Wine has been flowing freely in our household lately. Not from any bonus or a big chunky project coming my way, but by the way of participating in a Global Wine Adventure organised by Jacob’s Creek under the name of the The Label Project. You can read all about this adventure in my previous article. A few of us had been receiving ‘label-less’ bottles of wine, the grape variety and the region it originates had to be identified on the basis of clues that were given and the decision of our taste-buds.
Quite naturally, a lot of wine flowed into our tummies, conversations and into our cooking. Specially into the Mutton Curry cooked in the Bengali style, so famously known as the Kasha Mangsho. Kasha refers to the cooking style where the oil separates out from the spices as the meat is cooked. You may also cook the same without adding any Red Wine by substituting it with some Red Grape juice and Vinegar (given in the Recipe below).
With the Kasha Mangsho turning vintage, I felt the need to share my journey with all. A good experience turns into a better one only if it can be shared amongst more foodies. Traditionalists might scorn at twisting the traditional Kasha Mangsho but I’ve not professed to have written down a traditional recipe.
If you are in the mood to indulge yourself in the 4 S of Wine-tasting – ‘see, swirl, sniff, and sip’, I suggest you pour yourself some Red Wine along with pouring it into some Mutton for an indulgent marination. The Mutton that would have otherwise cooked itself to a Bengali Kasha Mangsho can now re-invent itself as the Mutton Kassa With Red Wine And Red Grapes!
I started cooking in the morning, chalking out the photo-shoot as I spotted the location and finalised the casting. It had to take place in the round marble-topped side table that we had – with the sunlight filtering through the white netted curtains. Though the location was constant, the look of the photo changed as the day progressed. The Grand Finale took place at night – casting shadows on the amateur photographer that I am. Tomorrow wouldn’t see any traces of my dish – that was a fact that I was very certain of!
Garam Masala – Cardamom (above L), Cinnamon (below) and Cloves form a very crucial trio for Bengali Garam Masala. Garam Masala (Garam means hot and Masala means mixture) is a blend of ground spices common in Indian and other South Asian cuisines. The composition of Garam Masala differs regionally across India. Roasted Garam Masala is used as a garnishing where the components of the various spice mix are toasted, then ground together.
Variations of the same is used in cooking in Nepal, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and many other places, specifically in the subcontinent.
Spices stimulate me like no other thing in the world. I am absolutely obsessed with Spices. I love the different smell, the texture of the different spices and the difference in the tastes that occur as we add a particular spice. This doesn’t mean that I like my food spicy. I like my food aromatic. A brilliant introduction to the most commonly used Indian Spices from eCurry, one of my favourite blog haunts.
Tej Patta/Bay Leaves are versatile and highly aromatic. Versatile because they can also be used in Western Cooking and highly enhances the aroma – specially in stews. As explained in eCurry, ‘Often mistaken as the Bay Leaf (leaf of the Laurel tree ) used in Western cooking, these are actually three veined leaves of the tree belonging to Cinnamonum group of trees. Tej Patta or Tamalpatra as it is called in Sanskrit are used to flavor different curries and rice. The leaves are aromatic with a slight hint of the fragrance of cinnamon. The leaves are first browned in oil first to increase the aroma.’
What probably excites me the most about Cooking is the fact that it encompasses all the senses – visual, smell, audio as well as touch. Visually alluring, I like the entire process of cooking. The psshhhhhh as I add the different ingredients into the hot oil, the aroma that instantly generates, the feel of the textures – all these fascinate me. And off-course the final product!
The other thing that fascinates me is the Gravy. And the way it goes into the meat or the fish or say, the simple unassuming potatoes. Specially the Potatoes that accompany a Mutton Curry!
Mutton Kassa With Red Wine And Red Grapes
Category – Side-Dish; Cuisine type – Bengali Fusion
Traditionally Wines do not go into any Indian cooking. The common base for most marinations is Yoghurt.
Following are the characteristics of all recipes doling out of our little hands, big hearth -
♥ Easy to cook
♥ Regular canned products off the shelf may be used (However, we advocate using fresh products)
♥ Goes well both as a regular or party dish
♥ Children can easily help in making the dish (My two little sous-chéfs are aged 8 and 3 years!)
