With lots of sweat (in literal sense), a little bit of anxiety and chaos of all the food lined up on the dining table – I realised it’s the moment of truth. I wrote on the lid of the container – ‘Kosha Mangsho with love – Anindya’, with a permanent marker. The first ever batch and first parcel of Anindya’s Kosha Mangsho was about to leave. Why is this special? We are selling it.
I have often said this – I haven’t grown up eating Kosha Mangsho at home. Mangsho or goat meat being premium, most of the Bengali households would add Aloo, the gravy would be runny and that will be the main star of the meal. Longer cooking process, undivided attention, consumption of fuel and not a perfect pairing with plain rice, could be why it was never cooked at home.
The man who made Kosha Mangsho popular in Kolkata, was incidentally not a Bengali. You can read about places where you can get the best Kosha Mangsho in my previous blogpost. This is not updated, so in case you have any recommendations please let me know.
The realisation of serious cooking and Anindya’s Kosha Mangsho
Madhushree had started her weekend kitchen in Pre Covid times. There were family functions and post that, there was the pandemic. She took a temporary pause. March, April and May for most, have gone in understanding and acclematizing to the new normal. By the time we settled down, Madhushree started her weekend Fab Kitchen from last weekend of June. Here are few samples of the menu. After 3 weeks, I decided to take the plunge.
It’s been more than 8 years that I have been cooking Kosha Mangsho. Ma had her chartbusters of fish but I don’t prefer cooking fish. Actually, I’m quite inept at handling it. Those recipes like Doi Ilish, Cauliflower with Chingri Machh, Phulkopi roast have been passed on to the safe hands of Madhushree. I was taught Kosha Mangsho by my Mama – Priyankar Ghosh. In my generation, amongst all my family members, he has been the only man who enjoyed cooking and didn’t mind treating guests over his Kosha Mangsho. Whenever I have cooked for friends or familiy, it has been Kosha Mangsho. As I started doing the prep on a Friday afternoon – the thought sank in. Friends, family and guests are kind but it won’t be same for someone who is paying for it. As a paying customer, it is their right.
Onions, marination, larger Kadhai and standing for almost three hours at a stretch
I don’t like anyone else doing the prep. I picked the onions, chopped them, made the paste, marinated the mutton and then the pan was on the Gas oven. It was the same feeling of making a test debut on a yesteryear WACA wicket against Mcgrath with the 90’s Aussie Slip cordon. The next few hours were like a daze. Cooking is different these days. So mask and head cap added to the miseries. The tennis towel got used in the same way as I used it between game breaks. Colour, taste and melting pieces of mutton – three milestones to achieve. Unfortunately, it’s not gamification of cooking. Intense amount of stirring over low heat, which we call ‘koshano’, playing with the intensity of the heat under ever watchful eyes and slow cooking at best; it’s enormous hard work.
Feedback on Anindya’s Kosha Mangsho
The first feedback was from a friend, who along with her family and 7 year old daughter, enjoyed the Mangsho. The next one, was from a chef friend, who had lunch at 5 PM and wiped the plate clean. There was a feedback from another friend and food connoisieur who has grown up in Shyambazar area, that her 80 year old father liked and approved the Kosha Mangsho. This was a big one, as the gentleman has grown up eating Kosha Mangsho from Golbari. Kosha Mangsho is an emotion and one tweet from Shuma Raha – my journalist friend and Author of the best selling author – The Swap, brought back so many memories. It’s strange, that a dish, which has no connections to Bengal (till now I haven’t been able to figure out any), can stir up such strong emotions.
Temporary pause and the come back
In the meantime, the weekend ‘Fab kitchen by Madhushree’ got covered in The Calcutta Times in a piece about Kolkata homechefs. Next came The Bengal Story. Sudipto De did a fabulous job of writing about our journey in The New Indian Express on a Sunday. You can find all of them in the media mention section. Suddenly, on the 7th floor in our building, one person tested positive. We announced it on facebook and took a break for 14 days. In addition to a lot of other things that we do, Weekend Kitchen is more like a fun for us. If I may exaggerate, it’s like a party time for us. We create, we reach out and we wait for the feedback.
After 14 days, we will be back this weekend. Wait not the weekend and this is the big announcement – we will be available all through the week but only selected dishes and yes, Anindya’s Kosha Mangsho makes a come back. Wish us luck and if you like my Kosha Mangsho, then don’t forget to tag me on Facebook, twitter or Instagram. #KoshaMangshoTalks
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