I grew up in Delhi and one of my most nostalgic memories is of Kali Pujo. Celebrated a day before Diwali, it was an all-night affair with all the Probaashi Bangaali collecting in the Puja Park, with the young ones flirting, the older ones gossiping and a few(the good, hard working cooks), making Maangsho and Luchi for the 3 am laaaaate dinner.
Kosha Maangsho cooked in the huge Cast Iron cauldron can never be replicated at home,. Nor the flavours which are infused with the fragrance of Dhunuchi and oil of the 108 Prodip (oil lamps).
I have however, found a trick which enables me to get close enough to that experience.
One, I always use the cast iron Kodahi (medium sized wok).
And two, I finish my recipe off by also baking the dish in the oven for half hour additionally. It gives a distinct smokiness.
I always like to add a portion of boneless mutton to the regular cuts of mutton..So approximately 250 gms of boneless mutton to 750 gms of regular cut. First, I wash the Mutton pieces and pat dry them
Now, I marinate them overnight or for 8 hours in the following marinade
Marinade : Paste of one small Raw Papaya, a little mustard oil, 1 tbsp, garlic pate, 1tbsp dahi, 2 tsp each of turmeric powder, 1/2 tbsp cumin powder, 1 tbsp coriander powder and 1 tsp Bangali Gorom Moshla.
Heat mustard oil in the Korahi and temper bay leaves, dry red chillies and asafoetida in it. To this add 1 tbsp of sugar and caramelise it
Finely slice 2 onions and make a paste of 2 onions and fry it in the oil. add Garlic paste and then ginger paste and fry till golden brown
Make a paste of 1 tsp Turmeric Powder, 1 tbsp cumin Powder, 1tbsp coriander powder, and 2 tbsp chilly powder with a little water and cook for one more minute. Ideally all of this should be Baata Moshla on a Shil Nodha(ground spices on flat grinding stone). To this add dahi(curd), and 3-4 sliced green chillies and cook on medium flame till oil separates from the masala
Once the oil separates, fry only the mutton on high flame in ths masala for 10 mins. The mutton needs to be stirred frequently to prevent sticking to the bottom of the wok. This is the ‘koshaano’ which gives our dish its distinct burnt brownness,
Now add the marinade, salt to taste and 1/2 cup of water and cook the mutton, covered on low flame for 45mins.
Now transfer the whole iron kodahi to a preheated Oven at 450* F/232*C and bake for another 20 mins. Once done, transfer back to the gas top. In a separate pan, heat 2 tbsp Ghee and add 1tsp Bangali Gorom Moshla and temper the mutton . Cover to seal the flavours.
Koshaa Maangsho is now ready to be devoured with luchis which look like our Bombay rain filled clouds!
‘Secret- I like to make Kaacha Aamer Bhorta as a condiment with this; but that’s another recipe.’