Have you ever had those days when you wake up in the morning and can’t quite remember which day of the week it is? It used to happen to me quite a lot, before the ubiquitous mobile alarm intruded into our lives (and started to throw every possible information right from the word go)!
But never on Sundays.
I used to wonder why – but never could find the answer. May be Sunday’s used to start with the sound of the pressure cooker steaming out the oddly satisfying aroma of mutton being cooked! Every quintessential Bangali household would have this memory (with a chance of being replaced by Ilish during the monsoons).
There’s a saying that every household has their unique signature mutton curry and the out-of-practice but not-so-amateur cook in me was keen to find its own signature.
The lock-downs had been throwing in a spanner in my plans ever since.
Till it was this Sunday and finally, some fresh meat was there in my kitchen. Time to cook up a storm (and, as I was reminded several times by the in-charge, not to make the kitchen look like an after-math of a storm). 😉
I went by the super detailed recipe from my favorite Bong Youtubers – Bong Eats and their guide to a runny Pnathar jhol (aka mutton curry). I will spare myself from detailing the recipe as the bosses have already done it. Please scroll down to the end where you will find the Youtube link for the same. It was described & detailed to the T and I only had to lower the hotness and spiciness as there is a 5 year old mini-Honuman awaiting to have his share of “Button” (garbled Mutton)!
Going back three decades,
the most cherished memories of Sunday mutton curry at home was waiting with bated breath when the lid of the cooker would come off and Mom would take a couple of pieces with gravy and offer me to taste (apparently to check the seasoning and hotness meter!). For many of us, I am sure this also involved the customary stealing of more pieces including the liver during the lull before lunch when no one was around in the kitchen!
Incidentally I found my mini Honuman, Rishaan also wanting to try the same out after having made numerous rounds of the kitchen to confirm if the cooking was complete.
No, it’s not science, it’s purely on the mind. 😉
Incidentally, these few prepping hours in the kitchen reminded me of my first attempt to cook Mutton Kosha, not in India but while I was there in Copenhagen, Denmark back in 2012.
In SEARCH MUTTON IN COPENHAGEN
It was almost no-less than a treasure hunt in our quest to find goat meat and not lamb in a city that majorly serves lamb meat. Behind the Copenhagen Central Station, there used to be multiple alleys, housing different butcher shops and on a rainy afternoon, myself and my partner-in-crime Sayan, knocked at almost every butcher shop for goat meat. But then it wasn’t easy. After almost an hour walk, we finally got to a place whose owner proudly had a banner saying “Goat Meat” and voila, our quest was about to end.
Packing around 3 kilograms (sic!) of goat meat, we came back home on the Friday evening, waiting to prep for the grand Sunday lunch. Once we opened the packets, the distinct smell did raise our doubts on it being lamb but we had already jumped on to the journey.
Sayan, my wife Sassy and myself then gave good thoughts on how to do a first round of “marination” and finally used vinegar and little lime and kept it overnight – objective was to ensure the smell was not there. Sunday morning was a busy time – cooking the gravy in an induction oven (which took its own sweet long time) and then giving the mutton the right softness with a pressure cooker (yes – carried that from India. Must have!). Induction ovens and our “expertise” made sure that lunch was ready at around 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
The first touch of the meat soaked in the richness of the gravy, told us that beginners’ luck had struck and in no time, we were dipping ourselves in the gravy, enjoying the soft meat falling off the bone.
Back to our Sunday mutton COOKING
Though a bit mellowed down in spices for our mini Honuman (who thoroughly enjoyed his “button” and showered compliments on the happy cook), the Sunday Mutton Curry was a hit and everyone was pleasantly surprised with the result.
But miles to go before I can perfect that signature. (Well obviously, what were you even thinking!)
However, there is a saying – ‘bashi (day old) food tastes better” and for Monday’s dinner, the same leftover jhol returned with a bang – letting us know that we should give the rest of the uncooked meat, the richness it deserves.
Something like this may be? 😉