Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bengali Mutton Curry | Pathar Mangsho'r Jhol

Bengali Mutton Curry, Robibar er Mangshor Jhol, Mangshor Jhol

Bengali Mutton Curry | Pathar Mangshor Jhol

The Bengali Mutton Curry made with Goat meat is synonymous with Sundays and daytime naps. Made with potatoes and spiced with garam masala, this rich and spicy Mangshor Jhol is best enjoyed with rice.

Sunday Mutton Curry

Mutton Curry in Oven

Phissssssssssh went the pressure cooker, not once or twice but 5-6 times. With each whistle the appetizing fragrance would trace the room, trying to find its way out of the wide windows. The sun would be high up by then and the drapes drawn in while the Rasna Kids sang aloud happily on the Tele. As Spiderman saved the world the mind wandered in anticipation of lunch.

Ma would be busy in the kitchen, her cotton saree damp and smelling headily of all the spices. If you dug your face in her coolness, today would smell different. It was Sunday and you would smell Mangshor jhol (Mutton/Chicken Curry). A Sunday Lunch menu that once united almost all Bongs, it was a tradition of sorts to have nothing but mangsho'r jhol & bhaat for Sunday lunch. The meat could vary, it could be patha'r mangsho(goat meat) for the more traditional, archaic family or murgi(chicken) for the noveau ones.

The recipe wouldn't vary much. It would revolve around the same core with potatoes and lots of gravy. You wouldn't see a Murgh Malai or Lamb Chop i.e. just any preparation of meat would not do. Those were stuff for evenings, maybe dinner but Sunday Lunch was different, it was always the same mangsho'r jhol that had Bangali Sunday Lunch written in bold all over it

My grandparents were strict Brahmins and adhered to Bengali Brahmin norms. That didn't mean much except that the only meat that was allowed in their home was patha'r mangsho (goat meat) and not murgi (aka chicken). So Sunday lunch was almost always bengali mutton curry and rice. I wasn't very fond of goat meat then but loved the gravy and the potatoes in it.

I vaguely remember a particular period of our life, a couple of months maybe, my parents were going through some difficult financial situation. My grandma was not well and I think the food budget was adjusted in lieu of her treatment. I was too young(maybe 6 or 7) to understand but I do remember the Sunday mangsho'r jhol was off the menu and there used to be fish for lunch instead. One such Sunday I was visiting friends and the familiar smell of Mangsho'r Jhol at their home triggered the latent longing in me. I don't remember what I told my Ma but I do remember that the familiar smell was back at our kitchen next Sunday onwards. Maybe my Ma cooked meat just for me or maybe the finances solved themselves but that is how mangsho'r jhol is woven into crevices of my memory

Mangshor Jhol, Bengali Mutton Curry, Sunday Mutton Curry

Mangshor Jhol | Bengali Mutton Curry

Times have changed. We hardly eat goat meat or any red meat that much. There is no fixed menu for a Sunday lunch at my home to weave memories. But Patha'r mangsho or goat meat still holds a lofty place and is cooked on special occasions. So that is how this got cooked when friends were visiting some weeks back.

On a leisurely Sunday we had a delectable Patha'r mangsho'r jhol (goat meat curry) with white rice amidst much laughter and adda(gossip), spending hours sucking the juicy marrows over a lazy delicious lunch

What was/is your Sunday lunch tradition ?


Patha'r Mangshor Jhol ~ Goat Meat Curry

Prep: Dry Roast 8 Green Cardamaom/Elaichi, 8 Clove/Laung, one petal of mace/javetri, 1" stick of cinnamon, 3 Dry Red Chilli on a stove top or pop them in the oven for a couple of minutes. Grind them to a fine powder. This acts as my Garam Masala and this is the masala that will be used in this mutton curry

Marinate 3lb of mutton(goat meat) with 2 tsp of ginger paste, 2 tsp of garlic paste, a little turmeric, 1 tbsp of Vinegar, 1 tsp of Mustard Oil and salt for 3-4 hours or overnight

Start Cooking:

Step 1

Heat Oil in a deep heavy bottomed pan

Fry 2 &1/2 - 3 cups chopped red onion, 2 fat clove of garlic chopped, 1 medium tomato chopped and 2" piece of peeled and chopped ginger till the onion is soft and pink and tomatoes are softened

Cool and grind the above to make a onion+tomato+garlic+ginger paste


Make separate paste of onion and a separate ginger + garlic paste. Amount remains same. My Ma does it this way.

