mutton · Nepalese cusine

Subho Bijoya with Nepalese Bhutwa

Subho Bijoya and Happy Dusshera. This post has been long over due and I am seriously late, given that Lakkhi Pujo is over too. This is very un-bengali of me. My grandfather ( maternal ) use to say that any one wishing Bijoya after Lakkhi pujo is late and would not get any of the bijoya sweets and goodies. If he were alive today , I don’t think he would spare me. An how coming back; Pujo this year was better that the last two given my in-laws are in town and unlike my horrific experience in the Philadelphia pujo, the group here in Sacramento does it really well. I was pleasantly surprised that there are two groups performing pujo here, so that means two weekends of sari, jewelry and food. The only time when the Bengali’s here in the US would be in their Sunday best.


With all the limitations and time constraint, Sacramento does a pretty neat Durga Pujo. I am impressed.The thing is even though last 10 years, i have lived out of India and especially, Kolkata when it comes to Pujo, It is home and Kolkata that is all I can think about during pujo. The hole city plunges into a carnival, festive mode. The glittering lights, the exquisite pandals and beautiful Protima ( statues of the Goddess). It is a feeling that can only be experienced and missed by those who grew up in the city.  In the last decade or so that I have been away from home, I satisfy my self by reading on the internet, ogling at  images for hours together and lamenting at my fate, if only I could be there. Every year it has been the same old story for the last so many years. It is difficult but one learns to live with it. Another pujo gone, another year of celebration missed. sigh..

Moving on, however, some things never change like Mutton curry and puffed luchis ( deep fried puffed flat bread) on Dashami ( Dusshera) and thankfully so. This year we did the same except I was tired of eating the same old mutton curry, with the same old spices and curry. We thought of trying something new and that is when I came across Atul Sikand’s Nepalese Bhutwa. Trust me, it is a keeper.  Bhutwas is aclassic Nepali dish, simply spiced but at the same time very flavourful. In Atul’s own words ” Bhutwa is essentially mutton. It is a semi dry preparation. It is actually laga Lipta ( sticky and well coated) with a whole lot of mustard oil. So do not let the oil scare you because that is where all the flavour comes from.”


I mean we all have the same seared mutton on slow heat year after year, but there is something unique about this dish. The mix of spice the delicate balance between all the ingredients. I simply fell in love with the dish. The ingredients used aren’t all that many and it is so well infused that the finished product is just beautiful. So here goes.

Atul Sikand’s Nepalese Bhutwa:

The recipe is from his blog Sikandalous Cuisine


This video comes from the chef directly 🙂


This recipe works ONLY with mustard oil !
  • 1 Kg Mutton  ( preperably from the rear leg and rump)
  • 1 Small Onion  (Chopped finely)
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Ginger Paste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Methi Seeds ( fenugreek seeds)
  • 1 Teaspoon Ajwain Seeds ( Carom seeds)
  • 3 Tablespoons Dhania Powder ( Coriander Powder )
  • 1 Teaspoon Red Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Timur  ( ground to a  paste If you can get hold of this superb herb ) { I used Schezwan Peppercorns}
  • Salt
  • Mustard Oil- 160 ml

For Tempering :

  • 2 Black Cardamons
  • A Stick Of Cinnamon
  • A Bay Leaf
  • 8-10 Black Pepper Corn


Start by smoking the Smoke the mustard oil in a heavy bottom pan. i used a dutch oven but you can use a deep wok/ kadhai. Next add the whole spice  and temper them. Once,  they crackle throw in the methi seeds ( they will get dark in a few seconds ) and immediately the ajwain . Again immediately add the onions .  Saute the onions till they loose their colour and begin to turn brownish, almost dark brown add the mutton and salt . The salt will seal the meat and the juices within !
Sear or as they say in Hindi ‘Bhuno’ ( wok fry ) the mutton on a medium high flame for 15-20 mins ( this depends on the quality of meat. Mine took about 20 mins )  till it changes color and gets a bit dark ,Sear  well by scraping the bottom and evenly cooking the mutton . Next add about 100 ml of water and cook covered over medium heat till the mutton is 90 % done. ( this takes another 25-30 mins. To be on the safe side I left it on medium heat for about 35 mins and it was perfectly done,
Meanwhile mix the garlic , ginger and dhania powder in enough water to make a flowing paste . Tilt the wok to a side to get the oil to one side into which you pour the paste . Cook in this position a minute or two till paste is nearly cooked . This is a very important step because this adds a whole new dimension to the dish. Do not use any other method otherwise you won’t get the taste. Blend the paste back into the mutton , add the red chilli powder and timur ( if you are using or in my case Schezwan pepper ) cook covered over low heat for another 10 minutes or so till the oil separates .
This is a dry mutton dish , superb tasting .
Goes best with parathas
Also do not fret if you do not have timur. The dish tastes equally good without it.


One thought on “Subho Bijoya with Nepalese Bhutwa

  1. must try out soon.. 🙂 BTW– was in Kathmandu last week, and one mutton dish warrants special mention–‘Khasi ko leba deba’- prominent on the menu of a 5 star resort– it was a simple mangsho’r jhol, but the name struck me as a winner… 🙂

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