Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kochi Pathar Jhol / Bengali Thin Mutton Curry

In Bengali "jhol" means a very thin and soupy gravy. Kochi Pathar Jhol is made with tender young goat meat and with potatoes. The consistency is more like a stew than a gravy. Unlike the Kosha Mangsho, this recipe does not require the "koshano" or simmering. We Bengalis can make through the whole meal with just this Jhol and rice. Enough to tempt us and full our tummy. yumm!!
There is something special about Sundays in Bengal. Its different. The Sunday mornings are always different, being a lazy time, with special elaborate  breakfasts and reading the newspapers for a loooong time. Then the lunch....the sunday lunch is very very special, because its that one day of the week when meat is prepared in almost every household.Many prepares this tender goat meat curry and many prepares a soupy chicken curry. Residing outside Kolkata, I do not feel that special spice of Sundays anymore, but sometimes I feel like cooking this particular curry to make a Sunday special feeling or when my husband asks me to cook this, since its one of his favorite mutton dish.

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I can particularly remember my school days, when I looked forward to the Sundays, for this aromatic, tasty lunch. If you ask any Bengali that what they had on Sundays, the obvious 90% answer will be "mangso bhat'. In those days, in the noon, when mother started preparing for the mutton curry, with chopping the onions and marinating the meat with curd and spices, mom used to smell like raw garlic and onion. And as the time passed, with every whistle, the house used to be filled up with a rich aroma and me and my sister slowly used to cue in the kitchen with the excuse of tasting the chicken, so that we can tell whether the salt is perfect or the meat needs to be more softened.

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I always requested mother to fill my bowl with the gravy, which I liked to sip directly from the bowl. It was so relishing at that time, that we sisters ended up licking up the bowl and asked mother for more. But mother was not so generous and pushed us to get a quick bath. There is another thing that I want to mention here. Mother always put some extra potatoes with the gravy, which made my next day evening food. I ate that with the left over gravy with puffed rice / muri.

Kochi Pathar Jhol / Bengali Thin Mutton Curry
Serves 4

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Ingredients:
  • 750gm meat of young goat
  • 3 medium potatoes - halved
  • 1 large onion - sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes - chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic - paste
  • 2 inch ginger stick - paste
  • 2 tbsp yogurt - beaten
  • 4 green cardamom
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 2 large bay leaves 
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder (rather than using readymade garam masala powder, you can dry roast the whole garam masalas, grind them and use 1 tsp of them)
  • salt
  • oil - to cook
  • ghee - 1 tbsp
Method:
  • Marinate the meat with yogurt, salt, half of the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and salt. Marinate the meat for at least 3-4 hours. It will be great to marinate the meat overnight, preferably in the fridge.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add the green cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves and bay leaves.
  • As the oil becomes fragrant add the sliced onion and saute till they are translucent. Then add the rest of the ginger-garlic paste and saute till the onions have become golden brown.
  • Now add the tomatoes and cook till they are tender and soft.
  • As the tomatoes start to become mushy add the marinated meat and halved potatoes. Fry them until the meat change their color and starts to release water from them.
  • I strongly recommend using a pressure cooker. Transfer the meat to the cooker and add water. Add water, matching your preferred quantity of gravy.
  • Cook on pressure until it blows 12-15 whistles. Let the steam get out of the cooker and then open the lid. Simmer for 7-10 minutes. This time is adequate for making a soupy gravy. But if you have patience and simmer for 30 more minutes, the gravy will thicken and you will have a rich mutton curry. 
  • If you are not cooking with a pressure cooker, then just cover the pan and cook until the meat is soft and tender. This process takes a tad bit long time. Stir occasionally to prevent the meat sticking to the pan and if the gravy turns dry, add water to it.
  • When you are done, put off the flame and add the ghee and garam masala powder. Give them a good stir and close the lid to open just before serving.








































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