To me, it is cathartic to make Kosha Mangsho from scratch. It was the first mutton dish I cooked, having acquired the recipe from my maternal uncle, who made a brilliant version of it at every family get-together. Over the years, I have prepared the classic Bengali dish numerous times for friends and family, and even tweaked the original recipe occasionally. Attaining the perfect, dark brownish colour and the virtues of slow cooking are crucial to Kosha Mangsho. After so many years, it’s still my favourite dish to cook and perhaps one of the best dishes to come out of my kitchen.
(Plus overnight marination)
- 1.5 kg mutton, cubed
- 500 gm onions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup mustard oil
- 1/2 cup thick yogurt
- 4 tbsp garlic paste
- 2 tbsp ginger paste
- 4 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp Bengali garam masala powder
- 4 whole green cardamom pods
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 dried red chillies
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- Salt to taste
- Marinate the mutton with yogurt, ginger paste, garlic paste, 2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder and a bit of salt. Refrigerate overnight (at least for 3-4 hours).
- In a wok or a kadhai, heat 2 tbsp of mustard oil. Add the dried red chillies and half of the sliced onions. Fry until the onions are deep golden brown.
- Grind the fried onions and red chilli into a paste. You can add a little water but only if necessary. Keep it aside for later use.
- In the same pan, tip in the rest of the mustard oil. Once the oil is sizzling hot, reduce the flame and add bay leaves crushed with hands, whole cinnamon, whole green cardamoms, whole cloves, sugar and half a teaspoon of salt.
- When the whole spices start to splutter, toss in the remaining sliced onions.
- Fry the onions on medium heat, until golden brown.
- Stir in the remaining Kashmiri red chilli powder (or more) and 1 tsp of normal red chilli powder.
- When the onions are almost done, add the paste of fried onions and chilli. Continue stirring for a few more minutes until the masala is cooked through.
- The marinated mutton goes in next.
- Give it all a good mix in the kadhai and keep stirring until the meat has browned.
- Transfer the entire contents of the kadhai to a pressure cooker. Add a cup of water to it.
- Pressure cook for a few minutes (3-4 whistles). This will only half cook the mutton.
- Take the half-cooked meat and put it back into the kadhai. Stir the meat rigorously until the water evaporates.
- Cover the kadhai with a lid and let the meat cook on mellow heat.
- From time to time, uncover, increase the heat and stir, making sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the kadhai.
- This could take up to two and half hours. It depends on how much time you want to devote to getting the right colour and depth of flavour.
- When the mutton is almost done, add garam masala powder. Adjust the seasoning.
- Finish off with a few sliced green chillies.
- Serve the Kosha Mangsho piping hot with some steamed rice or parathas.