After a rich, decadent dessert, it’s time for Laal Maas (Red Hot Lamb Curry) which is a fiery hot red meat curry, that not only is spicy but also finger-licking good. When I say finger-licking good, what I mean is, you put down your spoon and fork and get going with the fingers. The lamb (I have used goat meat here) is cooked in a red hot gravy and the dish is typically very hot and rich in flavors, but takes a very little time to prepare. That’s the best way to enjoy this Laal Maas dish.
Laal Maas is from Rajasthan – an ethnic and regal state of India. I visited Jaipur, Rajasthan some good 10 years ago and was taken by its rich culture and imposing forts and palaces. Everyone who knows me they know that I have a thing for anything that’s old, crumbling, untouched (read: No Upgrades) and decadent. So no wonder, the memories from that trip is still so fresh in my mind. The only regret I have is, I didn’t explore the food scene that much. Why? One, too busy shopping Second, Wasn’t into cooking that much back then. But I did come back with a lot of traditional jewelry, sarees and scarves.
Coming back to the Laal Maas, the method and the quantity of garlic used in this dish makes it so very different than other meat curries. The raw garlic added after the cooking is done, entirely transforms this dish and imparts this unique flavor. Although, the recipe calls for red chili powder, but you could adjust, depending upon how hot you want your curry to be and then replace the hot red chili powder with Kashmiri chili powder, which is not that hot but gives the curry a very vibrant deep red color.
Rajput cuisine traditionally uses a lot of garam masala and chillies because it’s almost always accompanied by alcohol.
Just to clear out a few myths about the Laal Maas –
- It does not have to be made with only boar/deer meat (though traditionally this dish used to be prepared with deer or boar meat for the hunters). You can use whatever meat you prefer even chicken.
- It does not have to be extremely spicy. Please adjust the level of spiciness as your taste buds allow. And if your dish doesn’t turn out to be that red, don’t worry.
- It is not a redder version of Rogan Josh. It is drier and richer.
All you need is some buttery naan/roti to dunk into this spicy hot curry.
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- 2 green chillies, finely chopped
- 18-20 red chillies
- 2 tsp coriander seeds, whole
- 1 tsp jeera or cumin seeds
- 1 cup mustard oil
- 10 cloves garlic, finely chopped.
- A small piece of ginger, finely chopped
- 1/2 kg lamb, cut into pieces with bones
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- 3-4 pods cardamom
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 cinnamon stick
- A little bit of mace
- 1 pod black cardamom
- Dry roast the red chillies, coriander seeds and cumin seeds for 2 to 3 minutes on a low flame. Grind it into a coarse powder.
- Heat some mustard oil in a pan. Add to this the garlic and ginger.
- Once the garlic turns slightly brown add the lamb pieces and salt.
- Now add the kachri powder. Not only does this powder tenderize the meat, its also adds a nice tangy flavor to it.
- Now add the chopped onions and cook until the onions soften. Add the whole spices, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, mace, black cardamom, red chilly powder and let it roast for about a minute.
- Cover it and let the meat simmer for a while and when you reach a good consistency of gravy, turn off the heat.
- Serve hot.
NOTE: This copper dish was given to me by my co-worker- Melissa Crowley. It belonged to her grandmother and is tentatively close to 100 years old. Yes, there are people like her in this world who has no ulterior motives behind giving.