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Curried Goat - Pathar Maangsho


Pathar Maangsho or Curried Goat
Goat Meat - 2lbs (shoulder and front thighs are the best cuts)
Potatoes - 3 medium, halved (quartered if large)
Red onions - 1 medium, coarsely chopped
Garlic - 3 cloves, crushed
Indian green chili - 6 smallish, finely chopped
Tomatoes - 2 medium Romas, finely chopped
Dried bay leaves (tej pata) - 3
Green cardamom - 2 slightly crushed pods
Cloves - 4 slightly crushed
Black pepper corns - 10
Dried red chili - 3-4 large, roughly halved
Salt - to taste
Mustard Oil - 2 tbsp ( I use canola, you can use your preferred cooking oil)
Lime - to taste
Onion paste - 3 tbsp
Garlic paste - 4 tbsp
Ginger paste - 3tbsp
Beaten plain yogurt - 1/2 cup
Garam Masala - 2 tbsp
Red Chili Powder - 2 tbsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Freshly ground black pepper - 1/2 tbsp
Mace - 1/2 tsp
Mustard Oil - 4 tbsp (I use olive oil)
Prepping the meat
  • Wash and trim as much fat as you want off the meat. I usually trim most of it keeping just a little for flavoring the currying.
  • Rub some salt onto the pieces and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  • Mix all ingredients of the marinade but chili powder, turmeric and ground black pepper.
  • Heat a tsp of oil in a small pan and add the spice powders. Let the oil bubble but be careful not to burn the spices. Remove from heat and add the hot oil to the marinade.
  • Mix the ingredients well and pour over the meat. Rub the marinade into the meat and knead the meat for better absorption.
  • Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight. I usually refrigerate for twenty hours.
  • Heat some oil in a pan. Fry half the potatoes till well cooked. You may roast them too. Keep aside.
  • Heat 2tbsp of oil in a large wok. Add bay leaves, green cardamom, cloves and black pepper corns.
  • As soon as the cloves puff a little, add the red chilies and crushed garlic.
  • When the garlic starts turning golden,giving off an aroma, add the chopped onions and green chilies. Saute till oil seeps from the sides of the onion mixture.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and keep cooking this curry masala till the tomatoes turn mushy and oil starts separating from the mix.
  • Rub extra marinade off the meat and add the goat pieces to the masala in the wok.
  • Saute the meat for 3 minutes. Then add the marinade. Add salt and cook for 10 minutes. The yogurt will leave water and the meat will release some fat.
  • Now add the raw potatoes and enough water to cover every piece of meat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered for 2 hours. Every half hour check for water, if needed add more. Add the fried potatoes when the meat's almost done. You may fry all the potatoes and add them now but I like adding half the amount raw since it thickens and flavors the gravy.
  • After two hours, the meat should be cooked and slide right off the bones. If not, cook till meat's done.
  • If gravy is too thin for your liking, increase heat and cook uncovered till gravy is reduced to desired consistency.
  • Squeeze lime juice over each individual bowl of curry. The lime not only adds to flavor but also provides the vitamins necessary to better absorb the iron in the meat.
  • Serve piping hot with steamed rice, parathas or bread of your choice.
PS: Good goat meat should be juicy and slide right off the bones once fully cooked. If the cooked meat needs much pulling to tear then either it's not cooked enough. However, on further cooking if themeat turns dry then it has been over cooked which actually means the meat itself is of poor quality. Curried goat can't be enjoyed with silverware, it's best eaten messy like barbecue!

Mangsho in Bengali mostly refers to mutton which if often Bengalized to motton. Then again, mutton in most of India refers to goat. Goat milk or cheese is not very popular in the country and the animals are raised mainly for their meat. I have seen rows of whole skinned goats dangling from hooks at the butcher’s. Though I never realized then, since eating goat is such a big part of the Bengali life but now I wonder how vegetarians went about shopping from potatoes and tomatoes with those dead animals hanging around.

Mangsho technically is meat and can be white as in murgir mangsho or red as in pathar mangsho. However, in most Bengali homes mangsho simply mean curried goat. Though how the goat is cooked is important, the true taste of a great curry lies in the meat itself. Mangsho was usually our Sunday lunch staple and every Saturday morning, baba would travel the three kilometers to the Park Circus market to buy khashir mangsho from Haji. To be honest, I don’t know whether khashir mangsho means goat or a particular goat breed and if Haji was the name of a butcher, a shop or a generic term for Muslim butchers. Whatever it may have been, the meat was very smooth, succulent and didn’t stink like the ones from our neighborhood butcher. At times, I miss that dedication for buying fresh meat and fish in N as much as I miss the dedication to devote an entire Sunday morning to cooking in me.

Unlike other homes, Sunday breakfast was a simple fare usually of toast and jam. I also have memories of Sharma’s hot kachoris and jalebis or steaming idlis from a local eatery, eaten in bed while watching Madhuri Dixit and Mumtaz gyrate on screen in Rangoli. In short, Sunday breakfast was nothing ma would toil over.

Other than, curried goat Sunday lunch usually comprised of the steamed white rice, plain masoor dal, a vegetable curry and fried seasonal fish. Each dish was kept light and simple to cool the palate for the grande affaire. Lunch was enjoyed over hours with Doordarshan’s telecast of regional National award winning films for company. There was no rush to tend to unfinished chores. It was a meal enjoyed in the pleasant lassitude of a warm afternoon.

The same curry would be further reduced to very thick gravy for breakfast the next day, when it’d be enjoyed with luchi, the Bengali flour poori or paratha. During vacations, my friends often chose my place for Sunday night stays just for Monday’s breakfast. Ma’s curried goat was so good, a childhood friend I had lost touch with after primary school, called on ma after twenty years simply for the recipe. I say was since my mother unfortunately no longer has the patience to cook a good goat curry. Hence, this is the only recipe in my cookbook that comes straight out of her kitchen, no adulteration by yours truly this time. However, me being no ma, curried goat is enjoyed with steamed rice minus any sides and the reduced leftovers with paratha or roti in my house.

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