I am a shy cook and the only dish that I have mastered is Kosha Mangsho. Dipali is a classic cook and she cooks regularly depending on her mood but it’s said that when she makes her Mutton Korma, it’s a news in Delhi and people travel miles to taste it.
Can you believe that I was lucky enough to taste that?
Dipali was in Kolkata for some work of hers and one of her agendas in the visit was to taste my Kosha Mangsho which I would have too cook in her presence and to treat us with her special mutton korma. She was kind enough to agree to cook. So the stage was set and it was Kosha Mangsho vs Mutton Korma. I had to marinade my mutton the night before with Yogurt, garlic and ginger paste, salt to taste, pepper and Kashmiri chili powder. In case you are interested to know more about my Kosha Mangsho – read it here.
Dipali had asked me to marinade the mutton for Mutton Korma and she introduced a hack which was to add Papaya paste and leave it for her for the next day. When she comes in she will do the rest. She changed her decision and asked me to wait for her in the morning. We prepared the papaya paste and kept it ready.
We started cooking around noon the next day. As close a cook off as it can be, it was sharing the same gas oven Mutton Korma and Kosha Mangsho head to head.
Twist in the tale
If there is no twist then there is no fun. Half an hour into cooking, when the taste and colour of Kosha Mangsh, in spite of adding all the necessary ingredients was not shaping up and Dipali was not feeling happy about the colour of the Mutton Korma, we realised that our man friday has goofed up and a big time goof up. He changed the muttons as he was pouring in individual cooking pans. So my over night marinade mutton was getting prepared for Korma under the able guidance and observation of Dipali and I the novice one, was working with the Papaya paste marinaded Mutton for kosha mangsho.
What happened thereafter
It’s a pleasure watching Dipali cook. It is effortless and has the grace of a Ballet dancer in the way she would prepare her food and so apt for a dish like Mutton Korma, which has such a rich history behind it. I am not a person who has been too keen to dissect the history of a dish but the use of Jharna ghee, ground almond, and slow braising in Ghee clearly reflected the Mughlai and even before that the Persian Koresh (a ghee based mild stew) roots of the dish. Although I must say that Dipali was not very happy with our good old Jharna ghee and she promised that the desi ghee in Delhi tastes and smells better, especially with the korma.
These are ideal win win situations when we finally sat down for lunch. It was a slice of Delhi’s Mughal empire, rich culture and heritage of Mutton Korma who shared the podium with the urban, free flowing, easy going lyrical Kosha Mangsho. For obvious reasons, I didn’t touch my Kosha Mangsho rather feasted upon the Mutton Korma. While preparing, we tried out the same with a slice of bread and as insisted by Dipali, having Mutton Korma with rice is a cardinal sin. Madhushree wiped clean her plate everytime she had this and Tugga had the same for breakfast next day (which is rare for him) and I think I had the last piece till next evening. I don’t know whether Dipali will share her opinion about Kosha Mangsho but I can say as much, this is worth making news in Delhi the days this gets cooked. The balance, the richness creates an attraction which is hard to evade. It is now my turn to try out the Mutton Korma on my cooking pan. Till such time with a wish to taste Dipali’s Mutton Korma once again and for many many times – here is the recipe.
- 1 1/2 kg Mutton
- 4 cups Thick Yogurt
- 1 1/2 cups Ghee
- 1 packet Shaan Korma Masala
- 6 nos Large Onions finely sliced
- 1 pod garlic
- 3 inch ginger
- 1 cup raw papaya paste
- 2 tbsp Kewra Water
- Salt To Taste
- Marinate the mutton pieces for an hour with the raw papaya paste.
- While the mutton is marinating, prep the onions into fine slices. Also, make a paste of the ginger and garlic together.
- In a heavy bottomed pan, take 1 1/2 cups of ghee and when it becomes hot, add the sliced onions. Fry the onions till they are golden brown and then drain the onions out of the pan and keep aside.
- In the same ghee, add the mutton pieces and the korma masala and mix it all together. Add salt and then over high heat, brown the meat for a couple of minutes.
- Mix garlic and ginger paste in the yogurt and beat it. Then add the beaten yogurt to the mutton. Keep the heat high and stir everything for 5 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to medium and cover the pan and continue cooking for 45 minutes.
- Stir from time to time so that nothing sticks to the bottom. Scrape the bottom if anything sticks.
- Half way through the cooking of the meat, add the onions and mix it all up nicely.
- Then lower the tempertaure and cook for another hour or till the mutton has become tender.
- To reduce the water, do not increase the heat directly. Instead, take a tawa and place the pan over the tawa. Then on indirect medium heat, reduce the water.
- When the gravy has reached a thick consistency and the meat has become tender, add the kewra water.
- Check the seasoning a final time and then turn off the heat.
- Serve it with some parantha and onion salad. It goes very well with some pav too.