Summer is all about mangoes. Raw mangoes in the beginning of the season and ripe ones thereafter. I am not a die hard mango lover per se and generally oscillate a bit more towards the raw variety than their ripe counterparts. However, like every child growing up in ’90s Calcutta, I too have my raw mangoes memories.
A chunk of my childhood was spent in the housing complex where my maternal grandmother (or Teesta as I call her) lives. Not surprisingly, most of my bumchums back in those days were kids from the building. We had a riot…all of us. The onset of Summer would invariably mean rehearsing for Rabindra Jayanti (birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore). Back from school and after a hurried evening tea, we would assemble at Bonny Di’s place (venerated sisterly figure for us kids) and start dancing to the tunes of Daaruno Agibaane re and Aaji Dokhino Duaar Khola. This would go on till late evening. On days that we turned lucky during the middle of the rehearsal the Kalbaishakhi would lash the city. Abandoning our practice then and there we would run down the stairs (thankfully Bonny di’s place was on the first floor) and to the giant mango tree that still stands tall. The bounty of raw mangoes that it had carefully nestled all this while would by now be scattered on the ground. We would lap them up with all our mights, some cradling them in our arms, others (those who were more prudent to bring poly bags along with them) popping those little balls of green into their bags. By the time the local selfish giant (a somebody from the building who used to hate kids…and still does I suppose) would come down from the fifth floor to shoo us away, our loot would be complete and we would be back rehearsing!
In those days there was very little you needed to savour the excellence of raw mangoes. A bit of rock salt and chaat masala did the trick. Ma or Teesta would make Aamer Chutney or Tauk Dal every alternate days and that meant the maximum exploitation of raw mangoes. But gone are those days and now when I see raw mangoes in front of me I always end up conjuring what to make with them.
Last year while Kolkata Food Bloggers was hosting their Know your Blogger event and it was Priyadarshini’s week I had totally wanted to make her KaNcha Aam ar Dhonepata diye Alu Dum. But it was December and raw mangoes were nowhere in sight. So I bookmarked the recipe and because I was really sick that week, ended up making this fabulous Murgi Khichudi. I was waiting for Summer to come (well…not really “waiting” for it, you know what I mean!) so that I could get down to making that Alu Dum. And what happened in between was that Priyadarshini ended up posting an Aam Mangsho recipe, again something that immediately was added to my “to do right away” list. So this particular night we had a dinner of KaNcha Aam Dhonepata Alu Dum and of course KaNcha Aam Mangsho, followed by Aamer Chutney. Raw mango overdose, you say? Well in this case, too much of a good thing was actually …well…good!
Recipe mostly adapted from Priyadarshini’s Let’s Talk Food (I just added the potatoes because I can’t think straight without my fair share of aloo!)
Mutton, cut into pieces: 1 kilo
Potatoes, halved: 4
Raw mango, cut in wedges: 2
Onions, chopped finely: 2
Garlic paste: 2 tbsp
Ginger paste: 1 tbsp
Green chillies: 3-4
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
Cumin seeds: 3/4 tsp
Fenugreek seeds: 1/2 tsp
Dried red chilies: 3-4
Water: 400 ml
Sat: to taste
Sugar: 1 tbsp
Mustard oil:; 1 tbsp
Ginger paste: 1 tbsp
Garlic paste: 1 tbsp
Green chilli paste: 2 tbsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
1. Marinate the mutton with the ingredients listed under marination for 4-5 hours or best overnight. Rub a little bit of turmeric and salt in the potatoes and fry them lightly. Set aside.
2. In a deep bottomed pan, dry roast the cumin and fenugreek seeds for 30-40 seconds till they release aroma. Add the marinated meat to it along with the juices that have seeped out. Fry for a few minutes on high heat, stirring constantly.
3. After 5-6 minutes add the Add turmeric powder and chopped onions, mix them well with the meat and keep stirring. We are not using any oil at this stage.
4. On medium low heat cover and cook the meat until it releases juices, roughly for 15 minutes. Now whack up the heat and fry for another 5 minutes till fat separates.
5. At this stage, drizzle mustard oil and sprinkle sugar and stir well.
6. Now transfer the meat to a pressure cooker. Add the raw mango wedges, potatoes, the dried red chillies and some salt. Pour the water into the pan where the meat had been cooking, scrape the sides of the pan and mix it well with the water. Bring it to a boil and add the water into the pressure cooker.
7. Pressure cook for about 20 minutes on medium low heat until one whistle. Serve hot with steamed rice and a couple of green chillies on the side.
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