Mangsho Bhuna-Thick and Saucy Bengali Beef Curry

Mangsho bhuna is made the same way a regular beef curry is made, however the meat is cooked mainly in its own juices. If any water is needed to help make the meat tender, it is cooked off in the end.

Mangsho Bhuna-Thick Beef Curry

The base of the curry is made with whole spices, garlic, onions, ginger, and dried spices. Then the meat is added in and cooked low and slow, releasing all of its juices and then being cooked in it.

To start, heat olive oil in a heavy bottom pot on medium heat. Add the whole spices: bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and cardamoms. After a couple of minutes, the spices will infuse into the oil, flavoring it.

Golden brown garlic

Now it’s time to add minced garlic. The flavor of the curry changes depending on whether the garlic gets to brown first or not. Some people even fry garlic separately and add it in at the end to make sure it has a toasted garlic flavor! It’s best to cook the garlic on low heat so it turns perfectly golden brown. If the garlic burns, the entire curry will have an acidic taste and be ruined (I’ve had to restart so many curries because of burnt garlic).

Slow Cooked Onions

As soon as the garlic turns golden brown add in the chopped onions. Mangsho bhuna needs a looot of onions to get the right texture and flavor. For two pounds of beef with bone I used four medium sized onions, chopped very finely. Once the onions are in, salt them, stir them, then turn the heat up to medium low and cover. Cook gently for about an hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so. The onions should completely break down and be golden brown.

Onions and Spices

When the onions reach this stage, it’s time to add the spices. I use turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder. This is also the time to add in a little ginger-either minced or blended. Once it’s in, give it a good mix and let the spices get toasty in the onion and oil mixture until you can see the oil separate.

Add Beef and Mix Well

Now it’s time to add in the meat. I cut and wash my beef beforehand and add it directly to the pot. Mix it well with the onion and spice base, then cover and continue cooking on medium low heat. The beef will release its juices and then cook in them. This part of the process make take several (2-3) hours until the beef is tender. It may also be necessary to add splashes of water if it starts to dry out before the beef reaches the right tenderness.

Garnish Tender Beef Curry with Cilantro

Once the beef is tender, garnish with cilantro. Optionally, if you want it a little more spicy, you can add Thai chilis with a slice down the middle to release the heat. Serve with fluffy white rice and enjoy!


Feeds 4-6

Time: 3-4 hours

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 whole cardamoms
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 4 medium onions, sliced and chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 heaping tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 pounds beef with bone
  • Cilantro to garnish
  • Optional: Thai chilis, sliced down the middle


1. Heat olive oil on medium heat in a pot and add in the whole spices (bay leaves, cinnamon, and cardamoms)

2. Add minced garlic and turn the heat to low. Cook until golden brown

3. Immediately add the onions. Salt and mix well, then cover and cook on low heat until golden brown-about an hour-mixing occasionally

4. Add spices (turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder) and ginger . Mix and toast until oil separates from the mixture

5. Add beef and mix well. Cover and cover on low. The beef will it’s release it’s juices. Continue cooking on low until the beef is tender and the juices are cooked off (2-3 hours). You may need to add splashes of water

6. Garnish with cilantro and—optionally—Thai chilis sliced down the middle. Serve with fluffy white rice and enjoy!

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