Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Mangshor Jhol / Mutton Curry the Bengali way

( Vegetarians can make this with aloo / paneer / cauliflower. )

 Presenting the very favourite, very famous and very loved  Bengali Mangsho'r jhol!
For the very first time on Kichu Khon ... Mutton!!!
Why for the first time?
Because I did not know how to buy mutton.
Because I did not have the courage to step into a mutton shop.
Because it is a Bengali man's job.
Sunday mornings started with the man of the house going to the mutton shop to get the best cuts.
And the lady of the house spent hours in the kitchen preparing lunch ... of steamed rice and Mangsho'r jhol.

The years I spent away from home were spent craving mangshor jhol.
Of course once in a while a cousin would call me over for lunch ... but that was rare.
After I set up my own home, I fulfilled all my dreams of cooking chicken and fish for myself.
No more going to restaurants to get my fill of non veg ... yet stay dissatisfied ...
 craving some home cooked food.
But never got to cook mutton.
Or Mangsho'r jhol.
With gorom bhaat.
Ah ... heaven.

Until the supermarkets came along.
Everything under one roof.
Everything ... know the meaning?
Everything includes fish ... fresh fish, good chicken and mutton!
Good mutton. Goat mutton .... not lamb mutton.
I got very good mutton at Spar.
The pieces looked familiar ... exactly like the ones I got on my plate at home.
The meat looked fresh ... pinkish and not dull grey or white.
And definitely not dry.
Still ... I had my doubts.
Had once happily filled my plate with mutton at a  friend's party.
One bite and I gagged. This was not mutton! It did not taste familiar.
The friend cleared my doubt ... it was lamb!
I do not like lamb.

So cleared with the salesman.
"Goat?". "Yes Ma'am, goat."
"Lamb or goat?" ... I try.
Psychology ... you see. So that he wouldn't get to know what I want and fool me.
"Goat Ma'am."
I look around with a very serious face ... avoiding the man's eye.
No clue.
I wander a little ... all the while keeping an ear open ... trying to grasp what other customers are saying.
No luck. Until .....
"Ekdom taatka  paatha Dada ... niye dekhun naa!"
Sweet, familiar Bengali!

The man is a Bengali! Trying to convince another customer that it is completely fresh!
I smiled. The man smiled.
And we broke into a non stop chatter of Bengali.
And I came home happily clutching on to a bagful of half a kilo taatka mangsho. :-)

So I finally cooked Mangshor jhol ... in my kitchen.
Remembering how every Sunday the family would wait with much eagerness 
for the lunch that gets cooked in numerous Bengali homes .. 
creating memories for the young and nostalgia among the elders of a family.

I cooked it the way my Thamma used to.

Completely basic with that wonderful rustic flavour of ginger and garlic 
mixed with good quality mutton ... and mustard oil ...
makes this a wonderful dish
 that stays in the memory long after it has been eaten.
Many people love to add cumin and coriander powder too. I haven't to this one.
Maybe I'll try with them sometime when I make this  again.

Need : 
500 gms mutton(goat meat)
1 cup curd ... will be better if is slightly sour ... I used 2 days old home made curd kept in the fridge
2 big sized onions
10 cloves of garlic
3" piece of ginger
1 medium sized onion, sliced into thin long pieces
whole garam masala -
5-6 cloves
4 black cardamoms
1"  cinnamon stick
5 whole red chillies
3 bay leaves
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp mustard oil
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp red chilli powder, or as per your taste
2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and halved
salt to taste
water for cooking

How to :
Marinate the cleaned and washed mutton with the curd and a little salt.
Keep aside for at least half an hour. Keep in the fridge if keeping for a longer time.
Grind the onions to a paste.
Grind the ginger + garlic to a paste.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed kadahi.
Add the potatoes and fry them on a high flame till golden brown all over. They need not be cooked ... just get the colour.
Remove and keep aside.

Reduce heat and in the same oil add the whole garam masalas, dry red chillies, bay leaves and then the sliced onions.
Fry well for a while.
Add the sugar and fry for some more time.
Now add the onion paste, stirring all the while.
After it loses the raw smell, add the ginger garlic paste and keep frying.

Add the turmeric, red chilli powder and fry till the masala is well cooked and the oil starts to leave the sides.
Now add the marinated mutton and keep stirring while the masala gets and the curd and the mutton all mix together.
Add salt ... remember there was salt in the marinade ... so add accordingly.
Keep koshaoing / bhuno ing till the whole thing loses that raw look, takes colour and starts to dry up.

