Heard of a vegetarian mutton curry? Here are my recipes for mangshor jhol including a niramish version for Kali Pujo
Mangshor jhol bhaat with some gondhoraj lebu to squeeze into the 'salad"
Diwali is coming up and I have been busy over the past few days connecting
with food writers, chefs and restaurant owners from across the country to get
an idea of food that they have during Diwali in their community. The journey of discovery has been quite an exciting one indeed.
When it comes to us Bengalis, it is the
Kali Pujo that is observed more than Diwali. Bursting firecrackers and lighting
candles on the terrace of my grandparent's house in Kolkata were a big part of my Kali Pujo memories.
What about the food during Kali Pujo?
are a few Kali Pujos in Mumbai, such as the Notun Palli Pujo at the Bandra
Hindu Association Hall and the Durga Bari Pujo at the Tejpal Auditorium, which
served Bhog 11 pm at night. Kali Pujo happens at night after all with the
fire-crackers lighting up the dark new moon night.
The bhog in these pujos is vegetarian and
usually consists of khichuri, a vegetable fry and a side dish, chutney and
However, my Kali Pujo food memories from
Kolkata revolve around mangshor jhol (goat meat curry) and rice feasts. This
traditional Sunday favourite of Bengali homes was also a favourite on Kali Pujo.
When I was growing up in Kolkata, we would
gather at my grand parents place on Kali Pujo. Didu, my grandmom, would make
mutton curry for all of us to eat after my brother, cousins , and I were done
with bursting crackers.
The mangshor jhol is a simple, light, flavourful and more 'home-food' like dish than the kosha mangsho which is more
festive and rich.
As I learnt later through friends such as
Kurush Dalal, a Parsi married to a Mumbai Bengali (!), and blogs such as this,
the mangshor jhol (mutton curry) made during Kali Pujo is ‘slightly’ different
from mutton curry made at home.
The Kali Pujo mutton curry is apparently a niramish
or vegetarian (!) goat meat curry.
Foxed? Well, ‘vegetarian’ in this case
means cooked with no onion and no garlic!
The jhol, or curry, would be thinner in
this case than onion based curries and would use curd and spices, and at times
tomato, for the flavour base. I put this up on Facebook and there was an interesting discussion on the origins of the 'proshadi' or 'niramish' mangshor jhol and why the goat curry made with meat of the sacrificial goat of the patha boli, offered to the Goddess Kali, was made sans onion and garlic. You will find snippets of the conversation, which talks about the origins of the dish, at the end of this post. We used to go to a family friend's house at Ramgor in Kolkata during my childhood days for Kali Pujo. I have had the mutton curry served there the afternoon after the puja which happens at midnight. I have no recollection of whether they had a patha boli and whether the mangshor jhol was niramish. All I know was that I loved the experience of sitting down with people and having mangshor jhol bhaat. From what I hear, patha boli happens rarely in Kolkata now. My mother says that chal kumro, a sort of gourd/ pumpkin is cut symbolically instead. While writing this posy I realised that, thanks to my parents and maternal grandparents, I had a rather laissez faire upbringing when it came to religious and other customs so a lot of these rituall are things that I am learning as I grow up. My take on traditions is that it's great to discover them and observe them but one should not get trapped in them.
Didu's mutton curry on Kali Pujo was for members of the family who would get together at her place. I don't know whether it was amish or niramish but it sure made us really happy. The Kali Pujo mutton curry memories from my
didu’s house made me make mangshor jhol a few days back at our home in Mumbai.
I called for mutton from Jude’s at Pali Naka and marinated it curd and spices
and cooked it early in the day.
Manghsor jhol in the Milton MicroWoW casserole
We had a busy evening with cleaning work
going on in the kitchen. So I transferred the contents of the pressure cooker
into the Milton MicroWoWcasserole before the chaos of Diwali cleaning at home started.
In you go
Later in the evening, I put the casserole without the lid into
the microwave ,and heated it for 4 minutes. Though the casserole had a stainless
steel interior, nothing untoward happened. I was quite surprised to see this, given that one doesn't put metal objects in the microwave. The box in which the Milton MicroWow came said one could, But I was sceptical earlier.
The Milton MicroWoW handled the microwave with applomb
So this was a first for me. The jhol came out nice and hot. I covered the casserole with the lid and
shut it tight so that we could have the curry later.
We came back into the hall about a couple of
hours later. I opened the casserole
and was happy to see that the curry was still hot. This meant I could avoid going to the kitchen, which I
didn’t have access to in any case with the cleaning on, to heat the food and yet have hot mangshor
jhol and bhaat (rice).
While I have shared my kosha mangsho recipe
in the past, I thought I will share the mangshor jhol with you too.
Dinner was ready
500 g mutton/ goat meat on the bone,
marinated in 100 g curd and 1 teaspoon each of garam masala and Kashmiri red
chilli powders and 1.5 teaspoons each of turmeric and cumin and coriander
powders, 1 teaspoon each of salt and sugar
2 potatoes cut into half
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or mustard oil
Paste of 2 onions (not added in niramish)
1 tablespoon ginger paste, ½ teaspoon
garlic paste (not added in niramish)
Paste of 1 tomato,
2.5 coffee mugs of water
1 teaspoon ghee (optional)
1.Heat oil in a pressure cooker pan
2.Add whole garam masala and tej
patta and dry red chillies
3.Add 1 freshly ground onion.
Skip this if you want to make niramish jhol
4.Add the ginger and garlic paste
once the onion browns (or once the garam masala splutters if there is no
onion). No garlic if it’s niramish
5.Add the puree of two tomatoes.
There are many Bengali households which don’t use tomatoes. My granny does. She
grew up in a house in Dhaka where there were tomato trees. It’s up to you if
you want to add it but I would advise you do specially if it is niramish
6.Add the marinated mutton and
potatoes and stir and cook for about 10 minutes
7.Add the water and bring to boil
8.Close the pressure pan lid,
keep the gas flame high and wait for 6 to 7 whistles. Then reduce the flame and
let it cook on a low flame for 30 minutes
9.Add some powdered garam masala
and a teaspoon of either mustard oil or Jhorna ghee (cow’s milk) at the end to
the dish for more flavour
Your mangshor jhol is ready and it is best
had with plain rice.
Happy Kali Pujo, Dhanteras, Diwali and New Year folks
Which plate do you prefer
post was done in association with Milton
Do check out this video
to know more about the Milton MicroWow!
Update: A Post on niramish mangshor jhol evoked a lot of conversation on my Facebook page and I am sharing some of that here