Kathal ki sabzi
The Bengali word for raw kathal is “Enchor”. It s also called “gaach patha” wherein “gaach” means tree and “patha” means mutton. So it was a way of saying that when cooked properly the kathal dish tasted like mutton..a mutton that grew on trees.
I remember my grandmother cooking kathal in this very manner. My grandfather was always the one to prep things before my grandmother entered the kitchen. He would sit down early morning with his “bothi” ( a traditional cutting and chopping implement) and he would diligently cut all the vegetables required for the day’s cooking. He would even slice the green chillies and keep them handy.
Cutting kathal is an art that has to be mastered. It is extremely messy and sticky. You need to liberally oil your hands and knives otherwise you end up with white sticky, gluey stuff everywhere.
Then there are certain parts of the kathal that need to be thrown away as they are unpalatable. Once you have finished with the cutting part then there are various steps to the cooking part. Kathal does not cook easily. So it is important to pressure cook it first. Then you can actually prepare it the way you cook mutton. “Gaach Patha” like I said!
1 small raw kathal, cut into pieces
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 bay leaf
2 dry red chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 onions, grated
2 tomatoes, grated
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
2 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbso cumin powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
Pinch of sugar
Salt to taste
1 tsp ghee
½ tsp cardamom powder
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
1 cup mustard oil
First pressure cook the kathal for one whistle.
Heat the mustard oil to smoking point. Fry the kathal pieces in two batches till they are golden brown. Keep aside.
Fry the potatoes. Now add the bay leaf, dry red chillies and cumin seeds in the same oil. Saute the ginger and garlic paste.
Now add the grated onions and fry till they are translucent. Add the grated tomatoes and potatoes. Cover and cook till the tomatoes are mushy.
Now add all the dry masalas. Cook till the oil starts leaving the sides.
Add the fried kathal pieces, salt and sugar and cook some more till the kathal is well coated with masalas.
Add a cup of water and bring to a boil.
Lower heat, cover and simmer till the potatoes are well cooked.
Switch off heat and add ghee, cardamom powder and cinnamon powder.