This Bengali 'Vegetarian Mutton' Is A Festive Favourite

Mutton Curry has always played an integral part in Bengali cuisine, specially on Sunday’s when the whole family sits together to dig into a big fat delight. There has been various preparation of this dish but that stands out is the 𝙉𝙞𝙧𝙖𝙢𝙞𝙨𝙝 𝙈𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙨𝙝𝙤, that’s cooked mostly during Kali puja. 

In Bengal Goddess Kali or Ma Chamunda, in her wild avatar of the highest feminine power has always been worshipped. While the rest of India worships Goddess Lakshmi and Ganesh during Diwali and chooses to eat a strict vegetarian food, in far east Bengal it’s Kali Puja and a most see this special preparation of mutton that’s cooked with the scarified livestock Niramish Pathar Jhol or Niramish Mangsho.

Since this mutton curry is offered as Bhog (Prasad) to the Goddess, the speciality of this mutton curry is that no onions or garlic are used to cook this festive dish that will be eaten once the puja is over. Going back to scriptures it’s believed that onion and garlic are Amish or non-vegetarian products, which even runs till date hence they were not used for cooking when making of the bhog. 

The question being even Mutton is non-veg but here since that has been offered to the Goddess it was considered pure and sacred. In Bengali cuisine, anything cooked without onion and garlic it's termed as Niramish. In modern days sacrifice don’t happen in the cities but still there are many houses in rural who perform this ritual. It’s always a goat, “patha” or but off late make have shifted to pumpkin or ash gourd. The meat then prepared is offered to the the deity. Once offered to the goddess and then will be eaten hence it was always considered as bhog or prasad, that is pure and pious, and hence only for this night the meat is considered as pure vegetarian. This is what is call “Niramish Mangsho” or “Bhoger Mangsho.

The recipe of this Proshadi Mangsho can vary a little from house to house when it comes to adding or omitting the potato. However it’s the most simplest preparation of mutton where you just need some green cardamoms, the bay leaves, the mutton and the ghee. To make the jhol or the curry jhol or curry rich a little curd can be added, which also helps to soften the meat. This vegetarian or the Niramish preparation is absolute flavourful and light. Most times being cooked in a terracotta vessel the flavour just stands out. This slow cooked mutton just simply taste divine. 


    1 kg baby goat meat

    6-7 potatoes cut into big chunks

    Salt to taste

    Black salt: 1 tsp

    Curd: 250 g

    Turmeric paste: 2 tsp

    Ginger paste: 1.5 tbsp

    Mustard oil: 1 cup

    Roasted and grounded coriander seed powder: 1.5 tbsp

    Roasted and ground Paanch Phoron powder: ¾ tsp

    Best-quality granular cow ghee: 1 cup adjustable

    Sugar: 1.5 tsp

    Red chilli powder: 2 tsp

    Slit green chillies: 6

    Green cardamoms: 15

    Bay leaves: 4

    Cloves: 15

    Warm water: 1 litre


    Marinate the mutton pieces with tsp salt, turmeric paste and ginger paste and keep for 2 hours. Add the curd and mix well with the meat.

    Heat oil in a Kadhai. add the bay leaves, the green cardamoms and the cloves and let it leave it flavours. 

    Add the meat and cook in high heat for 15 min and lock the flavours.

    Then lower the flame to medium and cook the meat for 1 hour and keep stirring at regular intervals. 

    After an 1 hour, add the cow ghee, potatoes, rest of the spices. Sprinkle 3 tbsp water, so that the spices don’t get burnt. Add the left over marinade. 

    Increase the flame and mix well

    Then add warm water, sugar, green chilies and Paanch Phoron Powder. 

    Continue to cook on a slow heat with lid-covered, till the mat softens. 

    If running short of time you can pressure-cook for 2-3 whistles

    It goes best served it with hot steamed rice