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Chittagong-style mutton curry (Chotto-er mejbani mangsho)

Bangladeshi cuisine is defined by complex spice mixes and bold and spicy flavors. It is quite similar to Indian cuisine, more like the distinct cuisine of Bengal, but with an extra pop of flavor and some very distinct spice mixes and blends. This dish highlights the cuisine of a nation and a culture.

This is a rich and bold curry. This dish is slow cooked, with all ground spices, the spices come together through the slow cooking process (no pressure cooker please), and merge into an amazing flavor. While I was cooking this curry, the house was filled with this amazing aroma, but the time the curry had finished cooking, everyone could not wait to dig in, this is the sign of a great dish.

The spices explode on your palate and the wonderful onion gravy is loaded with flavors. The color is a beautiful deep red from all the chilies, this also means that it is a spicy curry. The magic to this dish is the special Bangladeshi garam masala, please do not try and substitute the Indian garam masala, you will miss out of the authentic flavors that are so perfect. You can serve it with a naan bread or rice.

This curry is originally made with beef, but as beef is not available in India, I used mutton instead. If you prefer, you can also substitute chicken.

This is a wonderful cookbook on Bangladesh cuisine, filled with authentic recipes. The cuisine is very similar to Indian cuisine, but the dishes do have their specific nuances and flavors. I have just begun to cook from here and learn about the flavors, and you will see me cook from this book again, soon. I recommend this cookbook fro those who want to experiment with and learn from this cuisine.

For more recipes from this beautiful cookbook, click here.


3/4 kg mutton, with bone

3/4 kg mutton chops

2 tablespoons poppy seeds, lightly roasted

1 tablespoon mustard seeds, lightly roasted

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon oil

3 onions, chunked

2 tablespoons mustard oil

2 tablespoons ginger paste

6-7 garlic loves, minced

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon paprika or mild chili powder

2 tablespoons ground coriander seeds

1 tablespoon ground cumin seeds

Salt, to taste

4 cups water

4 green chilies, slit longitudinally

For the Bangladeshi garam masala:

3 dried Kashmiri chilies

1/2-inch cinnamon stick

3 green cardamom pods

1 black cardamom pod

1 blade mace

4 cloves

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

8 black peppercorns

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Make the Bangladeshi garam masala by dry roasting each spice, except the nutmeg powder, on a pan individually till lightly colored and aromatic. Cool and grind to a fine powder in a coffee mill or spice grinder. Set aside.

Heat a frying pan and fry the sliced onions in the tablespoon of oil till browned, you are making a traditional birista. Set aside to cool.

Dry roast the mustard seeds and poppy seeds. Cool and grind to a dine powder in a coffee mill or spice grinder. Set aside.

In a blender combine the fried onions, raw onions, and poppyseed-mustard seed powder, and grind into a fine paste with water as needed. Make sure the paste is smooth.

In a large pot, large enough for the complete dish, add the meat, spice paste, and all the other ingredients except for the green chilies and the garam masala. Bring to a boil and simmer for 90 minutes. Stir the pot occasionally to make sure that the spices and meat are not sticking to the bottom and burning. Add more water as needed.

After 90 minutes, test the meat, they should be fork tender. Taste and adjust for salt. Add the green chilies and garam masala and mix in well. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Taste again and adjust the spices and salt. The curry should be spicy and bold.

Serve the curry hot in a bowl with either a thick bread like naan, or ice.

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