Maa’s quintessential mangsher jhol (Mutton Curry) by Bratati Guha

Have you ever wondered what makes mom’s cooking seem like magic? Or say grand-ma’s? Perhaps it is the love that comes with it. For decades, women from middle class and rural underprivileged families have shown that to whip up a delicacy you don’t require exotic ingredients, or even truckloads of ingredients, as a matter of fact. A Bengali kitchen sets a perfect example how you can go for minimal wastes — from peels to seeds everything is utilised — and cook finger-lickingly good food with very few spices. Mrs. Bratati Guha’s kitchen USP is the fact that apart from cooking with very basic ingredients that are easily available in our pantry, she never uses cumin or coriander powder when she cooks.




Smt. Bratati Guha is the daughter of respected freedom fighter and scholar Sri Tarapada Lahiri and Smt. Kalyani Lahiri. An ever smiling lady, she is also a distinguished cook. Here we present one of her many delicacies.





  • mustard oil (about half cup)
  • mutton — washed and cleaned curry cut — 1kg
  • whole spices — garam masala — cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, dry red chillies
  • onions (about 6 medium ones)
  • 10-12 garlic cloves
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 inch ginger
  • turmeric powder
  • red chilli powder
  • salt
  • hot water
  • ghee






  • Heat about half cup mustard oil in a kadai.
  • Temper with whole cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, dry red chillies. Fry until a nice aroma of garam masala fills your kitchen.
  • Add 3 chopped onions and fry them till the colour becomes golden.
  • Now add some largely cut potatoes and saute them till the colour becomes red.
  • Now add the raw meat and cook with the potatoes and masala well.
  • Make a fine paste of the following —  3 onions, 7-8 garlic cloves, 2 tomatoes, 1 inch ginger. Add that paste into the kadai and cook till oil separates.
  • Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Cover it and cook it in a low flame.
  • Add some hot water and cover it for 5 minutes, you will see some yellow coloured potatoes are floating on the red gravy. Separate those potatoes from the gravy if they are fully cooked.
  • Now take a frying pan, add some generous amount of ghee.
  • Fry some crushed garlic and crushed garam masala.
  • Once the meat is done and the consistency of the gravy is right, then add the mixture of ghee, garam masala and garlic, and give standing time for 5 minutes.
  • Serve with steaming hot rice

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