♥ And lastly, guaranteed to be tasty!
Serves 6-8 persons
Preparation time – 2 hr 30 minutes maximum (Marination – 1 hour; Chopping the accompanying Vegetables for making the Fritters – 10 minutes; Slow Cooking – 1 hr)
Mutton – 1kg, medium sized pieces (I preferably pieces cut from the shoulder – more meat, less bones!)
Whole Ginger – 1 inch in size, grated/ Or Ginger Powder – 2 tsp
Whole Garlic – 8 pods, grated/ Or Garlic Powder – 2 tbsp
Potatoes – 4 medium pieces, cut into half
Onions – 2 big pieces, cut into slices
Tomatoes – 2, sliced into thin rings
Red Grapes – 8
1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Sugar
Salt as per taste
White Oil – 2 tbsp (Traditionally Mustard Oil is used. However, wasn’t confident how that would go with Red Wine!)
Water – 2 cups (You might have to add a bit more if the Gravy turns dry)
1 tbsp Ghee
2 Bay Leaves
1 Red Chilli Whole
4 Green Cardamoms
2 Cinnamon Sticks, 1 inch in size
Ginger Garlic Paste – 2 tsp/ Or Ginger Garlic Powder – 6 tsp
Red Wine* – 1 cup
Pepper – 2 tsp
1 Onions – medium sized, sliced
Garam Masala Powder – 1 tsp
Kashmiri Chilli Powder – 1 tsp (mainly for the colour)
Method of Preparation:
- Marinate the Mutton pieces in Red Wine, Pepper, Ginger Garlic Paste, Garam Masala Powder and Onions. Leave the marination for an hour
- Heat the oil in a flat bottomed. Add a pinch of sugar and gently fry the Potatoes (The Sugar adds a bit of colour to the Mutton). Set them aside
- Add the Bay leaves, Whole Garam Masala – Cardamom, Cinnamon Sticks and Cloves, Red Chilli and set them aside the moment they are lightly fried and starts emitting an aroma (Don’t leave them for long as that would burn these!) and the chopped onion and fry in low flame
- Add the Chopped Onions, grated Ginger and Garlic, Turmeric powder, Garam Masala Powder. Gently fry them making sure that it doesn’t burn or stick to the pan
- Add the Tomatoes and fry in low flame
- Add the Marinated Mutton and cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer in slow flame
- When the Mutton is half done add the Potatoes. Add the salt and salt. Let it simmer further till the meat is cooked till tender
For the Tempering
- Heat the Ghee in a small wok
- Stir in the Red Chillies, Bay Leaves, Whole Garam Masala – Cloves, Cinnamon and Cardamom Sticks, without burning them!
- Add the Grapes, fry them lightly and Pour into the cooked Mutton
Have the Mutton Kassa with fragrant Basmati Rice. We had the preparation with a special fragrant traditional Bengali Rice - Gobindobhog. Wikipedia defines it as ‘Gobindobhog is a rice referenced in ancient Indian literature. It was used as an offering to the gods because it was known to be, “The rice preferred by the gods”. It is a short grain, white, aromatic, sticky rice. It is grown traditionally in West Bengal, India. It has many traditional Bengali recipes intended for it specifically. It has a sweet buttery flavor and a potent aroma.’
* If you do not wish to add Wine
Red Grape Juice – 1/2 Cup
White Vinegar – 1/2 Cup
You may substitute Red Wine by adding the above. The taste slightly differs. But nevertheless, tasty.
Food evokes nostalgia. It brings back memories. Kasha Mangsho brings very strong memories as well, very beautifully written here. Most of us drift into different places as we we move along in our life’s journey. Making new friends, meeting new people, learning new culture, cooking new food is just a part of that evolution. While we cannot hold back to our past, we can always smile thinking about it as we move towards the future. Looking forward to hearing all about your evolution and life’s journey.
Unblogging it all… Ishita
Disclaimer: I hope you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals. While you enjoy seeing them please don’t use them. You can see more pictures of my travel and food journey here.
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