Now add the potato pieces and transfer them to a pressure cooker.
Add water ... this will depend on how much gravy you want ... for 500 gms of mutton to have a thickish gravy you might need around 6 tea cups of water. Again depends on the size of the cup your are using.
Add the garam masala powder.
Close cooker and cook till 5 whistles on low heat.

The time of cooking again depends on the kind of mutton and the time used for marination.
If the mutton is tender, it will cook quickly. But 5 whistles should work well.
Remove cooker from heat and allow to cool.

Serve with steamed plain rice and salad on the side for that perfect Sunday lunch. 

Nothing more to say.
Just enjoy!!


  1. I am a big big and loyal fan of Spar mutton since ages, but tell me isn't spar has been taken over bny hypermarket called Auchan now? At spar the mutton pieces are fleshy and above all fresh. The gravy looks finger licking good...

    1. Thanks Deepa! I have no idea. But yes ... the mutton has always been good ... though I got to buy only twice or thrice.

  2. Lipsmacking good mangsho'r jhol, Sharmila. Wonderful write up dear. Wednesday thekei Sunday r protikkha suru koriye dile.....

    Today's recipe:

  3. ufff...I am off all meat and non-veg products but this is so tempting. Aamio mangsho banaai naa barite, lamb easily pawa jaye but we are not fond of it. Bangali public goat meat niye aashe shey joto durei jete hok na keno. And you r right, bengali men even here do the goat meat or fish shopping regularly. Which is why there's never been any mangshor jhol in my house.

    1. Baalike ... hah! Since when did you need men to bring something for you to cook! ;-)
      No meat? Make this with just aloo or daal er bora. :-)

    2. lol...for once I have nothing to say. You got me!!

      And yess, I do make kosha aloo vadi...aahhh yummm

  4. Finally the mangsho made its way here :) Sharmila mukh khullei jibher jol top kore porbe:) amar kachey ei tuku mutton achey. tomar moton chini laal kore mutton korbo. just for myself. can't getting over how pretty the color is.

    1. Soma ... haan, finally! Mutton ache? Kore felo ... why wait? Btw .. I have a very good recipe of mutton with chini .. hopefully will get to share it someday when am allowed to have mutton again. :-)

  5. oooo I am drooling here... I ove mansha tarkari with aloo... It is a must!
    Reminds me of Sunday lunch too...

    1. Somoo ... I love mansha tarkari with mudhi ... specially the jholo and the aloo. :-)

  6. I don't eat mutton but that gravy does look lip smacking!

    1. Vani ... it's a little rich but ok for once in a while. You can try this with plain aloo or paneer too.

  7. Can this gravy be made with vegetables? Maybe cauliflower,potato? Looks really delicious.

    1. Of course Poornima ... you can try it with cauliflower / potatoes / paneer too.

  8. good food is all about memories.. it was fun to read.. nice write up.. and the curry looks mouthwatering!

  9. I am not a blogger but often stop by your blog for the great Bengali recipes. I am so glad you are blogging again!

  10. I am so glad you have started blogging again. I am not a blogger but often stop by for the great Bengali recipes..

  11. Hi Sharmila..i am new in blogsphere..last year i have religiously followed your blog..but my bad luck..u were not blogging that time..its been a joy to see u back in blogging..i like ur recipes..simple and yet delicious..

    1. Thank you Tintin! I'll try to be more regular now. :-)

  12. @ What a lovely "jhol"!!
    Bhaat boshao....ashchi....


  13. I am craving for some of this right now,.i.

  14. finally enecho blog e. ki bhalo dekhte hoeche. amio kal banachhi :-)

  15. Bought mutton (Frosty's Bangalore) and inspired to cook for daughter and self - wife is away on work for a couple of weeks.....I pretty much cook the same way. Only, I used to add chopped tomatoes to the fried masala before adding the mutton. Also, I tend to marinate the mutton with part of the onion paste. This time I'm not adding tomatoes and jeera/dhania

  16. this yummy !a big help for non Bong married to a Bong

  17. Aaj onek din por ei recipe ta are so right. I used to buy mutton by myself in Delhi. But since I came to Kolkata, I feel loath to buy it. Hubby man used to go all the way to Park Circus to buy mutton. However, Spencer's fish and meat section has been like God-sent gift for us. He is happily buying and I am happily cooking mutton on two Sundays a month. :)

    I loooooooved your recipe. Slurp! Slurp!

    1. Thank you Rakhee. :-)
      I miss the rewaji mutton here in Pune ... the meat is very lean with almost no fat. Oi thick chunk of fat with a piece... amar darun favourite. :-)


Please do not spam.