I don’t know what newness can I create in a simple Pathar Mangsher jhol that is so popular and so fondly prepared by every Bengali mother. Pathar Mangsho or Mutton means Goat meat. Sunday would be incomplete without pathar mangho, sada bhaat ar begun bhaja (Mutton curry, steamed plain rice, Aubergine fry) We Bengalis have grew up with it in our blood literally. Patha means the goat meat in Bengali. Bongs are known for their love for meat and fish, our mornings begin with mach bhaja(Fish fry) and the day ends with mach’er jhol (Fish Curry). Another popular Mutton dish is the Kosha Mangsho but I like the mutton cooked in a curry, I like using my fingers to mix the rice with the jhol (curry) and gulp it into my mouth in one go. My taste buds are already warming up just at the thought of it.
A relative or friends visiting on a Sunday or any holiday for a lunch or dinner would definitely mean that meat is on the menu, that may be chicken or mutton. On wedding weddings I would be disappointed to see mutton is not served rather chicken. My didi (elder sister) likes chicken more, which would mean her share of the meat is going into my plate. My mother-in-law also cooks very tasty mutton curry and on every visit to plan to learn all the steps but sadly our visit is so short that I hardly get to sit down and learn it from her. And I always say cooking is an art, we all use the same ingredients but the taste comes from heart, it’s the love and care with which one cooks. But many things have changed now as my mother cannot eat mutton any more since she has Thyroid problems as it is red meat and her doctor has prescribed to stay away from it.
Mustard Oil, Turmeric powder, Cumin Powder, Chilly Powder, Bay leaf- 3 to 4 ,Ginger, Garlic, Onion, Tomato, Potatoes.
For this Bengali style mutton curry or pathar mangsho all you need is half kg mutton (quantity depends on the number of people you are feeding, For my small family of three member half kilo is enough for a single meal as we definitely had fish in the menu too) Wash it and clean it, marinate it with two tablespoon mustard oil. The mustard oil is quintessential part of any bengali cuisine as it enhances the aroma and also has many benefits. I was reading an article about the many benefits of mustard oil and I am amazed to find the reason behind its use in traditional Indian food. It is an anti-microbial properties, its good for skin, it also has anti -fungal and Ayurveda properties. Its good to cure cough and cold. I still remember that my mother used to rub mustard oil mixed with little water on my tummy when I had a stomach ache for instant relief when I was in school. Now I see my sister doing the same to her little son, well its natural cure at home.
Well marinate the mutton with mustard oil and all the important spices like turmeric, red chilly powder, Jeera (Cumin) powder, ginger garlic paste, green chilly paste, salt and all of these one teaspoon each. Put 2-3 bay leaf. Keep it aside for four to five hours and for best results overnight as the flavors will infuse into the meat. Take one big sized onion and chop it finely, three medium sized potatoes and chop it off in the middle. Take one big sized red tomato and finely chop it. We love our potatoes in any meat curry.
Heat one tea spoon mustard oil in a wok as the oil gets heated , let it heat properly and evenly, put a pinch off turmeric powder in it as it will prevent the oil from spluttering. Put the potatoes cut into halves in the wok, put a pinch of turmeric again, half tea spoon salt and fry it for sometime, don’t cook it. Take it on a bowl and keep it aside.
In another heavy bottomed pan heat 2 table spoon mustard oil and temper it with one small stick of Cinnamon (Dalchinni), one cardamom (elaichi), 2 bay leaf put the chopped onions, salt and fry it for some time, than add the ginger garlic paste and continue frying till the onions get reduced in quantity, than add the finely chopped tomatoes and keep stirring. Add one tea spoon of all the spices- Turmeric powder, Cumin powder (Jeera powder), Chilly powder according to your taste. Mix it properly and continue frying all the ingredients on the pan. Let the spices get cooked properly. Take out the ingredients and make a paste by grinding it all it on a mixture/blender. It will help to add thickness to your gravy.
Heat 2-3 table spoon mustard oil Add the mutton slowly and let it cook on low flame, it will release all its juices gradually. Put in the half cooked potatoes. Continue stirring it for some time. If you have time in your hand you can keep it on low flame cover it and let it cook but in case your guests have already arrived or you are in a hurry than you can shift it all in a pressure cooker, add some water for the gravy and put salt according to your taste. Some mutton takes time to cook, 4-5 whistles are enough. Let the cooker cool down, open the lid and add one table spoon of Garam Masala powder which you will get readily available in the market and simmer it for some time. Your Pathar Mangho’r jhol is ready to eat.
I love to eat my pathar manago’r jhol (Mutton Curry) with steamed rice as I need the flavors!!