My Grandma's Shorshe Mangsho (Meat Curry With Mustard Paste)
- 2 pounds (1 kilogram) goat or lamb or beef, cut in small pieces, bone-in or boneless
- 1 cup yogurt, plain
- 1/2 pound (150 grams) onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons garlic, paste
- 4 teaspoons ginger, paste
- 1/4 cup onion, paste
- 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
- 4 teaspoons tumeric, paste or powder
- 3 dry chillis, whole
- 3 bay leaves, whole
- 1 cinnamon, whole
- 4 cloves, whole
- 3 cardamom, whole
- 2 teaspoons garam masala, powder
- 2 tablespoons mustard, powder
- 4 teaspoons parika, powder
- 1/2 cup mustard oil
- salt, to taste
- Beat yogurt in a bowl. Place cut meat into yogurt. Stir and let meat marinate for 2 to 3 hours in a refrigerator.
- After your meat has marinated, heat half of the mustard oil and add all of the sliced onions. Fry the onions till they are golden.
- Reduce the heat and add the marinaded meat. Stir-fry the meat until it starts turning golden brown.
- Transfer meat to a pressure cooker. Add a cup of hot water, and salt to taste. Pressure-cook meat until it is tender. Usually it takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
- In a separate wok, heat the rest of the mustard oil and add whole chilies, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.
- Add the onion paste to the mustard oil and fry until golden brown.
- Add ginger and garlic paste to the mustard oil mixture and stir for another minute.
- Add paprika and turmeric paste to your mixture. If you are using powdered paprika and turmeric, add some warm water to the powder and let it soak for 5 minutes before adding to the oil. Cook until the oil separates.
- Add diced tomatoes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add meat and cook until the oil separates.
- Add 1/3 cup of warm water to the mustard powder and stir. Cover and soak for 5 minutes before adding to the meat.
- Sprinkle in the garam masala and pour the mustard paste on the meat. Stir a few times before turning off the flame. Do not cook mustard for too long, or it will taste bitter.
- Serve with rice or bread.
About the Ingredients
Mustard is a staple in Bengali Cuisine. Besides using mustard seed and paste in cooking, mustard oil is also used extensively in frying and sautéing. It adds a pungent flavor to food, has a high smoking point (254°C/°489 F), and has a low polyunsaturated fatty acid content of 20%.
That’s lower than many other vegetable oils, like soybean or corn, which are up to 60% PUFAs—but not quite as low as olive oil, butter, ghee, or coconut oil, which are less than 10% PUFA.
Goat meat is the most popular red meat among the non-beef-eating Hindu community in East India. Although my Grandma chose goat meat for this recipe, lamb or beef works equally well. Goat meat, especially from a castrated (Khasi) goat, is a delicacy. It is savory and less sweet than lamb or beef, but it is can be more gamey depending on how it is raised and the age of the animal.
The best meat comes from younger goats that are 6–9 months old. Goat meat is leaner than beef or lamb and requires low-heat and slow cooking to preserve tenderness.
About My Grandma and the Recipe
My grandma is a very creative cook and has many signature dishes of her own. I am privileged to share 2 of her unique creations in my 2-part series on her cooking.
Last year, when I visited her home in Kolkata (or Calcutta), my special request to her was to make 2 of her personal recipes for me and let me take pictures so I could record them and share them with you here. She happily agreed and even cooked an extra dish. First she made a mixed vegetables with caraway seeds dish, then she made the recipe you just read, goat curry with mustard paste, that I am sharing now.
Meat Curries in India
There are many different meat curries that people make across India. The curries in India have their unique flavors because of the kind of oil and spice combination used to cook them. Different regions of India use different oil and spices to cook their dishes. My grandma's creation highlights the spices used mostly in the East Indian state of Bengal where Kolkata is the capital.