Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Pnatha'r Bangla - Mutton with Onions and Coriander


Pnatha'r Bangla is a very simple mutton preparation, the recipe for which I found in the book Thakur Bari'r Ranna by Purnima Debi (from the Tagore family).  This little cookbook is a part of nearly every Bengali cooking enthusiast's collection and with good reason. It's a little treasure box of recipes ranging from snacks, pickles and chutneys, daals and of course dishes for the main courses. The recipes don't give quantities or proportions for the ingredients therefore this book is ideal for a more experienced cook, and not for beginners. 

Bengalis have a special fondness for mutton or pnatha (goat meat) and it is cooked on most weekends and festive occasions are incomplete without it. And it is this love that has resulted in numerous recipes, some elaborate and some really simple like this one. I have no idea what the name of this preparation signifies, why it is called pnatha'r bangla, but it is definitely one of the lightest and most delicious mutton curries I have ever made. Here's the recipe as I made it.

Pnatha'r Bangla 

500gms mutton, curry pieces with some bones

3 medium onions

Fresh coriander, 1 cup tightly packed

2-3 fresh green chillies (optional)

2 inch piece ginger, smashed into paste

1/2 cup curd

1 onion sliced

2-3 potatoes cut into chunks

1 tsp chilli powder

3/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp roasted jeera powder




Wash the meat pieces lightly and drain. 

Make a paste of the three onions, and then make a paste of the fresh coriander leaves. Add green chillies if you like - this is not part of the original recipe. 

In a pressure cooker heat a couple of tablespoons of ghee and add the chilli powder and turmeric. Let it fry for half a minute and add the ginger paste. Fry for a couple of minutes stirring well so the ginger doesn't burn and then add the onion paste. Add the curd after whipping it to make it smooth. Mix well and fry for a few minutes and then add the coriander paste. Add salt and a little sugar, mix well and cook for a few minutes. 

Now add the meat pieces and stir well to coat with the pastes. Add the sliced onion into the pot. Cook for a while till the onions turn pink and the meat is seared nicely.  Add the potatoes and enough water, mix everything and then shut the pressure cooker. 

Lower the heat after the first whistle and cook on simmer for 20 minutes. Switch off and let the cooker cool on its own and the pressure release. 

Open the cooker and sprinkle the roasted jeera powder over the curry. Be sure to check the salt and adjust if required. 

Serve the Pnatha'r Bangla with plain hot rice.