I'm happy to say my Kosha Mangsho has improved the second time around. Here are the key changes
- More onions, and sliced rather than diced. There seems to be no situation in the kosha mangsho universe where too much onion is a concern. I finally added twice as much onion as meat, by volume. Sliced, I find, gives better texture - diced just meekly melts away.
- Dahi in the marinade, along with some green chilli paste. Green chillies give a more predictable, front-of-the-mouth heat. The last time, I had just ginger and salt in the marinade.
- More badi elaichi (black cardamom) - I tried just one for a kilo the last time, this time I upped it to three. Black cardamom is a powerful spice (on the rowdy side, if you ask me) but mutton seems more than capable of standing up to it.
- Gur instead of sugar. All that onion is going to be a little bitter when slow-roasted, so the sweetener keeps things from getting unpleasant. Gur is suitably gourmet, what with its organic roots and all, but sugar will do in a pinch.
- Some star anise, just to up the fun quotient. Seemed to fit with the other spices, though I'm sure my grandmother had never heard of it.
The colour of the gravy was still an issue - restaurants leave the stuff to simmer for hours, I had to finish before people died of hunger. I resorted, therefore, to an old trick someone taught me once - to get a nice dark colouring, fry a teaspoon of chilli powder till burnt. Chilli powder is a good colouring agent, while frying to death kills the heat. In a stroke that can only be described as master, the weak caramel of the last attempt transformed into a robust, deep, in-your-face brown worthy of real attention. Think of it as permitted colouring.
And the final step - keep a day in the fridge. Kosha mangsho improves much with age and anticipation.