It was a big day at Plot No - 1 Budheswari Colony. Mr Jamai Babu (Son in law) was visiting for the first time after our wedding. Undoubtedly he was the apple of every one's eye. His face dazzled with all the attention he was getting. It was a big fat gathering.
After taking a peek into all the rooms I slipped into one of the quite corners of the house to lie down and rest my tired aching bones. J was surrounded by my Uncles, Aunts and Grandparents. Some visitors from the neighborhood had also barged in to see the new Jamai. Jhumpa, the four year girl from our neighborhood jumped on J's lap without the slightest hesitation and stared at his face as he was doing all the talking. I wondered if J looked like an alien to her.
While I was at solace in my own house J was bombarded with curious questions from everyone. Everybody was eager to know how the Amerikan Jamai was surviving at the far off land.Ironically no body was interested to know what he did for his living in Amerika ..... all they were curious about was food and food alone !
'Do you get fresh fish there ?' was my grandfather's question. 'No only frozen fish', J answered after clearing his choked throat. ' What about our desi vegetables ?' Every question revolved around food. All these just reaffirmed that we Odiyas' live and die for food !! If we know of a big meteorite heading towards earth we will spend all the time cooking and dining !
While the male members of my family kept J entertained, the female members were busy in chopping, grinding and cooking. It was a big deal and there was no stone unturned for this lavish lunch.
And when I say lavish I mean lavish !! The variety of food could easily outnumber the dishes of an restaurant. I could smell an amalgamation of macha besara, chicken curry, mutton jhola , ghanta tarkari, saga badi bhaja , pulao, kheeri, rasgulla and what not.
It was impossible for me to stick to ettiquetes ..... I marched straight into the kitchen, picked up my steel tray ..... mine because it was gifted to me on my naming ceremony and hence belonged to me. Nothing attracted me more than the Mansha Jhola with potatoes dunked in the gravy (Mutton Curry). I took a big serving of the mansha jhola with some pulao and went to the courtyard. I saw J being escorted to the dining area by my grandmother. Mom laid some shiny new steel plates and bowls. J was literally pampered to the extent of spoon feeding. I am sure my kith and kin were sympathizing with the lad for having married me - for cooking was never my cup of tea those days. There were too many people around the table and everyone trying to say something to him. They fed him till he chocked. Perhaps they thought of feeding him so much that it would last till his next visit. And that hopefully we won't complain about my miserable cooking ...... But I quite enjoyed the scene of the 'Jamai Bhojan' sitting under the guava tree in our courtyard under the warm winter Sun, smacking the bowl of mutton curry clean and throwing the bones at my pet cat 'Sundari'.
Preparation Time 45 minutes
Serves - 4
Mutton/ Lamb - 2 pounds
Potato - 1 big diced
2 Medium size Onions finely chopped
Ginger Garlic Paste - 2 tsp
Tomato - 1 small
Curd - 1 tsp
Red Chili Powder - 2 tsp (per taste)
Turmeric Powder - 1.5 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
Mutton Curry Powder - 1 tbsp
Cinnamon - 1 inch
Cardamon - 2
Cloves - 5
Whole Black Pepper - 8
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Bay Leaf - 1
Salt per taste
Ghee - 1/2 tsp
Mustard Oil for Cooking (You may use any oil alternatively)
Method of Preparation
1 Wash the mutton and remove moisture from it. Add 1 tsp red chili powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder, curd, salt and marinate. Keep aside for 20-30 minutes.
2 Heat mustard oil in a pan. When hot fry the diced potato till golden brown on all sides. Keep aside.
3 In a pressure cooker add some mustard oil. When warm add all the whole garam masala/ spices including cumin seeds. Add the finely sliced onions to it and saute till the onions are golden brown. You may add a little salt to the onions to cook it faster. Add ginger garlic paste and mix in with the onions. Also add tomatoes, 1 tsp red chili powder and tomatoes. Mix well and cook till the masala is cooked. Add cumin powder and Mutton curry masala and stir in.
4 Add the diced potatoes and marinated mutton pieces to the masala. Fry them mixing well for 10 minutes. Make sure you stir them continuously else the masala will stick to the bottom.
5 Add enough water to cover the mutton and potatoes. Pressure cook for 3 whistles.
6 Remove from heat and let it cool. Open the cooker and add 1/2 tsp of ghee and mix well.
Serve warm with plain basmati rice/ pulao or any Indian flat bread.