I admit, my kosha mangsho comes out good, but not great.
In any case, I made some yesterday. It turned out meltingly tender and more than edible but the drawbacks as I see it are – not enough of that clingy gravy and somehow just not that dark rich brown. Good enough, but good enough is not good enough.
Kosha Mangsho which to all real Bongs will mean goat mutton (not chicken, and definitely certainly absolutely not lamb) is basically a variant of bhuna ghosht or braised mutton. You cook it slow, and do not add any water. The spicing is fairly standard:
- bay leaf
- whole red chillies, as many as you can bear
- whole bong-style garam masala (relax, its just clove, cinnamon, cardamom and black cardamom in suitably mysterious proportions)
- ginger, paste or diced
- dhania, jeera, red chilli, turmeric paste
- two large potatoes, halved
- a little jaggery (or sugar)
The body of the gravy is from onions (lots of them – I used three medium onions to a kilo of meat and it felt a little short). Caramelizing onions the way restaurants do it is quicker but takes lots of oil - I stick to just about coating them in oil and leaving them covered on slow for hours (or for as long as you want to stay hungry, which in my case was about 15 min - this lack of patience is probably why my gravy is Jennifer Lopez rather than Naomi Campbell). Traditionally, bongs fry the mutton a bit before braising, but you can skip that.
So here goes – add the spices to hot hot oil and roast up, slow cook the onions on the lowest flame possible for as long as possible, add the potato halves, the mutton and salt, cover and continue on the lowest flame. Takes about 90 minutes till the mutton is done, add the dahi, then another 5-6 minutes uncovered till the gravy is clingy. Copius quantities of oil should be released by now, otherwise more slow-flame patience is recommended. Patience, in short, is a key ingredient of this process. I would have made luchis too, but I was already approaching Anna Hazare levels of fasting so I stuck to my maid's rotis.
Great, for so simple a dish, can be incredibly great, but even good is pretty droolworthy.