Bengali mutton curry or mansher jhol is a delicacy enjoyed and advertised by almost each and every Bengali. Big chunks of mutton with large pieces of
potatoes in a thin curry served alongside a plate of steamed rice are the staple for Sunday lunch in an average Bengali family. For that one day, we forget the high-calorie count of red meat. A long queue in front of the mutton shop is a usual scenario in Kolkata on Sundays. I learned this recipe from my mother and have been blindly following it every time. The aroma of mutton made in Bengali garam masala and mixed with the fragrance of fried potato makes it a dish to die for.
Cuisine: Indian (Bengali)
Cooking time: 45 minutes (approximately)
- a) Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp
- b) Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- c) Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
- d) Cumin powder – ½ tsp
- e) Salt – ½ tsp
- f) Yoghurt – 2 tbsp
- g) Mustard oil – 2 tbsp
- 1. Mutton – 1 kg
- 2. Potato – 4 (cut into halves)
- 3. Onion – 2 large (one sliced and the other one made into paste)
- 4. Ginger and garlic paste – 1 tbsp
- 5. Tomato – 1 large (chopped)
- 6. Bay leaves – 2
- 7. Whole garam masala – 1 cinnamon stick and 4 small cardamoms
- 8. Garam masala powder – 2 tsp
- 9. Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
- 10. Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
- 11. Cumin powder – ½ tsp
- 12. Ghee – 2 tsp
- 13. Sugar – ½ tsp
- 14. Salt – according to taste
- 15. Mustard oil – 5 tbsp
- 16. Water – as required
1. Wash the mutton thoroughly and marinate with all the above-mentioned ingredients for at least an hour.
2. Put oil in a wok. When the oil is smoking hot fry the potatoes till light brown. Take it out of the oil and keep it aside. Add bay leaves, cinnamon stick and the small cardamoms to the same oil.
3. Add onion slices and onion paste. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry till golden brown.
4. Add the ground spices other than garam masala.
5. Add chopped tomato and fry till oil separates.
6. Add the mutton and fry on high flame for initial few minutes and then on medium heat till the colour changes to dark brown.
7. Add sugar, salt and ghee.
8. Add garam masala and mix properly.
9. Add 2 cups of water and pressure cook for at least 15 minutes.
10. Add potatoes and again cook for another 3-4 minutes.
11. Serve with steamed rice.
1. While preparing the mutton do not remove the fat completely as it enhances the flavour. The content of oil can be reduced accordingly.
2. Frying the mutton is important as it gives that beautiful brown colour.
Initially fry on high flame and then reduce it. If it sticks to the sides of the wok then put 1 tbsp of water. Fry till water evaporates and the required colour obtained.
3. Cooking in mustard oil will definitely make a difference in taste.
4. Adding potato is certainly optional, though the Bengali way of cooking mutton is incomplete with potato. There are people who prefer this potato in mutton curry more than the mutton itself. Still, it is a matter of personal choice.
5. The gravy should be thin as it goes well with rice.
6. Though it is basically served with rice, another serving option is poori made with flour which again is a typical Bengali sentiment and weakness as well.