Want to cook a hassle free special Bengali meal for guests? How about an onion free mutton curry with a pulao on the side

The pulao and niramish (onion and garlic free)  mangsho
 that I  recentlycooked for the dinner at home.
Don't let the colour worry you. The curry wasn't spicy at all.

I did a couple of festival food projects on the blog recently. One for Durga Puja and the other for Kali Puja/ Diwali.

I drew on what I wrote in both of them to make dinner when a couple of friends dropped in at our place during the recent Diwali break.

One was Ruchika, who had seen the Bengali mutton curry picture that I had posted recently and who had got excited by it. Someone who had grown up in Kolkata and has fond memories of its food. Seeing her enthusiasm for the curry, I felt that I just had to make the curry for her, and invited her over. The other was Jean, an American who lived in Mumbai sometime back, and who had dropped into town for Diwali. She had not eaten my cooking before, though we had gone on many food walks together. Since I was cooking that evening, we called her over too.

Ma Kali would approve of my
Cooking for the girls

I had recently written a blog post about what some people refer to as niramish (vegetarian!) mangshor jhol. It is the mutton/ goat meat curry made on Kali Pujo. It is also called 'bolir mangsho (sacrificial meat)' and 'prosahdi mangsho (meat offered as prasad to the Goddess)'.

The jhol was traditionally made with the meat of the goat sacrificed to the Goddess. The 'vegetarian' refernce come from the fact that no onion or garlic is used in the preparation.

Banu is on leave for at present. She does all the chopping and prepping usually when I cook. I hate chopping onions. So I got the idea of trying to make the niramish, onion and garlic free, mutton curry for our friends.

There was no religious motivation behind this. Just the delightful option of not having to chop onions.

I ordered mutton (goat meat) from Jude's Cold Storage in the morning. Marinated it in curd and spices in the afternoon. Cooked it in the evening just before our friends came.

Turned out that not using onions meant that a lot of the cooking time was saved. Usually browning the onions, and I use copious amounts of onion in my mutton curries and kosha mangsho, takes a long while. The best part was that neither K nor I had to chop onions!

The resultant curry, with ghee, whole garam masala, store bought tomato puree, ginger paste, curd and spices giving the flavour base, was pleasant light and tasty and the flavours of the meat shone through. It was slightly tangier than normal, as there was no onion to cut the taste of the tomato and curd, but not overly so.

The three ladies approved of the dinner. K said it is one of her favourite mutton curries now and that it reminded her of the Parsi kharu gosh. Our guests seemed to like the home like feel to the dish.

I didn't have to spend much time in the kitchen.

The niramish, onion and garlic free mutton curry.
With potatoes of course

I kept the dinner simple. To go with the curry I made a Bengali frying pan, Mishti/ Basonti pulao, which I had written about in my Durga puja post.

The pulao was quick to put together. It complimented the curry. 

The dinner was a one course meal but seemed to work. I personally don't like too many dishes/ courses while eating and our guests didn't seem to mind the absence of a plethora of dishes.  Or so I hope.

And for starters I did my air fried honey balsamic chicken wings which is a push button recipe and is a hit with friends.

I put the recipe on Instagram stories and am sharing the pictures from there with you.

Do try these dishes the next time you have guests. The dinner will seem special. And yet home made.

Please keep scrolling down for the 3 recipes. Do let me know if my posting these instagram story pictures help.

Do tell me if you have any quick fix recipes that you use when guests come. Would love to try them out.

Niramish mangshor jhol (goat meat curry with no onions and garlic)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon ghee, 2 cloves, 2 green cardamom, 2 bits of cinnamon, 2 tej patta, 3 tablespoons ginger paste, 4 tablespoons tomato puree, 600 g mutton marinated in - 100 g curd, 1 teaspoon each of turmeric, red chilli (optional), cumin, coriander and garam masala powders, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 potatoes, 2.4 coffee mugs water

Cook:
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon ghee to a pressure cooker pan
  2. Add whole garam masala, tej patta, fry red chillies (optional)
  3. Add 3 tablespoons ginger paste
  4. Add 4 tablespoons tomato puree
  5. Add 600g marinated goat meat and 3 potatoes, peeled and halved
  6. Stir and let it cook for about 10 minutes
  7. Add 2.5 coffee mugs water. Bring to boil. Add 1/2 a teaspoon of garam masala
  8. Shut the pressure pan. Wait for 8 whistles
  9. Reduce the flame and let it cook on a low flame for 30 minutes
  10. Once done, open pan. Add a teaspoon of ghee













Pulao

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon ghee (ideally jharna) whole spices - couples of cloves, cardamom and cinnamon, 2 tej patta, steamed rice, salt and a dash of sugar, cumin and turmeric powders, 1 tablespoon rasin and cashews, 2 tablespoons of milk and a few strands of saffon, 2 green chillies

Cook:
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee
  2. Add 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin, 2 split green chillies
  3. Add 2 cloves, 2 green cardamom and a cinnamon bark
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of raisins and 1 tablespoon cashews (I didn't have these at home)
  5. Add steamed rice
  6. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, cumin and garam masala powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. Mix. Cover pan and let rice cook for 2 minutes
  8. Uncover pan. Add 2 tablespoons of milk into which a few strands of saffron has been added and 1/2 teaspoon Jharna or any ghee. 
  9. Cover pan for a minute while the rice cooks and then your pulao is ready






Chicken wings

Marinate chicken wings in a tablespoon each of honey and balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs, 1 teaspoon chopped olives, 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)

Put into a pre-heated air fryer for 20 min at 200 C and your starter is ready.

Honey balsamic chicken wings

The dinner with friends made for a happy Diwali and I hope you guys had a great Diwali too.

PS: I do owe the making of this dish to another friend, Kurush Dalal. He told me that the 'niramish mangsho'made by his sister in law, Monidipa, is apparently one of the best Bengali mutton dishes that he has had so far. This made me want to try cooking it myself. 

Now I need to cook my version for Kurush the next time he is over.


Luckily for me, they smiled post the dinner too

Please do check these posts out as well:

My post on niramish mangsho for Kali Pujo
My post on mishti pulao for Durga Pujo

Ruchika has started a blog and here's the link: Ruchika's blog
Jean is a writer/ editor and you can follow her on Facebook to see her posts and articles
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