I had to start this blogpost on this note from Andhadhun, the recent hit movie which is making news.
– What is life? A character asks in the movie.
– It all depends on the liver – he answers himself.
The liver here may or may not have anything to do with Mete or liver that we eat but liver is something which we all enjoy. It’s the season of Kali Pujo and Mutton or Mangsho, that too sacrifice or Bolir Mangsho is a must have. My neighbour in Chandannagore used to do Kali pujo at home. Their grandson was my best friend. Every year on Kali Pujo, at night we used to wait eagerly for the boli or the sacrifice to happen. As kids, obviously we were not allowed to watch the process of sacrifice but in later years, we got the permit.
I am yet to find out the reason why the mutton tasted so delicious when we used to have this next day for lunch. The entire neighborhood would be invited for the meal and that was my first experience of community eating. It did not end there. Ma used to carry a tiffin carrier (Tiffin carrier used to be an integral part of the moms while we were growing up and ask them about it – they will give you a 100 utilities for those stacked up steel boxes) and pack the mangsho for later consumption too.
The daily bhog at Kalighat can give any premium bengali fine dining place a run for its money. There, the sacrificial mutton or the mangsho needs a special mention. It is always cooked in a niramish way and the taste is simply superior. When it’s niramish, unlike most of the other parts of the country, onion and garlic is not used in the cooking. This Kumro meter chorchori is also without onion and garlic and the recipe is tracked down from Madhushree’s Kakima’s (aunt’s) hometown in Coochbehar, where this recipe is made using the sacrificial goat meat liver during kali pujo.
Mutton liver has a unique texture. It has a bite, yet if cooked right, almost melts in the mouth. When small nuggets of mutton liver is cooked in spices with a soft mushy pumpkin, the difference in the texture creates a very interesting combination. Since onions and garlic are not used, there is a hint of heeng (asafoetida) coupled with a variety of tones that you get from the use of panch phoron. The ultimate experience is sublime. Recommended accompanist is steamed rice and the alternate soft and hard textures of the ingredients is thoroughly enjoyable. Try this Kumro Meter Chorchori this season and let us know how you liked it.
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Kumro Meter chorchori / Pumpkin and mutton liver curry
- 1 Kg pumpkin
- 300 gms mutton liver
- 1 tsp Panch Phoron
- 1 no Dried Red Chili
- 1 pinch heeng see notes
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 heaped tsp Ginger Paste freshly grated
- 3 tbsp Mustard Oil
- 1/2 tsp Sugar
- 2 nos green chillies
- Salt To Taste
- Cut the mutton liver into small cubes (about 1.5 cm by 1.5 cm approx). Wash them and pat them dry. Also cut the pumpkin into cubes (about 3 cm by 3 cm approx) and wash and keep them aside.
- In a frying pan, take 2 tbsp of mustard oil and when the oil is hot, fry the mutton liver pieces over medium to high heat. Since they are small cubes, it takes about 5 to 8 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces and the thickness of your frying pan) for the liver pieces to be cooked. Sprinkle some salt over them. We don't want to over cook them since liver becomes quite chewy and dry when over cooked. Once done, using a slotted spoon to drain out the oil and keep the cubes aside.
- In the same frying pan, add another tbsp of mustard oil and when the oil becomes hot, add dried red chilli and panch phoron. Let the spices temper lightly, when you add the heeng mixed with a little bit of water.
- Then immediately add the pumpkin pieces and sprinkle turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt over them. Now stir to coat all the pumpkin pieces with the spices.
- Fry over high heat for 5 to 6 minutes and then lower the temperature and cover and cook. From time to time, remove the lid and check the progress of the pumpkin cooking. Try to do that as often as possible, since the pumpkin will release a lot of water. So while removing the cover, fry at high heat to reduce the water.
- After about 15 to 20 minutes of cooking, when the pumpkin pieces have become almost soft, add the liver cubes. Add freshly grated ginger and the sugar.
- Stir fry over high heat till all the water evaporates and the oil starts to release from the sides. When the pumpkin is beautifully cooked, check the seasoning and finally add slit green chillies and turn off the heat.
- Serve with steamed white rice.
- Amount of heeng used should be as peer the strength of the heeng. Really good quality pure heeng required even less than a pinch.