I had earlier posted about a Kosha Mangsho pie – a dish we had served at one of our supper club evenings that had gone down very well. There were Aussies at that meal of course, and apparently if an Aussie doesn’t like a meat pie, he or she may have their passport revoked! Jokes aside though, some of our other guests were looking for a lower-carb option, and hence we decided to take the chops route, like we do with our Kolhapuri mutton, for a modern, Western style of the plating.
The Kosha Mangsho (roughly translated, mutton with a thick gravy), done well is a thing of beauty, and while we didn’t grow up having this much at home – my grandmother and mother preferring to cook the healthier, paatla jhol (or the more ‘soupy’ mutton curry). This was clearly a treat when we would eat out. It is dark, almost black, and the proof of its richness for me is that when I overdo it – especially in my recent advancing years – is that I need a Gelusil soon after.
I find the key to a good Kosha Mangsho is to rely on the main stars of the dish – the mutton, the browned onions that form the base (called beresta), the basic masalas, and patient, step-by-step cooking. That’s it. No messing around with too many other spices, tomatoes or any other additions. And when it comes out right, it is a lovely, thick brown-black gravy with all the flavours of the mutton, the heat from the spices and the sweetness from the caramelised onions locked in. It normally gets served with a nice dose of luchis (deep fried bread)/ rice / chapattis to deal with the richness, but we decided to combine it with a fresh beetroot raita (mixed with yoghurt) panna cotta to cut the richness, along with a coriander and mint sauce and a beetroot puree. The flavors and the colors seemed to come together nicely for me and from the reactions from our guests.
The recipe :
Kosha mangsho chops
- 1 kg mutton (kid) chops – typically 2 racks of ribs with 16 ribs in total for 8 double rib portions in all, cleaned and frenched.
For the marinade:
- 1 large onion
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 2 inch ginger
- 2 green chillies
- 2 tbsp yogurt
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp mustard oil
Whole spices for garam masala:
- 4-5 green cardamoms
- 2 sticks of cinnamon (1 inch each)
- 4-5 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 8-10 peppercorns
- 6-7 medium sized onions – sliced and caramelised with a little sugar to a deep brown colour (onions should deep brown – almost black, but soft and not burnt)
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 2 green chilies – sliced lengthwise
- 3 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp of cumin powder
- Salt and sugar to taste
- Mustard oil as per requirement
Make a smooth paste of the onions, turmeric, garlic, ginger and green chillies, salt and a little sugar. Marinate the mutton chops with yoghurt, the spice paste, salt and the 2 teaspoons of mustard oil for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator
Heat mustard oil in a pressure cooker or thick cast iron vessel, add the bay leaves and the whole garam masala spies till they sputter and release their aroma. Add the 2 additional sliced green chillies. Add the marinated mutton (just the chops, not the marinade) and seal the chops quickly on a high heat (in batches if it crowds the vessel). Add the fried onions, turmeric, cumin and coriander powder, and mix well. Season some more with salt and sugar and taste.
Add about a cup of water to the bowl with the remaining marinade in the bowl, mix it and pour it over the mutton and onions. In a pressure cooker, make sure they cover the mutton (if required, place them flesh side down in the liquid – or they’ll dry up). Pressure cook for 20 minutes / slow cook in a covered heavy vessel for 3-4 hours, adding little liquid from time to time to make sure it doesn’t dry up.
Get ready for plating:
Leave the chops refrigerated in the curry overnight (like a post-cook brine!) and the flavours develop nicely. On the day of the dinner, heat it gently in the microwave to loosen the gravy, take out the chops and then remove the bay leaves and the larger pieces of garam masala. Whizz the gravy in the blender to create a smooth sauce. I have tried to strain it, but I find I loose too much of that wonderful onion and prefer the thicker sauce.
Heat the chops (gently, else they will fall off the rib bones) and plate it with a spoonful of the sauce.
Beetroot raita panna cotta:
- 2 large beetroots / 3 medium beetroots
- ½ cup yogurt
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 3 gelatin sheets
- Salt and sugar to taste
Peel and cook through the beetroots (in the microwave or I prefer to pressure-cook them), whizz in the blender to create a thick pulp. Season with salt and sugar and save some of this in a squeeze tube for plating as a puree (about 2-3 tablespoons)
In a saucepan, add the remaining seasoned beetroot pulp, the yogurt and cumin powder – taste and adjust the seasoning (go easy on the sugar as the beetroot will bring a fair bit of sweetness). Measure out the mix – should be about 500 ml (add a little more yoghurt to bring it up to the measure if required). Start heating up the beetroot-yogurt mix at a low heat. The ratio is 250 ml of liquid to 1.5 gelatin sheets if you want to divide or multiply.
Cut up the 3 gelatin sheets into strips and add to the cold water to soften them. Once they are soft, squeeze them out and add it to the heated beetroot-yogurt mix. Stir till the gelatin dissolves.
Brush the cups of a silicon mould sheet / aluminum cups (use relatively small moulds – about 2-3 tablespoons of liquid) very lightly with vegetable oil. Pour the mix in the moulds, and refrigerate for about 8 hours for the panna cotta to set.
- ½ cup mint leaves (just the leaves – no stalks)
- ¼ cup coriander leaves (just the leaves – no stalks)
- 1-2 green chilies
- ½ inch piece of ginger
- ½ tbsp lemon juice
- Salt and Sugar to taste
Combine all the ingredients in the small blender vessel and blend into a smooth sauce. Decant into a squeeze tube for plating later.
Combine all the three ingredients – the chops, the beetroot raita panna cotta and plate – with the beetroot and mint sauces – dots / splashes, go crazy!