"Golbarir Kosha Mangsho." Now that is enough, to make me slurp, at any time of the day.There is Kosha Mangsho, and there is Golbarir Kosha Mangsho. The difference is so huge, probably no one even tried to fathom it. I swear by it for my North Kolkattan roots. Luckily for me, even Hubby swears by it(despite having no north Kolkattan roots). Well, we North Kolkattans do get snooty at times of our lineage.It also happens in our household, miles and miles away from North Kolkata, especially when the topic of Golbari comes up.

Well, many of you, might be wondering, what am I ranting about. I am surely talking about a curried goat dish, of a certain place in North Kolkata, but what is the big deal about it. Well, its a huge or a magnanimous deal for any Kolkattan. Very close to the iconic Five Point Crossing in Shymabazar, in North Kolkata, is an old eatery called GOLBARI. A  corner plot near the crossing with the huge statue of Netaji on a Horse. Yes, even most tourists in Kolkata, have seen that huge statue. So next time, you are in Kolkata, make sure, you head towards the Northern part of the city, and head to Golbari ! The culinary journey of the City of Joy is incomplete without Golbarir Kosha Mangsho.

Let me warn you that Golbari is no fancy place. No fancy waiters, no fancy decor not even fancy menu cards. You head there for the real deal: for the food, which is simply out of the world. Make sure, though, you are out of your dieting regimen, when you decide to head towards Golbari. The Kosha Mangsho is served with dark liquid fat, dominating most of your gravy. If you are thinking that your arteries are getting clogged, while just reading it, then I would say, get a bit bolder, and cook it up yourself. Or better still, if you are in Kolkata, head to Golbari, and order a plate of Kosha Mangsho, and see for yourself. The proof of the pudding, lies in eating, after all. No, your arteries will not get clogged. But its very possible that you will be in Meat Nirvana, just as you take the first bite. at Golbari, A serving of Kosha Mangsho, is always served with a couple of hot whole wheat Chapatis. The idea is to tear the Chapati, and dunk it in the brownish gravy, along with a chunk of meat, and enjoy. The meat is so well cooked, that it practically melts in your mouth.

Hubby did a great job of re-creating this iconic dish. The risk associated with it was immense,as the tastes are too familiar on all our taste buds. The man scored full marks in the taste and even how the dish looked, once he had served me. What more could a lady want on her weekend. Being served one of her favorite food, by the man she loves ! The gravy looked just similar.He started the preps a day in advance by marinating the meat, in a yogurt, ginger-garlic paste and his blend of masalas. Yogurt always works pretty well, in tenderizing the meat and reducing the cooking time  a lot. Here's hoping, that all of you enjoy this iconic re-creation as much as i enjoyed it.


Goat meat: 2 lb: cut into small pieces
Potato: 2 large: Halved
Ginger paste: 2 tbsp
Garlic paste:
Plain Yogurt: 1/2 cup
Onion: 1 large: finely chopped
Mustard Oil
Cumin Powder: 1 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder: 1 1/2  tsp
Kashmiri Mirch Powder: 1 tsp(adjust according to heat preferences)
Garam Masala Powder: 1/2 tsp
Sugar: 1 tsp
Stewed Tomatoes: 1/2 can (Can use fresh tomatoes as well. Use around 2 large tomatoes)
Green Chilies: 2 slit longitudinally(skip if you have a heat problem)

Make a mixture of yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, cumin powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder. Marinate the meat in this mixture and let it rest overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.

In a pan, add in the mustard oil and the sugar and let the sugar caramelise. Once the sugar starts caramelising, add in the chopped onions, and stir well. Fry the onions, till they start changing colour, and you get a lovely aroma. be careful that the masala does not get burnt.

Add in the marinated meat and kashmiri red chili powder, in the fried onions and mix well. Cover and cook on medium heat. Keep stirring in between, so that the meat does not stick to the pan.

Once the meat has half cooked, add in the potatoes and the stewed tomatoes, green chilies and salt to taste. Cover and cook, till the meat is fork tender.The tomatoes and yogurt will be releasing a lot of water, hence do not add in more water. However if you feel that the dish is getting too dry for your tastes, then you can add in some water, so that meat and potatoes get cooked properly.

The key to this dish, is cooking it covered on medium heat, so that the fat of the meat, adds to the gravy. when you can see oil/fat floating on the gravy, then you can understand that you are cooking it right.

This dish will have a thick gravy, which will be pretty dark in colour. The kashmiri red mirch powder and the tomatoes lend to the colour of the gravy.

Enjoy Golbarir Kosha Mangsho with some hot chapatis, and a green salad of cucumber and red onions.

