Laal Maas – The food of the Rajput Hunters

With its origins being traced back to the 10th Century, Laal Maas is an integral dish in Rajasthan’s traditional Mewari cuisine. It is believed that back in the day, this dish, which literally translates as red meat, was cooked solely in clarified butter for the lack of availability of vegetables and water in the desert. Today, it has evolved into the spicy and tangy goat meat gravy as we know it.  Despite the prominence that the dish has gained in Mewari cuisine now, it was originally not cooked within the Rajput homes. Instead, it was reserved for the illustrious Rajput heroes on hunting trips!

This traditional Rajasthani dish can be made as hot as you like and it gets its red color from chilies. If you want the color but not all the heat, the trick is to use only half the amount of red chilies and substitute the other half with Kashmiri Chilies which impart a red color but next to no heat! Lal Maas is served best with Makka Roti.

Ingredients:

  1. 500 Gms lamb cut into 2″ cubes with or without bones
  2. 7-8 whole dry red chilies and 4 Kashmiri chilies
  3. 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  4. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  5. 1 tbsp garlic paste
  6. 1 cup unsweetened yogurt
  7. 4 tbsp cooking oil
  8. 4 medium sized onions sliced very thin
  9. Salt to taste
  10. 1 tsp garam Masala powder
  11. 3-4 tbsp finely chopped green coriander

Preparation:

  • Soak the red chilies/ Kashmiri chilies and coriander seeds in a bowl of water so they are just covered. After 10 minutes of soaking, drain them and put into the food processor. Add the turmeric powder and garlic paste. Add just a few table spoons of water, a little at a time to grind this mixture into a smooth paste.
  • Mix this paste with the yogurt and then add the meat to it. Mix well. Keep aside to marinate for 1 hour.
  • Heat the cooking oil in a deep pan on medium heat. Add the onions and fry till golden brown. Stir often to prevent burning. Remove the onions from the oil with a slotted spoon and put on paper towels to soak up excess oil. Keep a little aside to garnish the dish and put the rest into the blender or food processor. Grind to a smooth paste.
  • Heat the oil that was left over from frying the onions, again. Add this onion paste to it and fry for 1-2 minutes. Now add the meat and its marinade. Fry till the oil begins to separate from the Masala. Stir often and sprinkle a little water whenever the Masala begins to stick to the pan or burn. Season with salt to taste.
  • When the meat is cooked and tender, remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle the garam Masala over it. Cover immediately and keep aside for 2-3 minutes. Open the cover and garnish with previously fried onions and chopped fresh coriander leaves. Serve hot with Makka Roti.

 

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