Champaran meat is the latest craze in the Kolkata food scene. And honestly, why not? Rich mutton gravy with a strong aroma of mustard oil and garlic, it can’t go wrong with us in Kolkata. This blogpost is all about that rustic Mutton dish and my preferred places. And let me be honest. I have not visited all the places in Kolkata serving Champaran meat. So, this blog post will be updated in the future.
As per my madness, every blogpost starts with some backend story and this one here is no exception. So, what is Champaran meat? Honestly, it’s not something coming from outside our solar system. It’s basically mutton cooked in the Dum method, inside a sealed earthen handi. The dish uses very few ingredients and the main flavoring is done with loads of Mustard oil and garlic. they normally put a few whole bulbs of garlic inside while sealing the handi and that does the magic. The rustic aroma of the earthen pot adds to the charm and magic is created inside.
The interesting part is, the meat is mostly sold, not in plates or number of pieces, but in weight. Like, the pricing is done as per kg and you can have your choice. For a single person, 200 gms works just fine, with some 5-6 pcs. Now, the beauty of Champaran meat is, as it’s done with a slow-cooking technique, meat pieces need to be small- around 50-60 gms per piece and that helps in getting the meat tender.
Champaran Ki Rasoi, Kasba
This is one small joint in Kasba- Champaran Ki Rasoi. The location is pretty simple. It’s situated in the backside lane of Acropolis Mall and is a takeaway counter. Well, they have a few plastic tools, strong enough to withstand my weight, and that’s it. Champaran Mutton or Ahuna Meat is priced at 1000/- per kg and Desi chicken, cooked in the same process, is priced at 900/- per kg. You can order some phulka or my choice, Ghee Phulka to go with it and that seals the deal.
It’s actually a sight in this place to see someone take out a sealed handi and give it a shake to mix up the ingredients. And once it’s opened, the first aroma that hits you is surreal. It’s such rustic that I honestly didn’t mind the lack of a proper sitting or anything else. The smell of strong strong mustard oil hit my nostrils. The mutton normally is super soft and is ready to leave its best friend, the bone at the slightest provocation of fingers. And Honestly, for enjoying the Champaran meat, I’d ask you to use your fingers and not the cutleries.
Please note, while cooking the meat is not supposed to be stirred. Only occasional shaking of the sealed Handi is allowed so that the gravy doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. It’s cooked over a slow-fire and suggested to be done over charcoal heat.
And after having the piece of ghee roti dipped in the gravy, you start thinking of how to manage the whole garlic- at least that’s what I did. You’re supposed to mash the pulp out of the garlic bulb and mix it with the gravy of the meat. That adds a light taste of sweetness to the gravy and a strong aftertaste. Now whether your partner likes the aroma of your spicy mouth or not afterward, is a different question- but it’s definitely worth it. I’m not really fond of having the raw onion, but it’s suggested by my Bihari friends.
What, after the Champaran Meat?
The nest item that I strongly recommend there, is the Mutton Taas, or Mutton Tash. It’s again a simple dish. Lean pieces of mutton (probably from the cheek and other soft portions) are marinated with minimum spices and shallow fried on a Tawa with Mustard oil. The final product is sprinkled with lots of chopped coriander leaves and served. This dish, according to me, is one of the best side dishes or chakhna for my evening dose of rum, It’s hot, but not super spicy. And at least, the spice level can be adjusted. It goes well with hot Tawa roti, or with a few sips of rum and coke. It’s normally priced at 1000/- a kg and can be measured as per your requirement.
Champaran Ki Rasoi is a pretty cool, underrated joint serving good food. If someone is not looking for any fancy ambiance and decor, this can be your destination, if you’re a true meat lover. Did I miss my favorite large chunk of Potato in the meat? Well, errr….. damn authenticity, yes actually.
Champaran Meat at Westin Kolkata
But this was not my first experience of having Champaran meat in Kolkata. when I was talking about this to Chef Vivek Kalia at Westin Kolkata, he offered to treat me with some. Please note, the dish is not readily available in the Seasonal Tastes menu and needs to be pre-ordered. And from that day onwards, whenever I visit the place, I am happily surprised to find an earthen pot full of Champaran Meat, waiting for me there- at times, as a token of friendship. Paired with some tandoori laccha parantha, the taste is damn good, in fact, one of the best versions that I’ve had in Kolkata. And if you’re in a mood to enjoy this rustic dish at a premium ambiance, this can be your go-to-place.
Supposedly, the first Champaran meat shop was found at the Motihari region and then near the Nepal border in Bihar. Another place in Bihar, quite popular, is supposedly Bettiah- from where probably this dish was originated. Please read this article for further details.
Litti Chokha at Novotel Kolkata
I am loving this. So, when I spoke of this dish to Chef Neelabh Sahay from the Novotel Kolkata- it probably hurt his ego. I mean, come on. He hails from Bihar and how come, being a regular at The Square, Novotel Kolkata, he can’t serve it there. And when chefs take it upon their ego, poor guests like me, normally feel happy. So, over one fine lunch, I was invited for a Bihari experience. And honestly, this was the first time, I saw the humble roadside Litti being served with such respect, at a premium place.
Ahuna meat is just another name for the Champaran meat. Ahuna means the earthen handi. And as the meat is cooked inside it absorbing the aroma, it gets the name from it.
Three types of chokha, Bharta, and Chutney were served- Aloo Chokha, Baigan Bharta, and Tomato chutney. Honestly, the litti was fantastic and dipped in Desi ghee, it didn’t actually need anything else. The burnt tomato chutney was great and they actually roasted a few pieces of poor green chilly, to be served as an accompaniment. Champaran Meat or Ahuna Mutton was good, taste slightly mellowed down. But paired with the hot litti, it was great.
I am sure, there are other joints in Kolkata, serving good Champaran meat and if you come across any, do let me know. This blog post will be updated in the future.
If you have time, you can check my blog post on places serving litti in Kolkata, here
Bon appetit !!!
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