Bon Appetit !!


Machher Muro diye Muger Daal :

 MUGER DAAL is something which I always associate with decadence.My mom, cooked it up in quite a few variations. And this sheer variety of cooking the same lentils, made me always believe as a child that this Daal(lentil) had something special about it. Kancha Muger Daal, Bhaja Muger Daal, Aam diye daal  all happen to be favorites of mine but Machher Muro diye Muger Daal (Yellow Mung beans soup cooked with fish head ) holds a special place in our household.Every Bong worth her/his salt, will have a special longing for this dish. Its that unmistakble Bong flavour which is so bold in this fish and lentil soup.The fish fead of a Rui(Rohu) is fried up, and then broken up into large chunks, and cooked along with the Daal,lending its signature taste. So if you are fish lover, or a daal lover, it should please both tastes, in one go. And this dish, spells decadence. Give calorie count a miss, when you are planning to cook this up !

I always pick up a large Rui Machh, weighing around 4.5 kgs, from the local Bangladeshi store, during my monthly groceries. Despite being frozen, Rui Machh here, has never let me down. The Fish monger, asks me courteously every time, whether he should cut the frozen fish in the Bengali style, to which I nod my head a few times.The man works on the fish with deft hands, and I get handed over three bags of prepped fish: One bag for the Peti (belly)pieces, one bag for the Gada(shoulder) pieces, and one bag, with the fish head cut into four pieces. The man knows his way around the greatest love of Bongs. And I walk out with a big smile on my face. If I am cooking up just for the two of us, then I usually use half the Machher Muro, for the Muger Daal, and keep the other half for some Muri Ghonto. If I am cooking up for a slightly larger batch of people, then the whole Muro, of the large Rui maachh, goes into the Daal. Since I love both Machher Muro diye Muger daal and Muri Ghonto, sometimes, I ask the fish monger if he has some extra Fish heads on sale, to which the answer is usually yes. I wonder which Bong, buys Fish from him, and leaves behind the Machher Muro. Thats something which I could probably never imagine doing.

Machher Muro diye Muger Daal is an ideal choice for me, when I am entertaining primarily a Bong crowd. It always is a hit, as it strikes the right culinary notes with the entire crowd. Now, what more could a happy hostess want. Here's a lil secret, I guess, I can share with all of you:Whenever I am making a larger batch of Machher Muro diye Muger Daal, for a party at home, I always, keep aside a small serving of Daal for myself, before I serve it all to the guests. One can never go wrong with some Muger Daal the next day with gorom Bhaat. Bliss!!


Muger Daal(Yellow Mung beans): 1 cup
Ginger paste: 1 1/2 tbsp
Rui Machher Muro(Rohu Fish head): 1 large head, cut into 4 pieces
Turmeric Powder
Cloves: 3
Green Cardamom: 3
Cinnamon Stick: 1 1/2 inches
Bay leaves: 3
Green Chilies: 3-4 slit longitudinally
Whole Cumin Seeds: 1 tsp
Ghee: 2 tbsp
Canola Oil: 3-4 tbsp
Cumin Powder: 1 1/2 tsp
Sugar: 1/2 tsp


In a deep pan, dry roast the Muger Daal, till you can see brown specks in it. Be careful not to burn the dal.

Remove from fire and keep aside.

Meanwhile, coat the fish head/Muro with some salt and turmeric powder. In another pan, add some canola oil, and when the oil is hot, add in the Muro.

Fry the Muro well on both sides.

Once the Muro is well fried, then use the cooking spoon, to break it into big chunks. Drain off the oil, and keep aside.

Pressure cook the dry roasted daal, till about 2 whistles or till the daal is properly boiled, but not turned into baby food.

Now for the final assembly steps. In the deep pan, in which you had dry roasted the daal, add in the ghee, and green chiles, bay leaves, and whole garam masala and cumin seeds.

Once the cumin seeds start changing colour, add in the boiled daal, ginger paste, cumin powder, salt and sugar, and the fried Muro and mix well. Add in a cup of hot water. Let the Daal come to a boil.

Once the daal starts boiling, continue cooking uncovered on medium heat, till the daal gets thicker. Check for seasonings.

This is a thick daal. Hence make sure that there is not to much water in it. Cook down if necessary.

I served with some steamed Basmati rice and some Beguni (egg plant fritters).

Bon Appetit !!!


MOCHAR GHONTO: Banana Blossoms cooked with Prawns !!

