Kosha Mangsho is the holy grail of Mutton curry. Just like Mutton Rogan Josh – it’s often considered the most extraordinary Mutton curry but we never grew up enjoying Kosha Mangsho. For us, it was always Manghsor Jhol. Bengali Sundays are served at the lunch table. Like every dish which gets reinterpreted as it travels geography and time – Mangshor Jhol has also been improvised as per the surroundings, resources available, and occasions, like the Biswakarma Pujo special mangsho. 

Mangshor Jhol on different occasions

One of the easiest to make, Mangshor Jhol was always welcome for every occasion. At a picnic, the ratio of aloo and mutton pieces changes depending on the budget. Whenever a new son-in-law or Jamaicomes home, the best mutton pieces are kept for him. Bijoya sommiloni (Dusserah for the rest of India) version has more spices and abundant Kashmiri red chilli powder to make it look blood red.

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Vishwakarma Pujo on a construction site is like Saraswati Pujo in School. The great leveler

These days they call Biswakarma the OG of engineering. For us, it also meant that this was the day of flying kites. At a construction site, there are hardships throughout the year. Extreme working conditions, targets, and client atrocity, all add up.  A  construction site is a place where you find labourers across geography and across cultures. Here, Biswakarma Pujo is one occasion where each worker, irrespective of religious background celebrates together. It’s the day when all extracurricular skills are exhibited by construction workers.
The good-for-nothing Site Engineer, who gets pulled up otherwise, becomes the Purohit. The accountant is the perfect Bajar Sarkar, sourcing the cheapest deals on chicken and mutton. Planning engineer uses their contacts to get the liquid diet. And then the cook is the most sought-after.
With three GE, CWE, CE, and several other clients handled for a prestigious, state-of-the-art hospital for Defence – they would all come to the Alipore Site to enjoy the mutton cooked by Kali da. This mutton was the perfect pairing after bottomless beer and chicken pakoras.
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Biswakarma Pujo and Arandhan

It was only last year our friend Priyanka highlighted the other part of Biswakarma Pujo – Arandhan and no cooking and cold eating. She was kind enough to write this for us – Bishwakarma pujo has always been an integral part of our growing-up years in West Bengal. Whether it was Calcutta or little industrial towns along the suburbs, across the banks of the river Ganga, the god of machines was worshipped with fervour. Since Bishwakarma pujo is celebrated every year on the 17th of September, it coincides with Arandhan or Ranna pujo which marks the month’s transition from Bhadra to Ashwin. 

What does Arandhan Mean?

Arandhan literally means “not to cook.” Originally, in rural Bengal, it was the custom to appease Ma Manasha (the goddess of snakes) by cooking a huge spread, offering it to her, and eating the cooled spread the next day. With the monsoon came autumn, and it was believed that the blessings of Ma Manasha would keep the snakes away. Arandhan was also a good way to clean up the kitchen after the monsoon before serving bhog to the goddess.

The best Arandhan Fare

Since the festival is not celebrated in all districts of Bengal, I hardly ate the delicious Arandhan food. But I remember well the best feast at my mother Mashi’s house. It included a delicious array of Panta Bhaat, Narkel Bhaja, Beguni, Chaalkumror Ghonto, Ilish Bhaja, Iliisher Kanta Chocchori, Chalta’r tawk and an array of sweets. I wish more people in Bengal celebrated Arandhan because it’s fun to eat cold food that you do not find all year round.

Bishwakarma Pujo Special Mangsho and how popular it is 

As I love to call it Gor gore and rog roge too. Trying several times, Madhushree and I got hold of the recipe by Kali da and we recreate it. Here is what I posted on Instagram a year back,

This year our friends from Delhi Tanushree and Om also made Biswakarma Pujo mutton and posted another angle of the story

Lastly, the sad note attached with Biswakarma Pujo Special Mangsho

I thought we could end this special story on a high note. However, food connects everyone and there are moments when a certain food reminds us of certain memories that cannot be replayed. Just like Mangshor Jhol always reminds me of Ma. During the first lockdown, we started selling this mangsho from our home kitchen. And once, our friend Sneha ordered it. Her ailing father liked it a lot. Last year when he was really unwell, he made another request for the same mangsho. Ramen Dutta passed away, but we always think of him when we have the Biswakarma Pujo Special Mangsho.

Biswakarma Pujo Special Mangsho

Madhushree Basu Roy
Rich mutton curry made in a rustic way
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course, Meats other than chicken and fish, Non Vegetarian
Cuisine Bengali, Indian
Servings 5 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 kg mutton on the bone preferably rewaji with fat
  • 500 gms onions
  • 2 cups mustard oil
  • 2 ½ tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 ½ tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp Red Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ½ cup yoghurt
  • ½ cup tomato puree
  • 3 nos green cardamom
  • 5 nos cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 nos dried bay leaf
  • 4 nos dried red chillies
  • ¼ tsp Bengali garam masala powder
  • 4 nos green chillies
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Marinate mutton pieces with whisked yoghurt, salt, turmeric powder, 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder, 1 tsp red chilli powder, ginger paste, garlic paste and 2 tbsp mustard oil. Keep this overnight.
  • Take half the quantity of onions and make a paste. Cut the other half of the quantity into thin slices.
  • Take all the powdered spices except garam masala and mix them all together with a little bit of lukewarm water to make a thick paste.
  • In a heavy-bottomed kadai or degchi (saucepan), heat mustard oil and add the whole spices and sugar. Let the sugar caramelize and then add onion slices.
  • Fry the onions on high heat and when they have become soft, add the onion paste. Keep frying the onion paste till the raw smell of the paste goes off.
  • At this point, add the mutton after shaking off the marinade.
  • On high heat, fry the mutton pieces, stirring throughout to brown them.
  • Once that is done, add the tomato puree, the spices paste and the leftover marinade.
  • Use a little warm water to help all the spices and the mutton come together.
  • Mix them all up and keep frying the mutton with the spices for a good ten to fifteen minutes.
  • Reduce the heat and cover the mutton and let it cook for 30 minutes, while stirring time and again so that the spices don't stick to the bottom.
  • If you wish, you can continue cooking this way, adding 2 cups of hot water mid-way and then covering and letting the mutton cook. Or alternatively, you can transfer the mutton to a pressure cooker, add water to cover the mutton pieces and then close the lid and cook for 5 to 6 whistles or until the mutton has become soft.
  • Once the mutton has cooked all the way, add Bengali garam masala, check the salt and add more salt if needed and then finally cut the green chillies into half length-wise and add to the mutton.
  • Give it a boil and then serve this with piping hot rice.
Keyword alu diye mangshor jhol, bishwakarma pujo mangsho, mangshor jhol

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