I was chopping veggies for lunch when suddenly my husband goes, “It’s been a while since you prepared “kosho bosho”. “What??” I almost yelled in shock. It did make sense to me in couple of seconds, but just for fun I kept my game face on. The poor guy scratched his head, tried his best to recollect and named out a few other options. Oh boy, it was just hilarious! I couldn’t control any longer and rolled on floor laughing loudly. For a six-foot tall guy, he can be really cute at times. Well, I can’t really deny the fact that it’s easy to remember spicy mutton curry than kosha mangsho. That’s what we call the dish in Bengali.
Next day, I told Ma the story and got a scolding instead. “How will he learn Bengali if you always laugh at him?” That’s her constant complain. She still has hopes that my non-Bengali husband will someday speak her language effortlessly and then she can finally stop communicating with him in her broken Hindi. Well, that perhaps will never happen, but I can settle with the fact that he not only enjoys the food that I grew up eating but also asks for more. And Ma truly appreciates that a lot.
I have been crazy for kosha mangsho for as long as I can remember. It always reminds me of lazy Sundays back at home. We would wake up listening to Rabindra Sangeet playing in the living room and Dad cleaning the meat that he just purchased from his favorite butcher while Ma would be humming along the song as she cooked our lunch. There was no rush, no daily madness and that’s the best part of Sunday. Slowing down before the chaos starts again.
In my family, Sunday lunch always includes meat. If it’s chicken, Dad will put on his chef hat and if it’s mutton, no one can prepare it better than Ma.
This spicy mutton curry is a hot favorite among Bengalis. You have to slow cook it, allowing the meat to release its juice, become tender and develop flavor as it mixes with the spices. It’s labor of love meant for special occasions, a Sunday family get together or occasionally just because Dad came across some good quality mutton on the way home from work. Although Bengalis like to eat rice for every meal, when it comes to this thick velvety mutton curry, they prefer to switch rice with luchis/pooris. Luchis/Pooris are deep fried mini flat breads made with whole wheat and it wholly compliments this curry.
After gobbling on kosha mangsho with several luchis, a good afternoon nap should always be part of the plan. And before we snoozed off, I asked Arvind “so, what’s the dish called?”. He said “kosho mosho….mansho” with a huge smile. Oh well, he is trying.