The light, soupy and mild mutton curry featured in our lunch menu one afternoon. Tenderly laced with spices and cooked until the tender meat falls off the bones, the “Halka Mangshor Jhol” summons nostalgic yearnings for me.
If you looking for a nutritious complete meal in less than thirty minutes, this is it. This recipe reminds me of home and my ma. The pale yellow sauce soaked up the hot steaming rice forming a pool at one corner of the plate. I used to separate the meat on one side. The cubes of potatoes would be mixed and mashed with the rice and the sauce. I would set aside one cube of potato to savor at the end of the meal. Then there would be fresh squeeze of lemon juice over the rice. Light and stewy.
It is that time of the year when the appetite runs low and all we want to eat light, fresh and less spicy. Meals at home consisted of fish curry with mild watery vegetables like ridge gourd and pointed gourd, Tok Dal and Aamer Ombol. Once in a while when we wanted meat, it would be this tight mutton curry with a runny sauce. So when my dad visited us this summer, we sat down just like when I was little kid and shared bowlful of soulful food.
The kind of recipe where ingredients were just combined and slow cooked all together in one pot was usually termed as “Haath Ghosha” in our home. I am not exactly sure why or how it relates to the food. While this Mangshor Jhol or Robibar er Murgi r Jhol was reserved for Sundays, this particular lighter version of stew like mutton curry was usually a light any day lunch or dinner for us. Pressure cooker reigns in an Indian kitchen. So this recipe takes less than half an hour to cook after after an overnight marination.
During winter time, we would have mutton stew cooked in a similar manner, in one pot but with plenty of more vegetables. Hot fresh rotis smeared with ghee would be rolled up to soak up the steaming and hearty stew in the steel bowls.
I made a few changes to the “very” easy recipe. The way my ma would make this is, combine everything together and allow the meat to marinate overnight. The next morning (or evening), meat along with the marinade would be dumped out in the pressure cooker along with a drizzle of mustard oil and some whole cloves, cardamoms and cinnamon sticks. The meat was cooked until they were falling off the bones.
This would be cooked pretty well in a slow cooker.
The changes I made:
I caramelized some onions for extra flavor, and also added a fragrant paste of hot green chili peppers and garam masala (cinnamon, clove and cardamom). Sandeepa had posted her Mutton Curry a while back and she used this technique of adding the spice mix at the end of cooking process. I have been wanting to incorporate that ever since she had posted and finally did it in this recipe.
Mangsho-r Halka Jhol: Light and Easy Mutton Curry
Ingredients: Serves 2-4 as a side
- 1 lb mutton/goat meat (can be done with any meat. adjust cooking time)
- 1/2 cup thick and drained yogurt/Greek yogurt
- 4 large garlic cloves (about a tablespoon peeled)
- 2 inch fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoon chopped onion
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1-3 red dry chili pepper (adjust amount) + 2 hot green peppers – remove seeds from pepper is you want less spicy
- 1 teaspoon powdered turmeric
- 1 cup grated fresh tomato
- 3/4 cup onion, sliced in half moon
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1-2 medium potatoes, peeled and each sliced in 4 – 6 pieces + 1/2 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon pure mustard oil + 3 tablespoon pure mustard /any other cooking oil
- 3 cloves
- 2 inch stick cinnamon
- 3 green cardamom
- 6-8 hot green chili pepper (remove seeds and membrane if you do not want it spicy)
- fresh lemon juice to finish off
**Note: Root vegetables work really well with this stew. You may use any vegetables of your choice. If you are using vegetables that cook faster, you may add them towards the end when the meat is almost done. Otherwise adjust the process and add them before.
Any kind of meat may be used. Adjust cooking time.
Wash and pat dry the meat.
Combine yogurt, ginger, garlic, onion (3 tablespoon), cumin, coriander, dry chili pepper + green hot pepper, salt in a blender and blend until you have a smooth mixture. In a non reactive bowl combine this mix with the meat. Add the black pepper, turmeric and a tablespoon of oil/mustard oil, toss well for the meat to be coated, cover and set it aside in the refrigerator. Allow it to marinate overnight if you can. If not, at least for 4-6 hours.
Once you are ready to cook, heat the rest of the oil in a pressure cooker or a pot with tight fitting lid. Coat the potatoes with salt and turmeric and shallow fry them in oil until they start to brown on the edges. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
In the same pot, add the sugar to the oil and lower the heat and allow the sugar to caramelize. Stir constantly and do not let it burn. Now add the onions and cook them very slowly for about 10 -15 minutes until they start to caramelize.
When the onions are brown on the ends and overall light brown, add the marinated meat along with the in the pot/pressure cooker. Stir well. Add the grated tomato, about 4 cups of water (adjust the amount depending on how soupy you want it), give it a good stir and cook. . Cover with a tight fitting lid if cooking in a pot or if you are using the pressure cooker cook for about 15-20 minutes or adjust time… cook until the meat is tender. Now open the pot/cooker (after it cools down), add the potatoes (and the other vegetables that will cook quicker and cook until the potatoes are fork tender.
Make a paste with the cinnamon, cardamom, clove and green hot peppers (Number 17 – 20 in the ingredient list) with a few drops of water. The finer the paste the better, but you may just pound them well to release the aroma. Add this to the cooked meat, stir well and keep it tightly covered until ready to serve.
Finish off with a squeeze of lemon when ready to serve. Adjust salt.
Serve with rice or flat bread or with some good rustic bread to soak up the soupy sauce.
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