Sundays are special, the only day Bapi can laze around in the morning without needing to steal a frenzied glance at his Tissot every other minute. (Of-course unless there’s an emergency and he has to make a mad dash to the hospital. But then, even at eight, I am used to that.)
Even Grandma’s Baal Gopal is allowed the liberty to wake up late on Sundays, not the usual crack of dawn as is the case the other days of the week.
Grandma is reclined on her ancient rocking chair, her back to the flood of golden winter sunshine, the leather-bound Ramayana on her lap, speaking occasionally to Bapi. This is the mother-son bonding time and I am reminded by Maa to not disturb them.
Maa and Didi are in the kitchen, furiously working on the luchis as they fluff up perfectly while the aloor dom simmers restlessly on the side.
Sunday morning breakfast is this – piping hot luchis accompanied with a delicious aloor dom (sometimes, a cholar dal with its ubiquitous toasted coconut slivers that I love to feast on) and begun bhaja. The last luchi is reserved to be had emni emni (just like that without any accompaniments), or with a teaspoon of sugar. Especially if the aloor dom was a wee bit too spicy.
Dada returns from his game of football, his olfactory nerves are not ones to miss the aroma of luchi wafting from the kitchen. Realising to his dismay that he is a bit too late for breakfast, he darts to the kitchen and complains – Amar luchi kothai ? (Where’s my luchi ?) Maa and Didi exchange a glance and burst into peals of laughter.
Far from being amused, Dada now goes looking for Grandma.
The laggard morning snails along.
Bapi perseveres with the crossword puzzle, conquering the white squares with great gusto, sipping his tea in between.
Grandma retires to the thakurghor to wake up her dearest Bal Gopal.
Dada attacks his luchis with voracious ferocity, pleading for one more helping and then another and then yet another, till Maa reminds him of the mutton that’s cooking for lunch.
And lunch is indeed elaborate, as is on Sundays, the rustic yet delectable Gota Moshlar Mangsho by far the piece de resistance of the meal.
Only whole spices, Maa reminds me when I call her for the recipe of Gota Moshlar Mangsho, no ground spices please.
Gota Moshlar Mangsho. A tear-jerking spicy mutton curry. Earthy yet delicious. A potpourri of aromatic whole spices. The warmth of ginger. The piquant zing of mustard oil. The heat of chillies. Bliss indeed !!!
Gota Moshlar Mangsho
- 650 g mutton cut into medium size pieces
- 5-6 green chilies slit
- salt to taste
For the marinade
- 5 big onions cut into cubes
- 1 tbsp garlic roughly chopped
- 1/2 tbsp ginger roughly chopped
- 7-8 green chilies roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp corinader seeds
- 1/2 tbsp black pepper corns
- 12-15 dry whole red chilies torn into small pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 green cardamom
- 3 cloves
- 2 one inch cinnamon
- 1 star anise
- 3/4 cup mustard oil
- Marinate the mutton with all the ingredients listed under For the Marinade. Give it a hearty mix, rub the marinade over the mutton pieces. Some 10 mins or so. This step is key, the patience is well worth it.
- Take a thick bottomed deep pan. Add the marinated mutton along with the marinade to the pan, sprinkle in the salt.
- Cook over a low flame for some 1.5 odd hours with occasional stirring.
- Pour 1/2 a cup of warm water, add the remaining 5-6 green chilies. Continue to cook till the mutton is tender.
- Adjust seasonings. Remove from the flame, give it a standing time of 15-20 minutes.
- Serve hot with piping hot rice and a squeeze of gondhoraj lebu.