I have never been a fan of Andrew Zimmern's episodes in India for Bizarre Foods, except for his Kolkata episode. And the only reason I liked that particular episode was because it featured two of my favorites being cooked up and served on the show: 'Mochar Ghonto,' and 'Thor er Ghonto ', at a favorite resturant of mine: Oh! Calcutta !! For the uninitiated, Mocha refers to Banana Blossom, in simple terms. For the Bongs, every part of the Banana tree serves a culinary purpose. The Banana, eaten when ripe, or Green Plantains, are boiled and cooked in a gravy, called Kanch Kolar Kofta(almost akin to a meatball gravy).The stem of the Banana tree is chopped up, and cooked, with some soaked grams or prawns and is called 'Thor er Ghonto '.  The leaves of the Banana Tree are used to steam and cook a fish dish, known as Paturi . Hence all in all, the whole tree, finds its way into the Bong kitchen !!

Coming back to Mocha or the Banana Blossom: The inflorescence of the banana tree, is cleaned and chopped and cooked to perfection, to please the Bong soul, in a very special way. A handful of prawns thrown in, and some shredded fresh coconut, complete the party. Banana Blossom becomes Mochar Ghonto. Its quite a regular feature at the menus of all popular Bengali restaurants across India. Although I sincerely feel, that my Ma's Mochar Ghonto, can give the Oh! Calcutta one, a run for its money any day. The way she cooks Mochar Ghonto, will make you make it, with almost a plateful of rice, giving every other course a miss.Me and Bhai do not bother about chicken or Mutton, when Ma makes Mochar Ghonto.

Mochar Ghonto !! Whenever, I used to mention this, in the local Bong circuit, I used to get blank stares or even stares of disbelief from some. The idea, in the local Bong circuit, was that, who would go through that trouble, just for one meal. Well, now that is something I somehow could not relate to. For me, how could a Bong go without their share of Mocha for a long time. I am always game for cleaning and prep work, if the end result is something as lip smacking as  Mochar Ghonto ! Since I have taught Hubby dearest how to do the cleaning bit, Mocha has even become more regular at our household. We both love Mocha and delegation of duties helps it being a more regular feature on the monthly menu in our household.

Mochar Ghonto is also cooked Niramish or as a vegetarian dish, at times, in some households. While making a vegetarian version, some just stick to shredded coconut, some use boiled gram, while some make some pakoras from red lentils. I am a die-hard Aamish(Non-veg) person, hence for me, my Mochar Ghonto, always has some prawns or shrimps thrown in.  Our local Indian stores and also the Chinese stores, stock on some fresh Mocha. So every now and then, I pick up a couple. Mocha, like Spinach, as a problem of reducing in quantity once its cooked. Moreover, never get fooled by the size of the Mocha or the Banana Blossom itself,as half of it is discarded as inedible and bitter parts! So if you are a Mocha lover, like me, make sure you always pick up a couple. Never hurts to have a lil more to munch on.

MOCHAR GHONTO: Banana Blossoms cooked with Prawns and Coconut : 

Mocha/Banana Blossom: 2
Shredded Coconut(Fresh and Frozen): 3 tbsp
Prawns: A Handful
Potato: 2 medium sized ones, diced.
Bay Leaves: 2
Cumin Powder: 1 tsp
Ginger paste: 1tbsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/2 tsp
Red Chili Powder: 1/2 tsp
Mustard Oil


Clean and prep the Mocha:
Before you start cleaning the Mocha, take some mustard oil, in a small bowl, and rub your palms well with it. This will prevent staining from the mocha.
Remove a violet leaves of the Mocha one by one, and take out the flowers from within. Every flower has a small transparent cover sort of thing at its base and a string like part with a rounded top, or  a bulb like top. Both these parts need to be removed, as they are inedible, and bitter. Cleaning Mocha usually takes some time, so you can do it a day in advance, maybe while watching your favorite soap !

Chop the cleaned florets and boil them with turmeric powder and a pinch of salt. I usually use my pressure cooker, and give around 2 whistles. Once the steam has released, then discard the water. Knead or Mash the boiled and chopped florets, and keep aside.

In a non stick pan, add in the diced potatoes and some turmeric and let them caramelise around the edges.

Add in the prawns next and let them get some colour !!

Add in the mashed Mocha, along with the bay leaves, ginger paste, cumin powder, red chili powder and mix well. Check for seasonings, and add more salt if needed. Mix well.

Cover and cook for around 5-7 minutes,and then add in the shredded coconut. Mix well.

Cook covered till the potatoes are cooked. It is a dry dish.

Serve with some hot steamed Basmati rice !!

Bon Appetit !!! 


