The classic mutton curry from my ma and ma-in-law’s Bengali kitchen is on offer for you guys today. I am sure you don’t wanna miss this classic Bengali delicacy!
Like any other regional Indian cuisine, Bengali cuisine is also full of culinary gems and I have been lucky enough to get access to ample classic Bengali recipes through my ma and ma-in-law. Today’s recipe of classic Bengali mutton curry or also dearly called as ‘mangsher jhol’ is one such treasure from our mothers’ kitchens which have delighted our meals on countless Sunday afternoons! It was somewhat like a tradition in a typical Bengali household to have this mom’s special mutton curry on every Sunday lunch and any deviation was highly protested. Yes, I agree, we were quite demanding kids and our sweet moms used to act like angels to give in to our wishes.
Traditionally, before the era of pressure cookers in Indian kitchens, the classic Bengali mutton curry used to be cooked in big kadhai for generally a large family of 10 or 15 which used to take hours. As new technology started entering into our traditional kitchens, our moms started resorting to their advantages. And why not? They had spent good number of hours of their lives inside kitchen and if something can free them up a li’l without them worrying about their food quality, then it’s a perfect win-win situation, isn’t it! So, my today’s recipe is my ma-in-law’s special Bengali mutton curry using a pressure cooker (hence, a lot faster!) which she keeps on delighting us with every now and then.
If you are Bengali or happen to have Bengali friends, then you may already know that a classic Bengali mutton curry cannot be complete until and unless it has potato in it! Yes, you heard me right! I know that in my pictures of this dish, potatoes are not visible which happened by chance, but trust me we Bengalis cannot pass a Bengali mutton curry without potatoes in it! Among all the veggies, potatoes are best flavor absorber. They soak up all the flavors of the aromatics and spices used in this classic Bengali mutton curry and turn themselves even more tastier than the mutton itself if that makes any sense!
If I come to think of it, my childhood Sundays were never dull and one of the primary reasons behind it was this very own mangsher jhol which my ma used to make in almost similar way, with may be a little tweak here and there which is the common variation between two cooks. This is one recipe which is very close to my heart and I would love to keep this tradition alive as long as possible for the generations to come after us and beyond! Happy cooking!
- Mutton/goat meat – 600 to 800 gms, curry cut with bone-in pieces
- Potato – 6, medium, peeled, washed and each cut into half
- Onions – 6, medium, thinly sliced
- Garlic – 10 to 12 cloves, chopped
- Bay leaf – 2
- Green cardamom – 4 to 6
- Cloves – 4 to 6
- Cinnamon – 2-inch stick
- Ginger & Garlic paste – 2 tbsp
- Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
- Red chilli powder – 2 tsp [Reduce the quantity if you don’t want it too hot!]
- Kashmiri red chilli powder – 2 tsp [For that beautiful bright red color!]
- Tomato – 2, medium, finely chopped
- Yogurt – 2 tbsp
- Sugar – 1 tsp
- Garam Masala powder – 1 tsp
- Ghee – 1 tbsp
- Mustard oil – 4 to 6 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Hot water – 3 to 4 cups
- Wash the mutton pieces and drain out all the water. Take it in a large bowl and add yogurt, turmeric powder, half of the red chili powder, half of ginger-garlic paste and 1 tsp salt. Massage all spices and aromatics into the meat cubes well and let it marinate for 1 hour.
- Heat about a tablespoon of mustard oil in a frying pan. Once the oil is hot, tip in the potatoes into the pan and fry them until they turn golden brown on all sides. This would take about 10 minutes. Take them out and set aside on a plate.
- Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed pressure cooker (I prefer the pressure cookers with outer lids as it’s easier to stir with them.). Once the oil is hot, temper it with bay leaves, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon stick. Sauté them until the oil become fragrant, about 30 seconds on medium-high heat. Also add the sugar which will lend a bright caramelized color to the mutton curry.
- Then add the chopped garlic and sauté for couple of minutes on low. Ensure the garlic doesn’t burn. Tip in the sliced onion and the remaining ginger-garlic paste. Fry the onion till they turn golden brown.
- Next add the chopped tomato and stir well. Cook until the tomatoes turn soft and mushy.
- Next goes in the turmeric powder and red chili powder. Sauté them on high with a splash of water until the oil starts to separate.
- Finally goes in the marinated mutton along with the marinating liquid. Sauté the mutton on medium-low heat for approximately 30 to 40 minutes or until they turn brown on all sides. You will have to scrap the bottom of the pan to avoid spices getting burned.
- When the oil starts separating, add about 3 cups of hot water. Also drop in the fried potato pieces.
- Cover the pressure cooker with lid along with tightly securing the valve. Keep the cooker on high until the very first whistle. Then reduce the flame to lowest setting and pressure cook the mutton for about 5 minutes after the very first whistle. Ideally the mutton pieces and the potato cubes should all be completely cooked by then.
- Switch off the flame and let the pressure release out completely on its own. Do not even try to open the pressure cooked at this stage; if you do you will simple call for a mishap for yourself!
- Once the pressure is completely released, uncover the cooker and check for the doneness of the mutton. Also check and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- If you feel that your meat is undercooked, then cover the cooker with the lid again and pressure cook it for another couple of whistles.
- Once the mutton is cooked thoroughly, adjust the consistency of the curry to your liking. If its too watery, you can boil off some excess liquid; or if it is too thick, you can add another cup of hot water and bring it to full boil.
- Finally sprinkle the garam masala and drizzle the ghee on top. Shut the flame off and loosely cover the pot with a lid and allow the mutton to soak up as much flavors as possible before serving.
- Your classic Bengali mutton curry a.k.a mangher jhol is ready to serve and devour! Serve it warm with fluffy and hot Basmati rice. Enjoy!