Sept 29: If you are a Bengali, your life would be considered incomplete if you don’t queue up in front of the mutton shops on Sunday mornings. Sundays in Bengali families are meant to enjoy the leisurely mutton aloo jhol or the mangshor jhol as it is called.
Bengali Mutton aloo jhol, a meat and potato delicacy with flowy gravy
A traditional Bengali Mutton aloo jhol is a flowy gravy laden with spices and extravagant taste. The mangsho jhol unlike in most parts of India contains tenderly sliced mutton pieces, as they float in a watery gravy. The best pairup aloo (potato) is also present in this recipe.
Those who are fond of mutton know that a male goat, especially a little tender one, tastes best in this jhol that contains many different spices. The dish requires little effort but tastes best if cooked slowly.
The recipe is a one-pot affair but can also be cooked in a pressure cooker after the kosha (spices cooked with meat) and it will still taste heavenly.
Ingredients to make mutton aloo jhol
600 gm mutton cut into medium size pieces
3 – 4 medium sized potatoes – washed, skin peeled off, cut into half
½ cup Onion paste
1 ½ Tbsp. Ginger paste
1 ½ Tbsp. Garlic paste
¼ cup Yogurt
2-3 Green chilies
2-3 small Bay leaves
1 inch Cinnamon stick
4-5 Green Cardamoms
1 Tbsp Red Chili powder
1 Tbsp Coriander powder
1 Tbsp Cumin powder
1 tsp Turmeric powder
5-6 Tbsp Mustard Oil
⅛ tsp Sugar
Salt to taste
- If you don’t want to pressure cook the mutton, select tender meat and cook it with all the following steps except pressure cooking. The slow cooked meat may take approximately 3 hours to cook.
- Clean and wash the mutton and then place into a mixing bowl.
- Add all the dry spices, all the pastes, the yogurt and three tablespoons of oil into mutton.
- Give it a good mix, cover it and put it into the refrigerator for at least one hour.
- Peel off the potatoes, wash and cut them in halves. Add salt and turmeric powder.
- In your cooking vessel add the rest of oil and heat it (the oil should be smoky hot).
- Add the potatoes into the oil and fry them for few minutes, then remove from the oil. You don’t need to cook them through just yet.
- Add the sugar into the remaining oil and let it melt and dissolve.
- Add the whole spices and as they temper, give them a stir, cook for a few seconds, so that all the flavor is incorporated into the oil.
- Add the mutton and cook for two- three minutes over a high heat, then reduce heat into medium to medium high, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir off and on making sure that it doesn’t stick to the pan.
- Halfway through this add the potatoes.
- When the oil starts to separate from the meat and spices-add salt to taste.
- Then transfer the whole thing into a pressure cooker. Add boiling water for a stew. Lock the cooker.
- Over a high heat wait for one whistle, then reduce the heat to the absolutely lowest mark, wait for two to three whistles. Turn off the heat and let the pressure release in its own time.
- Serve your mutton aloo jhol with rice, salad and a wedge of lemon and viola!, a perfect, sumptuous Bengali lunch is ready.