Kosha Mangsho: An especially spicy Bengali preparation of chicken
Sreya and Sandipan Chatterjee have become regular guests at our home now. And they bring with them bagfuls of joy, fun and fruendship. They drop in, sometimes unnanounced, and the smile on our faces widen each time.
The last time they came, whcih was a couple of weeks ago — this is where we apologise to followers of our blog for no new posts for more than two weeks — they brought with them a little part of Kolkata. It was something every Bengali cherishes. It was their version of Kosha Mangsho. And they took over the kitchen to treat us to it.
So while I was not there — I got a little of the leftover, and it was still delicious, despite the reheating and all — Pooja waxed eloquent about this dish.
Here’s what they used:
- Chicken: 800 g
- Onions: 200 in paste form, 250 g chopped
- Tomato: 200 g
- Salt: to taste
- Ginger: 20 pods in paste form, 30 g chopped
- Garlic: 2 in paste form, 3 chopped
- Red chilli powder (optional): 30-40 g
- Turmeric: 20-30 g
- Green chilli: 2-3, slit dorsally
- Sugar (yes, you read that right): 20-30 g
- Mustard oil: 300-350 ml (yes, it will be oily)
- Water: 40-50 ml
The resulting dish should look something like this:
So, this is entirely Pooja’s account, and it starts with the marination, which took a full 30 minutes. And the first step was making a paste out of all that onion, ginger and garlic mentioned earlier.
The fresh chicken, just cleaned, is about to get a good lathering. And that ginger-garlic-onion paste is just the beginning!
Then, in go the turmeric and red chilli powder. And I am salivating as I type. This was made two weeks ago, and I still can’t forget the taste!
Now, add some of that mustard oil, mix everything well so every bit of the chicken’s surface area is lathered in the homogeneous marinade. Then set it aside for half an hour.
Meanwhile, ensure that your onions, garlic…
…and tomatoes are chopped and kept aside.
And this is where the husband-wife jugalbandi (collaboration, if you will) started showing. Pooja says as soon as the cooking began, Sreya and Sandipan displayed a kind of innate understanding that was truly amazing!
With the marination almost done, in goes the rest of the oil, and it’s quite a lot, into a pan for heating.
Pooja, at this point, is a silent spectator, flitting in and out of the busy couple’s way as she tries to pictorially document the recipe. She also scrunches her nose as the split green chillies hit the now-boiling oil, which already has just had the sugar put in it. The sugar will bring the beautiful brown colour this recipe boasts of.
Then, in go the chopped onions, which will be fried to a golden brown, with the sugar already working its magic.
Then, it’s the turn of the tomatoes. And more stirring ensues for a more homogeneous colour and so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
This time-consuming stirring is called “kosha” in Bengali. I am not familiar with the etymology. If you are, please feel free to tell us, and we will feature your statement here! Meanwhile, in with the well-marinated chicken.
As the stirring continues, the chicken cooks in not only the marinade, but the juices the onions and tomatoes had earlier released.
Sreya and Sandipan have kept on cooking the chicken for 20 minutes when the veggies reduce, the oils are released and the chicken has taken the beautiful brown hue that we so desire.
The pan is now covered and left to simmer on a small temperature, to kosha-fy the chicken a little more. And Pooja says the aroma at this point was making her homesick.
After around 5-10 minutes, a little water is added to the pan and its contents given a few more decisive stirs before Sreya and Sandipan pronounce the dish ready! And boy does it look good!
Like I said, Pooja and the Chatterjees simply gobbled this up in the early morning of India’s Independence Day, while I got to the leftovers later in the day. And it was every bit worth it! Interesting thing is, paired extremely well with both rice and bread!
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