Step 2

Heat Oil in a heavy deep bottomed pan

Temper the oil with whole spices as follows: 4 Cardamom/Elaichi, 4 Clove/Laung, 2 Bay Leaf/Tej-Patta, 2" cinnamon stick/Darchini

As soon as you get the fragrance of the spices add the onion+ginger+garlic+tomato paste. If you have made separate pastes, add the onion paste first and fry till onion is a nice pinkish brown, then add ginger+garlic paste and fry for 1-2 minutes and then add the chopped tomato

Fry with 1/4 tsp of sugar till oil separates from masala

Meanwhile in a small bowl make a paste with 4 tsp yogurt, 1 heaped tsp Cumin Powder, 1 heaped tsp Corriander powder, 1 tsp of Red Chilli Powder (adjust according to your level), the Dry Masala you made and 1 tsp of garlic paste(optional)

Lower the heat and add this masala paste. Add 1 more medium tomato finely chopped

Fry for 2-3 minutes

Add the mutton and mix the mutton nicely with the masala

Add salt, lower the heat to medium and let the mutton cook in its own juice. Stir in between to facilitate the meat to soak up the spices

While the mutton is cooking in a separate pan fry 1-2 potatoes that had been peeled and quartered with a little turmeric. The potatoes will not be cooked but just take on a nice golden color. Do not cook further and keep aside.

Step 3

When the mutton has lost its raw coloring and it smells nice you can transfer the whole thing to a pressure cooker along with the potatoes and cook it in the pressure cooker.


If you have time on hand do this. Cook the mutton at low heat in the covered pan itself. Remember to stir in between and add water if necessary. Some water has to be added for the gravy, adjust the amount of water according to your wish. You can use a slow cooker if you have one and cook the mutton in it too.

If you are cooking in the pan, check when mutton is near to be done and then add the potatoes.

Cook till mutton and potatoes are done
Check for seasonings and adjust to taste. You might need to add a tsp of garam masala. I sometimes add juice of half a lime and finely chopped coriander at the end.

Enjoy this delicious mutton curry with any kind of rice or bread

Though not the usual trend you can garnish this dish with chopped corriander. Also when I am having this mutton curry with rice I like to squeeze a little lime juice on it and have onions as a side.

Update: I forgot to add that D (the husband) makes a goat meat curry which is simpler and yet very flavorful. Shall post that next time he cooks.
Also wanted to add that instead of making onion paste many times my Ma would use finely chopped onion too. For a larger crowd I find it easier to make a paste than chop fine


  1. Exactly the way I make it. I sometimes though do not chop the onions but put them whole and allow them to melt while the mutton's cooking. Its a hit here in US and the main course back home in India on Sundays.
    BTW, I am the guy whose wife wanted snacks when she was expecting and you suggested, muri and alu chop on your blog.

  2. Sandeepa I guess you missed one ingredient, that is - magic you add to get such lovely curry ;)... Man who can resist this??? Slurrp!!! tempting...

  3. By the way dont mistake me for asking this - I thought Brahmins dont take any kinda meet, but how come Goat??? you can delete this if you want, I was just curious...

    1. The brahmins of shakta sect eat meat and sacrifice Goat or bufalo.
      This is widely practised in Assam, Bengal and Nepal

    2. Shakta Sect Brahmins take sacrificial meat. Its common in Nepal, Assam and Bengal for last 1000 years. Brahmins used to meat it and left it under the influence of Jainism and Buddhism.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Oh, both of our families is 100%(or may be98%! :D) vegetarians, not even egg is used. My dad eats meat (not beef or Pork tho') and until I was there in India, I just ate chicken outside, not at home.
    After we moved to UK, slowly we got used to Burgers, Hot dogs etc. Now, my kids are fully carnivorous, anything goes, but I try not to give them red meat more than once or twice a week. My mom always made Pulaos etc on Sundays! :)

    Mutton Jhol look excellent. Lamb doesn't give me the same taste as Mutton. I had a Muslim friend who used to bring Mutton and rice in her lunch box in B'lore, still remember the wonderful taste! :D

  6. True. We used to have fish curry on sunday afternoons. This was after a long morning ritual of washing hair :-) (And we were four women with very long hair living in the house at the time !!)

    I love goat meat too. Just don't eat it that much anymore. Must try your version.


  7. Cholay ashbo naki Sandeepa?;-D ami ar DD1 eats pathar mangsho..quite a few years of my life i had stopped eating it, but after coming here I started & crave a lot..kintu khoob kom khawa hoye..

    It looks delicious! aaj chicken nugget kheye dinner korchi, kichu korte ichey korchey na ar khule dekhi tumi ei kando kore rekheco:-) not fair!

    I have a similar post about sunday afternoon mangsho..we would be in a joint family when i was little.

  8. First up looks lovely almost similar to how I make them, I don't make a paste just cook the whole thing in the pressure cooker. I give this method a try the next time I cook, probably this sunday.

    And the customs of Brahmins in Bengal is a lot different from what I know around our parts, they do not even eat egg. I have heard people mention that a Bengali Brahmin can't live without his fish and fish was considred vegetaian! True?

    Non-Veg (Chicken/Fish/Mutton) was cooked only on sundays, fish being my orite. With the plate of fish fry, or mutton kheema and chapati(even this was a weekend affair back then)or chicken gravy and rice while we caught the regional language movie.

  9. Prem
    Whole onion diye korini kokhono, shall try it out. Do you use shallots or the regular red onions ?
    Congrats, Pakhi is a beautiful name


    Bengali Brahmins are strange creatures :) They eat non-veg. But chicken and eggs were considered tabu in a Brahmin household because I guess they were foreign.
    Strangely goat meat and duck eggs were allowed. Also all kinds of fish.
    But in those days most of these households had a separate kitchen for non-veg and veg

    These days no such restriction apply and Bengali Brahmins eat all non-veg (except pork & beef) !!

    Goat meat is also offered as prashad during a particular puja known as Kali Puja. Sadly all other gods & goddesses get to eat only veg :)


    Wow going from 100% veg to non-veg must be really difficult. I don't cook beef or pork at home yet though I am not that strict while eating out


    We don't eat goat meat that much either. You have 3 sis and still have long hair ? Somehow I imagine you with a short blunt cut :)


    Are ami o ki aaj ei shob kheyechi na ki, pray 1 mash ager menu eita.

    Tomar post ta mone ache, tomar grandpa chair e boshe tadaraki korten mangsho ranna'r seita na ?


    Do you also add whole onions like Prem ? Man got to try that one too
    What kind of onion do you use when adding whole ?
    The paste is not universal i.e. many times my Mom would just chop them up fine instead of making a paste

    Regional films, we used to watch too with the subtitles. My Mom had a liking for Malayalee movies, not that we knew they were Malayalee for sure, we kind of guessed :)

  10. Oh..Sandeepa u'v kindled lovely memories. Yeah Sunday is a day for goat meat in our family. The morning breafast would be steaming hot spongy idlis with mutton kurma. Lunch would have a similar mutton curry as u'rs along with rasam and mutton roast occasionally. chicken is a rare item in our kichen but I love eating idlis dunked in the kurma watching Giant Robot and Barpapapa :) This curry looks lovely!

  11. Hey sandeepa,

    I am new here. This morning I wrote to you and now I cannot find my post ((for the first time, so dont know much abt it))

    I have been referring to your cook book since long but never wrote to you(dont know why but I was bit hesitant).

    I have tried so many recipe of yours and every time things have turned out so well.Your cook book helps a lot for people like us who love "Maa-er haather ranna" but dont know cooking ;)

    I wanted to thank you for all the wonderful recipes you have shared.Made my life very easy.

    This Mangsho'r jhol looks so amazing.For sure at my place coming sunday's lunch is fixed ~ MANGSHOR JHOL.

  12. huuby prepared keema kaleji curry yesterday will post it soon,.next time i gonna try ur recipe,...souds yum,..
    iur sunday tradition during childhood is chana ghughni sometimes alone and many othe rtime with poori and jalebi sounds yum na,..miss those days,...

  13. Oh Man!!! This is heavenly. Reminds me of my childhood (well it is just the same now also) Mutton curry is the first thing that I learnt to cook from my dad and partly from my mom. Cleaning mutton was the first ritual that I had to go through for couple of weeks before I graduated to cooking. Dad says part of the process. :) After marriage I used to stick to chappatis for 6 days lunch and dinner but Sunday!!! It had to be rice. And with mutton it is "sone pe suhaga". I have a lovely husband who is ever ready for mutton and plain rice. So it makes all the more fun to have it. I could smell the aroma while reading the blog. I was telling Ma just now over the phone. Will be going home to her end of this month for a short vac. Hope to have loads of mutton jhol n rice. By the way I put both onion paste as well as chopped onion while cooking. Told ma-in-law that this weekend we have to have mutton jhol and rice. Wonderful blog Sandeepa! Have a great weekend.

  14. Hi Sandeepa,
    yumm.. looking recipe, could mutton be substituted with chicken?
    pls do let me know.
    I tried ur olkopir tasted very nice :) actually I made it twice..coz my hubby liked it quite a lot,I keep browsing through ur's and soma's recipes...very's like Bong Bible for me :)Must thank u guys for the lvly recipes and heavenly pictures.

  15. O Sandeepa ... tomar eto shundor ranna dekhe bhya bhya kore kaandte icche korche. :-(
    Barir sunday gulo ekdom emni chilo .. maayer saritar detail porjonto. :-)

    Ami mangsho kinte jani na .. kono tips dite paro ki? Barite jiggesh korte bhoye kore karon didira eshe jor kore dhore niye jaye ... ami nije banate chai.

    Chobi te marrow haad tai dekhale .. not fair. ;-)

  16. tempting mouth watering recipe...delicious

  17. I'm 1005 Andhra Brahmin, not even egg. SV eats egg and sometimes Nishu. Nice picture. Happy weekend

  18. Oh I am really surprise to read ur post Bengali brahmin eats meats. When we were kids we ate only fish, weeken, sunday lamb. Now, no fish at all only goat or chichen. Ur curry looks delicious with the masala.

  19. I cannot comment on this post much being a vegetarian, but the story struck a chord somewhere :)

  20. I didn't read the recipe... I don't cook meat... but your post took me back in time.

    I can't think of any one dish... but if I had to, it would be Bisi Bele Huli Anna... I think we had it on Sundays a lot. But regardless of the main course, the fritters that made their way to our Sunday lunch are most memorable :) Konkani style.

    Also, I thought bengali brahmins only ate fish. We have a konkani sect called Gowd Saraswat who imbibed that tradition from Bengal. That mutton was also included was new to me :)

  21. You know the Rasna kid - the main one - is a heroine in Telugu films now! (Or maybe that phase is over too, I'm not up to date.)

  22. sandeepa,
    manghsor jhol bhalo hoyeche ..khob bhalo lage eto bhalo detailed childhood E bishoye jokhon lekho tumi...
    back ground e tanter saree colour ta darun laghce...
    hugs and smiles

  23. Mutton Curry - oh gosh hon, you've made me so hungry!

    Maybe my Ma cooked meat just for me or maybe the finances solved themselves - that's what good parents are all about. Aren't we blessed...

    I don't know why your posts are not showing up as new in my blog reader :( Sorry for not visiting often as a result.

  24. I know u but u dont-sounds like the title of a suspense novel!,Hi Sandeepa,I hop in and out of ur blog reading and enjoying myself every now and then and of course drooling at the lifelike pictures of the food u cook up.The mutton curry looks yummmm to the extreme and I have come to ur blog just to look at its pics many times already-a true petu?!
    Loved the writeup with it and made me nostalgic coz our sunday lunch was usually the mutton curry ,eaten without any thought of calories and all such nonsense with loads of rice and a meetha paan after that,to help digest it all :0).

  25. In winter it's dhoney pata bora and dhoney pata bata - coriander leaves belended with chilli mustard oil and salt, boal maach or chitol maach - both peti and muitha . Summer its aam daal , potol bhaaja , machher jhol , aamer tauk !No pathar mangsho!

  26. Ah! The nostalgia... Our sunday lunch tradition was a BIG meal with fish curry, fish fry...maybe some crabs or shrimp too.. whenever dad was home. Dad was the one to goto the market early morning to get these seafood fresh.

    If not, chicken curry with white rice. My sister or me would goto the chicken stall to get the meat then.

    the mutton curry looks good. My curry is without javithri and yogurt.. but uses some coconut. And olive oil isntead of mustard oil - otherwise almost similar recipe.

  27. Nirmala

    Idlis are had with mutton ? Now that is news to me. Must be yummy

    Aww thanks so much :)

    Chana Ghugni, poori jalebi... I am drooling :)

    Though I eat, like and cook meat I don't like buying or cleaning meat. Hypocrite :) Hubby cleans mostly

    Here buying meat is ok, but back home I never could get myself to buy fresh meat


    Thanks :)

  28. Sharmila
    Ami deshe kokhono mangsho kinte jetam na, oi dokan er dike takatam o na. Ekhane mostly to frozen tai ok.
    Ami mangsho kenar temon tips jani na. Dekhi D shob shomoy shoulder ba front leg ei rokom portions dite bole

    Thanks :)

    I know, hope the pic didn't bother you :D

    Yeah they do :) Same for us too, fish on weekdays and meat on Sunday. We eat more fish and less meat now

    Thanks dear :)

    Bengali brahmins eat mutton as well as chicken these days, previously chicken and chicken eggs were taboo because they were considered foreign and not "deshi"
    Fritters, ahhh, those days were great

    Who ? Ankita ?

  29. Cynthia
    I am not sure, do you have to refresh or something ?

    Ota dupatta, manipuri :)

    What suspense, how come ?

    Eves Lungs
    Boal maach amar barite khai na, muitha khub bhalo lage kintu abar amar Ma kore na, soshur bari te kheyechi
    Dhone pata bora, besan ar dhone pata diye na aro kichu ?

    I never liked fish till the age of 10 maybe. I liked only a few varieties but had to eat everyday none the less.
    Today I love fish and your Sunday menu is making me drool. I will give up goat meat for that

    The javetri I use a little as part of my Garam Masala powder, again my choice and not a Bong thing. Yogurt in this curry is very little and also optional, just for making the masala paste.
    Sans coconut I guess then both our curries taste same

  30. Oh that was just a PJ of mine,I meant that I am a regular on ur blog and thus came the "i know u".u dont know me ,but of course,u dont know me.does that make sense now?starting my comment with -i know u,u dont know me,seemed funny to me and sounds like a suspense book title,but since I have had to explain it all ha ha ,its not that obvious I guess :0)

  31. Awwww Sunila, I guessed that. But I do read your blog at times. Even know where you live and about Garima :)
    However I thought you knew me in *real life* through some common friend :)

  32. aren't parents the best!!! it is always nice to read ur memories associated with all ur tradional food :)

  33. Thanks Sandeepa. Frozen ... I thought so. Ekhane o frozen pawa jaye ... tobe try korte shahosh hoye na ... amader desher regulations toh ... ke jane koto diner purono hobe.
    Thanks anyway. :-)

  34. Sandeepa, I came on to your blog after a long time and immediately wished that I had dropped in more often.

    Lovely article. Took me back to Sundays when we were at my mamar baari for a year. Sundays then, were murghir jhol had along with Akashbani Kolkata plays - robibarer something.

    Chicken on Sunday continued when we moved into our own house later.

    Now we have meat fairly often so I guess my wife and my Sunday tradition would be going out for breakfast. I often follow this with some quality time at the fish market.

    Health reasons have made mutton slightly rare at our place. I did make some kosha mangsho last weekend, after ages, for guests. So I could completely empathise with the wafting smells of mutton in the background of the pressure cooker's whistle.

    Alu in mutton is a must. I prefer using oinion paste because one doesn't need oil then


  35. Sandeepa, not even read your post.. just the photographs has brought me to a drool...

  36. i still cofused about term mention - lamb- goat- mutton all this ! will u please expalin me what are the diffences between these words? thanks

  37. Shaikh

    Explanation here for lamb and mutton

    Goat is another animal altogether. However in India we often refer to goat meat as mutton

  38. Sandeepa, this definitely made me nostalgic for mangsho'r jhol. It was a tradition at our place too... and once we grew up, it alternated with chicken curry. :) now I rarely eat it anymore...

  39. At this moment my husband is away from home in a far away city where he has a full-time cheff to cook for him...last sunday afternoon i got a call from him...asking for 'mangshor-jhol' i told him step-by-step over the phn , he cooked it from scratch....i saw the final output with a dump of jhorjhore bhaat a green chilly and few slices of onion as side dish ..through the webcam(yes i was giving him virtual accompany during his sunday lunch)...and yessss !!!i felt like I can smell the aroma coming out from that ....oh boy!!!! i miss you ...i miss that sunday afternoon lunch-cum -family time...come back home soon..

  40. hiiii.... i had tried urs recipe of pathar mangshor jhol... it tastes awesome..... thanks loooot... for posting this recipe...
    thanks again!!

  41. Hi there
    I am going to make this goat curry, it looks really lovely !
    Please can you tell me when you mention 'oil' in each stage do you mean mustard oil, vegetable oil or ghee or butter ?

    many thanks


  42. If it is Mustard Oil, I will mention it like I say in the Prep.

    While cooking, since I don't mention, it is white oil, I use Canola.

    So in all my recipes if I am saying just "oil" it always means white oil, else I will say "Mustard oil" or "Olive Oil" or whatever

  43. sandeepa, i love the way you write- i too, am inspired to cook by memories of my childhood. i love the way you wove the story about your mother's sari and the pressure cooker into the recipe. it's lovely to read such posts. best wishes, shayma

  44. thanks fro the recipe,i tried this with chicken ,,,it wa yum,..heres the link
    and thanks for sharing such yummy recipes...

  45. Was thoroughly enticed by your description of the sunday lunch memories, and made this curry to treat ourselves to some rarely available goat-meat. It turned out delicious - the husband and I relished it for two whole days! Thank you for sharing. And btw, your ma's method (finely chopped onion) seemed like the easier one for me - I just ran them in the 'chopper' attachment of my immersion blender...

  46. You are good...
    Both in the way you write...
    and the way you cook...
    Should seriously think of writing a cook book... just like Leela Majumder.

  47. Greetings from sunny London! Just had to say I've tried this recipe twice (with mutton the first time and lamb the next) and it was amazing both times!

    Thanks so much - it brings back memories of my childhood in Calcutta!

  48. that was a nice dish..i am trying different taste from different parts of the world.

  49. So true ... what you wrote about the sunday lunch at Bengali homes being a ritual like affair with goat curry. Having being born and brought up in Jamshedpur I went back in time to those innocent sundays filled with goat curry and DD programs. Good job !!! Your blogs are pure entertainment.

  50. I have begun using canola too...recently tried mustard oil in kohsa...didn't make that much of a difference really

    1. Kalyan, I have seen it makes a diff if you marinate the mutton with mustard oil. Try it.

  51. Did the other recipe from D ever come out. Just wondering :)

    Absolutely love your blog


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