Last week was quite a busy one! Not with work but with all the festivity. It was the time of ‘Durga Puja’ (majorly celebrated in the state West Bengal and a few other states in India). Durga Puja has been one of the festivals very close to my heart. If you’re wondering what the festival is all about, here’s a synopsis from Wikipedia (edited):
‘Durga Puja is an annual Hindu festival in South Asia that celebrates worship of the goddess Durga. It refers to all the six days observed as Mahalaya, Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami and Vijayadashami. The festival marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. According to mythology, Mahishasura was a very powerful demon who had conquered heaven by defeating the Gods. Gods Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu assembled forth together and from their anger emerged rays of light which took the shape of a woman, Goddess Durga to kill this demon. And with the assembled power of all Gods and riding on a lion as her vehicle, Durga killed the most powerful demon ‘Mahishasura’ and brought victory to heaven. Thus, Durga Puja festival epitomises the victory of Good over Evil.’ The story always fascinates me a lot, whenever I hear it.
The festival is always celebrated with family and dear ones, visiting them and having a fun time together. Food is definitely one crucial part of this festival as well. I went for the celebration here in Singapore as well and I over ate on all days! The food was simply amazing! I couldn’t help but take some pictures 🙂
On the last day of the festival (Vijayadashami), I decided to prepare the all time favorite mutton curry at home instead of eating out. This Bengali dish is authentically called ‘Kasha Mangsho’ which is a slow cooked preparation of mutton. The dish is rich with spices and I would say one of the most delicious one in Indian cuisine.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1.5 hours in vessel (If you don’t have too much time, you can use a pressure cooker, takes half the time to prepare the dish).
Mutton – 1 kg
Oil – Mustard Oil or Vegetable oil – 2 to 3 tablespoons
Onion – 3 big, ground in a mixer to make a paste
Tomato – 2 medium, made into a paste
Ginger paste – 1 tablespoon
Garlic paste – 2 – 3 tablespoons
Potato – 1 medium, skinned and cut into half
Green chili – 3-4 medium, grated
Bay Leaves – 2
Turmeric powder – 2 teaspoons
Cumin powder – 2 teaspoons
Coriander powder – 2.5 teaspoons
Garam Masala powder – 2 teaspoons (It’s a mixture of spices available at any grocery store or supermarket selling Indian spices)
Cinnamon – 2 cm long, broken
Cardamom – 2 to 3
Cloves – 4 to 5
Water – 2 to 3 cups or as required
Salt – to taste
Step 1: Heat oil in an U shaped pan or vessel and add the bay leaves and potatoes.
Step 2: Add the onion paste and turmeric and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook for 5 to 6 minutes.
Step 3: Add the tomato paste and stir for 2 minutes. Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, chili powder, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until the tomato is cooked.
Step 4: Add the mutton and salt. Mix well for few minutes until the mutton changes to a slight brownish color. Add 2 cups of water and cover the pan/vessel and cook under medium heat. Let the meat cook slowly. It will take quite a while (one hour or a bit more) to cook. So you can enjoy Television or finish other chores meanwhile. Check the mutton occasionally with some stirring and then cover again. If more water is needed, add a cup more.
Step 5: Once the mutton is soft and you have a desired consistency of the gravy, add the Garam Masala and give a stir. Check the salt. Serve hot with rice or bread.
A few tips:
- If you want to cook the dish faster, after adding the mutton, transfer everything to a pressure cooker. Cover the lid and cook until there are 10-12 whistles or more as required. Eject the steam, open the cooker and check if the mutton is soft and you have the desired consistency for gravy. This is much faster, takes about half the time than cooking in a pan/vessel.
- For cholesterol watchers, if you want to remove the extra fat from the mutton, before cooking, add the raw mutton in boiling water for around 5-10 minutes until the fat is removed. Drain the water.