Laal Maas

This wonderfully fiery mutton dish is favourite in our household. It gets its name from the wonderfully Kashmiri red chillies that are generously used in the preparation. I picked up the recipe a few years ago from distant family and have stuck by it. It has never let me down. As most of my recipes go even this one was learnt in kitchens from the real cooks our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and other Annapurnas. The final recipe is a result of different tips given to me during each Laal Maas lesson by different teachers. I then made them a portion each and got myself graded to ensure I had learnt what had been taught to me. The process seems a little tedious at first but it’s fairly simple in reality, moreover the result is phenomenal. Im sharing the recipe below for about 4 servings. You can adjust as per your requirements.

Ingredients

  1. 10 Kashmiri dry red chillies , soaked in water for at least 20 minutes
  2. 500 grams Mutton , cut into curry pieces. (not too big)
  3. ½ cup Curd/ Yogurt
  4. 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds (Jeera)
  5. 2 teaspoons Cumin powder (Jeera)
  6. 2 teaspoons Coriander Powder (Dhania)
  7. ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder (Haldi)
  8. 2 tablespoons Ginger Garlic Paste
  9. Ghee, as required
  10. 2 Brown cardamom (Badi Elaichi)
  11. 3 Cardamom (Elaichi) Pods/Seeds
  12. 1 inch Cinnamon Stick (Dalchini)
  13. 3 Cloves (Laung)
  14. 1 Bay leaf (tej patta)
  15. 3 Onions , finely chopped
  16. ½ teaspoon Garam Masala
  17. Salt , to taste
  18. Coriander (Dhania) Leaves , Few sprigs, chopped for garnish

We can also add a lovely smoky flavour to the dish by smoking it with some charcoal and ghee. You will need 3-4 small pieces of charcoal for this and a steel katori.

Method

  1. In a heavy bottomed pan take the soaked Kashmiri red chillies and all the dry spices including cumin seeds, black cardamoms, green cardamoms, cinnamon stick, cloves, bay leaf and some water. Let it boil thoroughly and switch off the heat once the dry Kashmiri red chillies have become soft.
  2. Set these masalas aside to cool, make sure to retain the water. Once cooled grind the spices into a fine paste in a food processor/ mixer grinder.
  3. In a large bowl marinate the mutton with the yogurt, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, one tablespoon ginger garlic paste and the dry red chilli paste.
  4. Mix everything well and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour to marinate well.
  5. Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the onions and sauté till they turn light brown in colour.
  6. Add the remaining ginger garlic paste and sauté for a minute.
  7. Now add the marinated mutton to the onions and sauté on high heat for a few minutes.
  8. Add the required salt and water (which we retained from boiling the dry red chillies) into the pan.
  9. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 20 to 25 minutes. You can add more water if you want watery consistency.
  10. Once the mutton is tender and ready and you see oil rise to the surface, light the piece of charcoal and blow at it to check if its cindering, place it in a small metal katori and place the bowl in the centre of the pan taking care it rests stably without support.
  11. Place a few cloves on the cindering coal and pour some ghee over this. Quickly cover the pan with a lid and set aside off the heat for a few minutes so that the meat gets a fine smoky aroma.
  12. Remove the charcoal bowl, and put the curry back on the heat, add some garam masala and give a quick stir and take it off the heat again.
  13. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish it with a few coriander leaves and some deep fried Kashmiri red chillies.
  14. You can serve Rajasthani Laal Maas with hot Phulkas, steamed rice or Baati.
When you see the oil rise to surface you gravy has cooked. Now check if your meat is also cooked tender enough. This is when you can smoke the curry and serve immediately.

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