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About Bhog-er Mangsho Recipe: This Bengali-style meat dish served to the gods

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Chitta Banerjee writes in her book Feeding the Gods: Memories of Food and Culture in Bengal, “Whenever I think of the autumn festival of Durga, and later reverence of the goddesses Lakshmi and Kali, the fragrance is far from over. Hot, puffed luchi (deep-fried puffed bread), alur bandha (slow-cooked spicy potatoes), golden chickpeas (yellow split peas) in a glossy, deep, tamarind sauce Spiced with cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cardamom, its thick texture flaunts with tiny coconut chips fried in ghee (clarified butter). The richness of the meat cooked in an aromatic, spicy sauce brings pleasure to the edge of sin. ” Unlike much of India, Bengal rejoices in the month of Ashwin, where preparations for Durga Puja take place with a steady precision, people buy new clothes and shoes for themselves and their families, and pandals begin to form, a compete with other. Creativity makes a big impression with subjects and there is a struggle between choosing in favor of traditional or modern sculptures of goddesses.

Read also: Tomato Chutney: A Sweet and Sour Chutney for Bengali Cuisine

Immediately after Durga Puja, comes Lakshmi Puja, and during the period when a large part of India celebrates Diwali by invoking Goddess Lakshmi in Bengal, it is all about Kali, the goddess who emerges from darkness and its name. is placed in this way. In Bengal, food is a large part of the cultural milieu, where both fish and meat are considered essential to be served to the goddess, a part of the ritual that enforces her rites as a ‘sadhoba’ or married woman. who is able to eat meat and fish with gusto. Goddess Durga is seen as someone who comes from her husband’s home in Kailash for a few days, and as a woman who has just returned to her parents’ house, accompanied by her children. is best treated.

Niramish vs Amish (Non-Veg vs. Veg):

Instead of words such as vegetarian/non-vegetarian, the words “Amish” and “Nirmish” are used in Bengali to denote food that is “meaty” and neer-Amish, that is, “non-vegetarian”. “Nirmish” not only refers to the meat of animals, but also to things that are heat-generating, i.e. vengeful in nature, such as onions, garlic, lentils and eggs. This separation is important, because at times meat is considered “bhog”, offered after sacrifice to the gods, and, therefore, not considered “Amish”.

Although the practice of sacrificing animals at the altars of the gods has mostly been abolished, and most people do not use that kind of meat, to cook “bareless” mangoes, the meat has to be obtained from a place that is not halal. This means, the meat should ideally come from a Bengal goat, uncut, raised mainly on grass, and not too old, preferably less than about 15 kg, by weight (which is also considered too old for many people). goes, but it works for my household). In addition, the recipe does not use onions or garlic to maintain its “noiseless” nature.

making spice mixes

In my household, the shil nora, or grinding stone, is essential for making most of the dishes offered to the gods. We rarely use blender. Sheel nora requires a little work and practice, but it’s one of the best ways to make a paste, as you can control how thick or fine you want your paste to be, and as much as possible. must be accurate. In this case, the paste is made from two different things – a coriander-cumin-chilli-chilli-turmeric paste and a ginger and green chili. The other thing that really works very well here is some fresh garam masala powder, made by grinding only three ingredients – cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. You can also marinate with raw papaya to soften the flesh, but this is optional.

How to make Nirmish Mangsho (or Bhog-er Mangsho):

Component:

  • 1 kg mutton, washed and removed excess water
  • 1 tbsp raw papaya paste (optional)
  • 3 tbsp thick plain curd
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp whole coriander
  • 1 tsp whole cumin
  • 1 teaspoon whole black pepper
  • 10 dry red chilies
  • 4-5 whole cardamom (green)
  • 1 big stick cinnamon
  • 9-10 cloves
  • 1 inch fresh turmeric or 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2-inch knob of fresh ginger, skinned
  • 6-8 green chilies
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 1 tsp freshly ground garam masala
  • 100 ml ghee (good quality)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar

Process:

1. Soak red chilies in hot water for 1 hour. Dry roast coriander, cumin, black pepper together. Grind with a little water along with fresh turmeric and red chillies. Grind ginger and 3-4 green chilies together (according to your heat tolerance). Keep the rest.

2. Apply papaya paste and lemon juice on the meat and keep it for 30 minutes. Then add ground ginger and green chili paste, salt, curd and half green coriander cumin seeds to it. Marinate for at least 2 hours, but no more than 4.

3. Heat ghee in a pan and immediately add whole cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. When they crackle, add sugar and red chili, followed by the rest of the ground paste. Cook for 3-4 minutes or till the paste turns brown. Then, add the meat. Fry and fry over high heat for at least 5-6 minutes, or until the meat is browned on all sides. Then, keep on stirring on medium heat for another 3-4 minutes. At this point, add a cup of hot water, pour in and scrape down the sides of the pan to get as much flavor out of there as possible. Then, cover and cook the meat to simmer for at least 40 minutes, checking occasionally if the water level is too low, and if so, add half a cup more hot water. When meat is 70% done, add potatoes (if desired), whole green peppers and another cup of hot water. Then, let it come to a boil, simmer for about 20-25 minutes, until the potatoes are fully cooked.

4. Just before taking the meat off the flame, check the spices, then sprinkle freshly made garam masala powder and (optional) one or two teaspoons of ghee, cover and turn off the heat. Let the meat sit undisturbed for 15 minutes, so that the flavors are fully absorbed.

5. Serve hot with rice.

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