I scream, You Scream, We all scream for ILISH !! Yes, our Bong genes, will make us shout all the more, all the loudest, whenever someone mentions ILISH . Come Monsoon, and Bong households will make sure, that they bring this fish home. Times have changed, but the Bong psyche has not chnaged at all, when it comes to their favorite fresh water fish. So the Bong, be it in Kolkata, in New Delhi, or in Kansas City, will shop for ILISH, come Monsoons. Even if the concerned Bong, is currently in a part of the world, where there is no Monsoon, yet he/she will drive the few extra miles, to the Indian/ Bangladeshi store, and be the first one, to pick up JORA ILISH(A pair of Hilsa). There is a certain pride, a certain amount of bragging rights, on how well, the quality of Ilish has been purchased, and how well it has been cooked. This is a conversation which is so familiar to all Bongs. The love for Ilish unites Bongs across the world.While some Bongs debate over, whether it is a Bangaal  (East Bengali ) favorite, and with Ghotis(West Bengalis) preferring Chingri Machh(Prawns.) But that debate never did hold enough water. I come from a BA-TI hosuehold(Bangaal Mom and Ghoti Dad), but I have seen both my parents love ILISH equally crazily. So its obvious that Moi and Bhai(younger brother) grew up developing a keen taste for this delicacy.

It was yet another year, when I was away from Bhai on Raksha Bnadhan. At least during my Delhi stint, I could make sure, that I was around him on this special day. So this year, a day before Raksha Bandhan, I decided to make some Ilish Machher Jhaal , and dedicate it to my brother, virtually. When we were kids, Bhai had a special nickname for Ilish Machh. Well, if I did spill the nickname here, then he would be furious, so let that be a secret. Needless to say, it was his favorite, and continues to be so. So it seemed apt, that at least, I make Ilish Machh and share the pictures with him. That was my plan. And I stuck to it.

The beauty of cooking Ilish Machh is that, one does not experiment, a lot with the recipe. One does not cook Ilish Machh ever with Onions or Garlic or Ginger. That would be sacrilege. Ilish should be cooked in such a way, so that the natural flavour or aroma of the fish, is not altered by any of the ingredients, with which it is cooked. Hence everyone sticks to a few time-tested recipes, and it always works wonders for every Bong. Hubby however had some different ideas.He had been telling me stories of how his mother used to cook Ilish Machher Jhaal with MUKHI KOCHU. I had been refusing to do that for that last few years, So this Ilish Season, he decided to pick up JORA ILISH and Mukhi Kochu. He added that its a Bangaal recipe, and that it would taste awesome. So when I asked him for this said recipe, he smiled and added, that he had only eaten it, and does not know it himself. Well, I was not smiling for sure, as I had already, diced the Mukhi Kochu by then. So I stuck to my Ilish Machher Jhaal er recipe, and replaced the Aloo(Potato) in it, with Mukhi Kochu.I was after all dedicating the food to my brother, hence I did not want any variations to the taste, Bhai loved. Well, the results were quite lip smacking.


Ilish Maachh: 4 pieces
Mukhi Kochu: 2: peeled and cubed.
Green Chilies: 4-5, slit longitudinally(according to heat preferences)
Turmeric: 1-2 tsp
Red Chili Powder: 1 tsp
Sugar: 1/4 tsp
Kalo Jeere/Kalonji/Nigella Seeds: 1/2 tsp
Mustard oil: 6-7 tbsp

Clean the fish well, and remove all the scales. Wash it well, under running water, and then pat it dry with a paper towel. Coat the fish pieces with turmeric and some salt. Keep aside.

Heat mustard oil in a non stick pan. Don't substitute mustard oil, with any other oil, as it lends to the signature taste. So when you buy Ilish Maachh, ensure you also have Mustard Oil with you, on stock. Once the oil has just about started to smoke, carefully place the fishes in the pan, and shallow fry them, on moderately high heat. Ilish Machh tends to splutter, so keep a splutter guard handy. Turn the fishes after about frying them for 3 minutes per side, so that they are evenly fried on both sides.

 Remove the fishes from the oil, and add in the diced Mukhi Kochu. Fry them lightly and then keep aside.

In the same oil, add in Kalo jeere and the slit green chilies. Let them splutter.

Meanwhile, make a paste of red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt, sugar and around half a cup of water, in a bowl. Once you get the aroma of green chilies, from the oil, add this spice mixture. Mix well. Add in the fried Kochu, and cover and cook at about medium heat, till the Kochu is almost cooked.

Add in the fried Ilish Maach carefully in the gravy, and cook uncovered till the Kochu is totally cooked, and the fish has soaked up the gravy well. Reduce the gravy, so that it not too watery, but not too thick.

Check for seasonings ! Remove from Fire !!

Serve hot with some steamed Basmati Rice  !!!

Bon appetit !!!