Winters bring with them an assortment of winter produce to be savoured. From morning till night, the constant craving for warm, comforting and delicious foods stays with us. From garma garam aloo paratha for breakfast to soups, coffee, tea and numerous other warm beverages in the evening and decadent curries with steamed rice for dinner, winters are truly the season of indulging in culinary gems. 

Born and brought up in Odisha, my winters were filled with indulgent foods throughout. From Chakuli and Chaa for breakfast to Mansa Jhola for lunch and roti and Dalma for dinner, my winter days are filled with comforting and decadent foods from morning till night. Winters are truly a gastronomic affair in Odia households. When I was a kid, winter weekends are the most awaited. From Chuda Upma in the morning, followed by sneaking pieces of pickles drying up in the sun to a hearty Usuna Bhata and Mansa Jhola lunch and an Anda Tarkari dinner, winter weekends are undoubtedly the best. Keeping the other dishes aside, let’s talk about Mansa Tarkari today. 

Mansa Tarkari is a regional mutton dish that is one of the most loved and flavourful dishes in most Odia households. The curry is usually savoured with steamed rice for lunch. However, people in some parts of the state also have it with Mudhi (puffed rice) and Chakuli Pitha. Although the curry is quite simple, almost every Odia household has its own way of preparing it. However, the method I’m going to share today is the one I use to make Mansa Tarkari at home. 

According to me, the real flavour of Mansa Tarkari is derived from mustard oil. Whole spices are left to splutter in mustard oil before adding chopped onions and ginger-garlic paste. While most people prefer to cook Mansa Tarkari in a pressure cooker, I make it in a silver vessel. The slow cooking process allows the mutton to be cooked through to be soft, tender and succulent. The curry is given a finishing touch with a garnish of freshly chopped coriander leaves and a sprinkle of garam masala over it. 

Relishing a plate of Mansa Tarkari along with steamed rice on a winter afternoon is truly delightful. Try the recipe this winter and let us know how you like it.