What does Sunday mean to you? Ask a Bengali. The answers lie at the end of this post. Let me know how many match with your answer.
There are many specialized dishes which have certain strength or flavour and only goes with specific combinations. A nicely made chicken rezala with a rich creamy semi white gravy and complex flavours can only be considered complete when had with a roomali roti. The spicy shorshe Ilish (Hilsa cooked in rich mustard paste) which bursts with flavours and split green chili which makes it spicier, can only be done justice through steaming hot rice.
Crossing the borders, a plate of hummus made from chickpeas, sesame paste, lemon juice and garlic remains incomplete with those pita breads, or a classic Sunday roast is incomplete with some potatoes on the side. These dishes are so iconic that they can never be thought without the combinations.
There are always great cricketers like Sir Don Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Vivian Richards, Brian Lara, and so so many legends who have adorned the game and the glorious game has been privileged to have them around. It won’t be exaggerating to say that the game of cricket would not have been same without them but then…. there have been utility cricketers too. Utility cricketer (UC) with moderate batting skills and can be plugged in at any position in the batting order. No big records to back them, no super star status, but they were still there. Want to save your best batsman in a fiery spell, send the UC, want someone to sacrifice for some quick runs in a big chase, send the utility cricketer. It does not end here; these players could bowl also for 4-5 overs or more so, when all the star bowlers were hammered for boundaries. While the stars are always the hub, the utility cricketers are the spokes which keep the wheel moving.
Wait, if you are glaring with surprise that you have come here to read about mangshor jhol and I have pushed you for cricket stories which is has no relevance, then hold on. For me, mangshor jhol is one of the best utility dishes in a Bengali household. Surprise guest visit – mangshor jhol with paratha, son coming back home after a year- mangshor jhol, the newlywed bride trying to impress the in laws – mangshor jhol and luchi, the husband trying to make up on a Sunday after a Saturday fight – you have mangshor jhol and rice.
It is not an unknown fact that no recipe is authentic. There are basic guidelines of a dish and then from the chef to the home cook, each has its own variation, secrets of the trade and when the recipe is passed on, more often than not, the smart clever cooks never pass on the complete recipe. Every Bengali household has its own recipe of mangshor jhol. Some passed on from generation after generation with small tweaks at each level of passing on, some remained intact without a scratch in the process. The recipe here is how Madhushree’s grandmother used to cook with a bit of tweaking from her end.
I started with the question that what does Sunday mean to a Bengali? It means a lot when it comes to food and while the opinions may vary between a luchi or Paratha, Fish or mutton/ chicken, choice of variety of fish, seasonal dishes but Mangshor jhol with chunky pieces of potato will be perhaps an unanimous choice for many. What does Sunday mean to you?
Disclaimer – Mangsho is universally mutton or goat meat for us and if by any chance you think I have shifted loyalties from Kosha Mangsho you are wrong . It still remains the fantasy dish before death.
Mangshor Jhol (Mutton in Light Gravy)
|Mutton (medium pieces)||1 kg||Thick Yogurt||2 cup|
|Onions finely sliced||2 medium||Ginger paste||1 ½ tbsp|
|Garlic paste||2 tbsp||Turmeric powder||1 tsp|
|Kashmiri Red Chilli powder||2 tsps||Mustard Oil||5 tbsp|
|Dried Bayleaf||1 nos||Whole cinnamon||1 inch|
|Whole green cardamom||3 nos||Whole cloves||3 nos|
|Sugar||1 tsp||Garam Masala powder||½ tsp|
|Ghee||1 tbsp||Salt||As required|
|Green chillies||2- 3 nos||Potatoes||2 large|
- Marinate the mutton with yogurt, ginger paste, garlic paste, turmeric, Kashmiri red chilli powder, 2 tbsp of mustard oil and a bit of salt. Keep it for atleast 3- 4 hours or more if possible.
- Peel the potatoes and cut them in half. Then fry them lightly in a tablespoon of mustard oil. Drain the oil and keep the potatoes aside. The potatoes should have a light golden colour.
- In a deep pan or a wok, pour the rest of the mustard oil. When it is super hot, reduce the flame of the oven and add bayleaf (crushed with your hand), whole cinnamon, whole green cardamoms, whole cloves and half a tea spoon of salt.
- When the whole spices start to splutter, add the sliced onions. Fry on a medium heat till it is golden brown. Once the onion is fried properly, add the marinated mutton.
- Mix it all very well in the wok and keep stirring and cooking till the mutton has sort of browned.
- Transfer the mutton to a pressure cooker and if you do not have one, then all you need is to slow cook it with a lid on.
- Use a cup of water to clean the wok and put it in the pressure cooker.
- Pressure cook this for a few minutes (5 whistles). This will only half cook the mutton.
- Now release the pressure and open the lid. Add the potatoes and close the lid back again.
- Continue cooking on low to medium heat until there are another 3 – 4 whistles on the pressure cooker.
- Once it is done, open the lid after the steam has released. Check if the mutton has become soft or not. If not, then you need to close the lid and give it a couple of more whistles.
- Add another cup of water if you like more gravy. Add the sugar and slit green chillies. Finally add ghee and garam masala powder and give it a good stir. Check the seasoning and add more salt if required.
- Finally turn the heat up and give it one boil and then turn off.
- Serve it with some steamed rice or luchi.