The quintessential mutton kosha recipe from a classic Bengali kitchen – a typical Bengali Sunday lunch is incomplete with the generous serving of this out-of-the-world Bengali delicacy called mutton kosha!
If you ask any Bengali about that one dish which is connected to their heart then that has to be mutton kosha or as we dearly call is kosha mangsho! We Bengalis are little too freaky about food and I admit that, but when the food is as delish as this mutton kosha, I can’t blame ourselves! Just take a bite on that buttery soft piece of meat infused with mind-blowing flavors of spices and then tell me how you feel about it! I can bet that you will go as freaky as us! The transformation of spices during the slow roasting in oil and mutton juices is something indescribable and can only be experienced if you want to understand the real essence of it.
Kosha is the process of slow cooking the meat on low heat in oil with minimal liquid and all spices bended together and this particular process creates this amazing dish called mutton kosha. You will not be able to create the classic mutton kosha using a pressure cooker as the mutton pieces will be cooked way too quickly through pressure cooking without giving enough time for the flavors to build which is exactly what happens during the slow cooking process. Also, you will need to ensure that you get the freshest mutton possible; try not to use frozen mutton for making mutton kosha as frozen meat oozes out a lot of liquid which is a strict no-no for this recipe.
Being brought up in a typical Bengali household, I had my fare share of Bengali mutton kosha since my childhood. A classic Bengali Sunday lunch used to be a special affair in almost all Bengali homes with our dads getting hoards of groceries from the special Sunday market and our moms being extremely busy in kitchen cooking up a storm including this flagship mutton kosha on almost all Sundays! I have been missing this typical Sunday routine since the time I left my hometown for my job, but these sequences of events are still fresh as morning flowers in my memory and make me nostalgic at times. The aroma of mom’s kitchen used to drag me inside to do my bit of taste test after every 10 minutes and her getting mad at me used to amuse me like a naughty little cat. So, you see this mutton kosha is not just a food for us Bengalis but a piece of our memory lane; it’s like a heart-touching short story, a very personal one!
When I make mutton kosha these days, I can’t stop myself from being transported to my childhood days and the same happened when I am sitting down today to share this recipe with you all. Hope you don’t mind this tiny rant of mine; that just shows how close I am to certain recipes and can’t help but being nostalgic about it. Well, life is all about collecting memories which makes our life beautiful and worth living for and I live by this philosophy. What’s your fondest food memory of childhood? Do share it below in comment and I would be happy to start a conversation! Until then, let me sign off for today and leave you with the authentic Bengali mutton kosha a.k.a. kosha mangsho recipe! Enjoy!
- Mutton – 1 kg, bone-in pieces cut into medium size
- Grated raw papaya – ⅓ cup
- Hung/thick yogurt – ⅓ cup
- Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
- Red chili powder – 1 tsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Sugar – 1 tsp
- Mustard oil – ½ cup
- Sugar -1 tsp
- Bay leaf – 1
- Black cardamom – 2
- Green cardamom – 6 to 8
- Cinnamon stick – 2-inch piece, broken
- Dry red chili – 2
- Cloves – 6 to 8
- Black peppercorn – 8 to 10
- Onion paste – 1 cup
- Ginger paste – 1 tbsp
- Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
- Onion – 1, large, sliced
- Tomato puree – ½ cup
- Green chili – 2
- Cumin powder – 1 tbsp
- Red chili powder – ½ tsp
- Garam masala – 1 tsp
- Ghee/clarified butter – 1 tbsp
- Thoroughly wash the mutton pieces and take them in a large bowl. Add grated raw papaya, yogurt, turmeric powder, red chili powder, salt and sugar to the mutton pieces and mix them thoroughly to coat each piece of meat with yogurt and spices. Let the mutton marinate for at least 4 hours to upto overnight.
- When you are ready to cook, heat the mustard oil in a large heavy bottom stock pot or kadhai. Temper the hot oil with sugar, bay leaf, black & green cardamoms, cinnamon stick, dried red chilies, cloves and black peppercorn. Let them crackle and become fragrant for a minute or so on low heat ensuring they do not burn.
- Next add the onion paste and sauté them medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add the ginger & garlic paste. Sauté them for 5 more minutes.
- Now add the sliced onion and fry on medium for few more minutes until the onions turn golden brown.
- Next pour in the tomato puree and cook them for good 10 minutes. Then add the cumin powder, red chili powder, green chilies and sauté them until the onion-spice mixture turns deep brown in color.
- Finally add the marinated mutton and stir them well with the spice mixture.
- From now onwards, you will need to cook the mutton on low covering the pot with a heavy lid and stirring them occasionally to ensure the masala doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. You won’t need to add any water as the mutton itself will release a lot of water while you cover and cook.
- It would take about an hour on low heat to completely cook the mutton until they turn buttery soft. Try poking a piece of meat with the edge of a spoon and if the meat falls apart easily, mutton is fully cooked.
- Finally add garam masala and drizzle ghee on top. Give a final mix and serve the mutton kosha with plain hot Basmati rice. Enjoy!