when Saturday showed promised of going into higher 50s, we bought abir, took a day off to cook and played Holi.
I have never been a Holi fan to be honest. What with my OCD and such, behind every colored face all I see is hours of clean up. But for this once, I steeled my resolution, shoved my OCD into a closet and shut it tight. And guess what ? The colored faces turned out to be happy and very easy to clean. The girls and their little friends loved the riot of colors and had a blast.
Though I was afraid that BigSis might not like the mess, she enjoyed her first time playing Holi thoroughly.
LS enjoyed herself at the beginning but with color permeating in her hair, she soon got fidgety and wanted to take a shower. At least one of them has got my genes.
Now to this Mutton Korma which I made one weekend for the husband-man's friend. My Mother makes a Mutton dish like this but hers is more heavy on spices. Along with coconut she also grinds whole coriander and garam masala to make a spice paste. Mine is based on this Chicken Korma but I have used little coconut here to make the dish more rich and creamy. It was a good dish, different from our regular Mangshor Jhol
Start off with 4 lb of mutton, cleaned and washed. Get the back leg or front shoulder of goat from your butcher
In a blender jar add
1/2 Cup Yogurt
6 pods of garlic(I get real fat pods of garlic here but the smell is not too strong)
2" of ginger
and make a paste
In a big bowl marinate the mutton in following
the ginger+garlic+yogurt paste
1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
1/2 tsp of Kashmiri Mirch/Red Chilli Powder
1 tsp Mustard oil
I usually marinate mutton overnight but if you are short of time an hour or two should be okay.
Now heat some oil in a wide mouthed pan.
Temper the oil with
2 Black Cardamom
4 small green cardamom
2 small tej patta
2" stick of cinnamon
Once the spices sputter add
3 cups of sliced onion(about 1&1/2 large onion chopped in thin slices)
Fry onion till soft, pink and translucent
Now add the mutton along with the marinade.
1 tbsp Coriander powder
1/2 tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp Kashmiri Mirch
Now "bhuno/kashao" the mutton for next 30-35 mins. Water will release from the mutton and you will see oil surfacing.
Make a paste of
1/2 Cup of soft grated coconut
1/4 Cup of Cashew
with a splash of water
Add this coconut-kaju paste to the mutton and cook for another 15 minutes.
Now transfer the mutton to a pressure cooker. I also added potatoes to this dish on this particular day but usually the recipe does not call for potatoes
1/4 Cup of beaten yogurt mixed with 1 Cup of water
salt to taste
2 dry Red Chillies
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
and mix well
Close the lid of the pressure cooker. Once the steam has reached, lower the heat and cook mutton at low heat for about 20 mins. Next, raise the heat and cook for another 5 mins.
Let the pressure cooker release steam naturally. Open the cooker to an awesome arora and serve the Korma with rice or pulao.