It is pouring outside. The sky is a canvas of monochromes, dull shades of grey, punctuated by ebony, the horizons are a blur, the lightning snake that occasionally zigzags across the Stygian dark heavens is ominous and the claps of thunder are deafening.
I am past the age when I used to be intimidated by the unbridled fury of nature, I still count ‘1…2..3…’ though when a flash of lightning pierces the canopy of the sky, almost expecting the rambunctious roar of thunder to reverberate across.
Bapi is reclining on Grandma’s armchair, a cup of Assam tea resting by his side, I am seated on a cane chair next to him, nudging him to regale me with stories of his medical college years in Dhaka.
Nothing, I have started to realize of late, provides Bapi greater bliss than reminiscing about Dhaka and today is no exception.
Sadarghat is a cauldron of confusion, Bapi proceeds to describe, a perennial parade of passengers snaking their way to steamer terminals.
And then there is the Ahsan Manzil, an architectural stunner, her octagonal dome that’s the pride of the Dhaka skyline. I hear they have now renovated the palace to her erstwhile grandeur.
Bapi drifts away, a wistful look on his face, as he stares listlessly at the horizons where the charcoal skies, the silver thread of a river and the verdant greens meet.
Tell me more, I coax.
And have I told you of the Northbrook Hall before ? What a resplendent example of Indo-Saracenic architecture!!!
Indo-Saracenic – I mutter to myself.
And then once again.
Making a mental note to look up Bapis treasured Britannica Encyclopaedia later in the day.
Bapi guides me on a whirlwind tour through the congested lanes and by-lanes of Dhaka. The Armenian Church. The spice markets of Farashganj. The awe-inspiring Dhakeshwari Temple. The venerable precincts of the Tara Masjid with her seraphic constellations of blue stars.
The conversation flows. Effortlessly.
More tea arrives. Cream crackers in tow.
And the discussion swerves to food.
And that was the time, I still remember this as if it were yesterday, Bapi waxed eloquent of the non-descript soot-blackened eating joints around Sadarghat, with their rickety wooden benches and ancient waiters, that served the most lip-smacking of fare. Biryani. Chicken roast. Mutton Glassy.
Mutton Glassy. The name latched on.
It took me longer than a decade to decipher the origins of the name – Mutton Glacé, perfected in the Memsahibs kitchens, mutton languorously cooked over a slow flame in a gorgeous golden-brown stock of bones and root vegetables.
Corrupted over the last century to Mutton Glassy.
The outcome, a delectable fusion, mutton stewed over a fatigued flame, in milk and milk solids, perfumed just subtly with aromatic spices, spiked with chillies. Sublime !!!
- 600 g mutton medium sized pieces
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 cup reduced milk 1/2 litre milk reduced to 1 cup
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1/4 cup onion paste
- 2 tsp ginger paste
- 1/2 tsp garlic paste
- 2 tbsp mustard oil
- 1/3 cup cream of milk doodh er shor
- 2 tbsp khoya grated
- 1/2 cup onion paste
- 3 tsp green chili paste
- 8-10 green chilies slit
- 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1/2 florets mace
- 2 green cardamom crushed
- 2 cloves crushed
- 2 one inch cinnamon crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup mustard oil
- 1 tbsp ghee
- salt to taste
- Marinate the mutton with all ingredients listed under First Marinade. Refrigerate overnight.
- Remove from the refrigerator, allow to return to room temperature, now add all of the ingredients listed under Second Marinade. Give it a hearty mix. Keep aside, an hour or so.
- Transfer the mutton along with the marinade to a heavy bottomed pan, cover and cook, with occasional stirring, over a low flame till the mutton is about 75% cooked. About 1 hour, I would reckon.
- Gently pour the milk over the mutton, continue to cook over a low flame till the mutton is tender. Another 30 mins or so.
- Now pour the reduced milk, throw in the green chilies and give it a hearty stir. Cook for another 8-10 odd minutes.
- Adjust seasonings, finish with a generous dollop of ghee.
- Allow to rest for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot.