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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Celebrate Holi with Hot & Spicy Pathar Mangsho'r Jhol Or Bengali Mutton Curry

Wish all my readers, followers and blogger buddies A Very Happy & Colourful Holi!!!!
Tomorrow is another important festival of India, i.e., Holi,The festival of colour. Holi is one of the most colorful and vibrant festivals celebrated in India. Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season and the beginning of Spring to mark Spring's abundant colors and saying farewell to winter. Holi festival is celebrated by the people of all caste, class or creed, without any distinction. It treats everyone equally, wherein all the people drenched in different colors, lose their identity to become one. The vibrant colors of Holi bring people closer to even their foes and make them forget all the anguish of the past. After applying colors, people hug and greet each other. This tradition is called as 'Holi Milan'.
 In most areas, Holi lasts about two days. First Day is called Chhoti or Small Holi where people gather at important crossroads and light huge bonfires, the ceremony is called Holika Dahan. To render greatfulness to Agni, god of Fire, gram and stalks from the harvest are also offered to Agni with all humility. Ash left from this bonfire is also considered sacred and people apply it on their foreheads. People believe that the ash protects them from evil forces.
On second day,  great excitement can be seen in people on this day when it is actually the time to play the colours. Shops and offices remain closed for the day and people get all the time to get crazy and whacky. Bright colours of gulal and abeer fill the air and people take turns in pouring colour water over each other. Children take special delight in spraying colours on one another with their pichkaris and throwing water balloons and passers by. Women and men form groups and visit neighbours to apply colours and exchang greetings.After playing colours, it's time to savour Holi delicacies, which are mostly savoury snacks, drinks and sweets. In my place, Kolkata, after playing colours, family gather to savour something hot & spicy, like Chicken or Mutton Curry with hot rice.
This Mutton curry is also staple on Sundays in allmost every bengali households. If you stroll around any bengali neighbourhood on Sunday noon, you can hear numbers of pressure cooker whistling and the franenace of mangshor jhol allover the neighbourhood. The meat can vary, either mutton or chicken, but it has to be mangshor jhol aar Bhaat(chicken or mutton curry & rice).

 This is my mom's recipe and little I adapted from different recipes.

Ingredients :
Mutton(goat meat) : 1 kg
Potato : 3-4(cut in bigger chunks)
Onion : 4-5(medium)
Ginger paste : 3 tblsp.
Garlic Paste : 3 tblsp.
Tomato : 3-4(medium)
Turmeric Powder : 3 tsp.
Coriander powder : 3tsp.
Red Chilli powder : 2 tsp.
Dahi/yogurt : 3 tblsp.
Salt to taste
Mustard oil : 4-5 tblsp.
Ghee(clarified butter) 1 tblsp.

Spices to temper :
Bay Leaf/Tej-Patta : 2
Cardamom/Elaichi : 4 
Clove/Laung : 4 
Cinnamon stick/Darchini : 2(1" pieces)

Spices to Dry roast :
Green Cardamom/Elaichi : 5-6
Cloves/Laung : 5-6, 
Cinnamon : 1 stick of 1"
Dry Red Chilli : 1-2(as per taste)

Bengali Garam Masala Powder : Grind together 3 cardamoms, 3 cloves and 1' piece of cinnamon without roasting

Method :
  • Prep. :Dry Roast in a pan all the ingredients listed in Spices to dry roast for a couple of minutes. When you get the aroma, remove and grind them to a fine powder. Keep aside in an air-tight container to keep the aroma intact.
  • Marination : Cut mutton in small cubes, wash and dry. Marinate with 1 tblsp. ginger paste, 1 tblsp. garlic paste, 1 tsp. each of turmeric and red chilli powder, yoghurt, salt and 1 tblsp. mustard oil. Mix everything well and nicely cover all the mutton pieces in this marinade. Keep aside for at least 3-4 hours or possibly overnight. 
  • Cooking : Heat 3-4 tblsp. oil in a heavy bottomed pan. First, fry potato pieces with little salt until light brown. Keep aside.
  • In the same oil, temper with the ingredients listed in SPices to temper. Wait for couple of seconds, and add finely chopped onions. Fry until light brown, then add 1 tsp. sugar (adding sugar at this point, gives the curry a nice color and balances the taste of teh curry, too) and continue frying onions until they are golden brown. Then add rest of the ginger and garlic paste, stir with onions for another 2-3 minutes. Then add chopped tomatoes and continue sauteing until tomatoes soften.
  • Now it's time to add the spices. Take 3 tsp. turmeric powder, coriander and red chilli powder in a bowl with 2 tblsp. water added to it. Mix all and add in the pan. Stir till oil seperates. Now add the roasted spice powder. Fry for another 2-3 minutes. 
  • When oil seperates, add marinated mutton pieces and mix the mutton nicely with the masala. Add salt, lower the heat to medium and let the meat cook with spices for at least 10-12 minutes. This is the most crucial part of this curry, it this is not done properly, the taste won't be good. This process is called 'mangsho Kasha' or mutton cooked with spices. 
  • When mutton has lost its rawness and spices are well-cooked, add  1tblsp. ghee and 2 tsp. of garam masala powder mentioned in the ingredients list. Stir another 1-2 minutes, then add 2 cups of hot water in it. Mix well and add salt to taste. Add fried potato pieces. Cover with lid and cook for 10 minutes on pan and then transfer to a pressure cooker. 
  • Generally, mutton takes at least 10-12 minutes to cook on medium flame  or 7-8 whistles. But it depends on the quality of meat. So cook until mutton and potatoes are done.
  • Keep in closed cooker until serving and open you are ready to serve, it keeps the flavours intact and it tastes always the best when hot. Serve with warm white rice for best taste.

Sending this to my ongoing event, Spotlight : Colorful Holi, Hosted by my sister, Chandrani of Cuisine Delights

& To 'Holi Hai' event by My Cookbook

Wednesday, March 07, 2012 / by / 7 Comments


  1. You said it !! Come Sunday and the sound of music will be 'whistles'. Though we have cut down on our red meat intake for health reasons. But still chicken is a regular dish. This mutton preparation looks tempting. Happy Holi dear

    Hamaree Rasoi

  2. Yummy Yummy...I Love this..


  3. this looks very new n tasty.....awesome pics...nice presentation as always...

  4. @Preeti, you can share my pictures with my name, no problem

  5. Hi Indrani I am your new follower. I love bengali food will surely try this.Do visit my blog in your spare time.

  6. This seems like a very tempting combination of foods for Holi. I'd love to try this menu. My warmest holi wishes to you!

    Anne Walker


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