Romancing food is not a new phenomena. Memories become more vivid when we shuffle and reshuffle to fish out the anecdotes related to food. The stories turn out to be so intense that one can instantly taste the flavours lingering in the mouth. Today I am going to chronicle one such memory with my readers.
The affair between Sunday and Mangsher Jhol (Mutton Curry) is totally unknown to me till I got married. Like every other Bengali Household, Mutton is never been cooked in our house to enjoy the Sunday afternoons, which actually beholds one of the characteristics that you are a true blue Bengali. At my home mutton used to enter occasionally, and that day was a day to be celebrated for both of us – the sisters. Specially on that day (when Mutton was part of the menu), we used to be at our best-selves being our parents’ most obedient daughters and shamelessly salivated on the dining table over our plates. Mutton seemed to us like the faraway lover who once in a while appeared to replete these two poor souls. And our Cupids were then none but my father and Naranda – an out-of-the-way fish monger. My father used to live in Mumbai as his job called and we (my mother, my sister and I) at Santiniketan. Whenever my father was around, we used to celebrate the bond of togetherness through food and Mutton was the main hero then. My father is an awesome cook and so as my mother. They both are like the perfect pair to rock in the kitchen and create histories on plate. Whenever mutton was getting cooked in my Mom’s kitchen, it was like an eventful affair on go. We earnestly used to wait for the whistles of the pressure cooker to blow. Slowly the nose prickling aroma used to curl up like an invisible enchantress and hypnotically pull us towards the kitchen. That memory was so vivid that not a single splotch of it faded off.
Now coming to our other cupid Naranda (whose actually name was Narayanda, but we used to pronounce his name like this) was basically a fish monger. He used to appear out of the blue all of a sudden once or twice in a month to our house with a collection of exotic fish which were rare to get in the local fish market. All the big budget fish like Lobsters, Bengal Boal, Aar Machh, heavy weighted Katla and Rui Machh etc. would be found in his cane weaved basket. Therefore he used to stood totally uncommon among the lot of fishmongers who used to cater fish from each house to the other on regular basis with the locally fetched fish. Naranda apart from selling fish once in a while used to bring mutton too. And whenever Naranda got hold of the mutton that was the Sunday fun for us. Without asking my mother if she wanted or not, he would directly enter in the kitchen and keep a bag full of mutton pieces on kitchen sink and tell my mom to just keep the mutton, he would not charge anything. And hilariously he would appear in the evening with his speckled clean shirt and pant, spreading an odour of some strong perfume, to ask for the cost of the mutton. Knowing, that it was his regular practice, my mom used to keep the amount handy. But before handing over the money my mom used to tell him that she thought it’s a free gift! Spreading out his tinged teeth with an impish smile, with folded hands, he would enunciate his age old reply : “ Ta ki hoye, pet e morbo to!” ( How could it be possible, we would starve to die).
Now let us come to the recipe I am going share today. It is totally a hassle free dish to cook. Just marinade the mutton with all the ingredients needed and slow cook till it is done. It might need an hour or two to get it it done, but believe me you are going smack your lips and hand and get an urge to have more. Here is the recipe-