The Land of Princes as Rajasthan is known is renowned for an amazing array of Indian dishes on offer. The landscape and climate of this region has a huge influence on the availability of ingredients. Also dishes that will last several days without the need to reheat are ideal for the climate in the region. Some of the favourites include Gatta ki Sabji a vegetarian gram flour spiced dish and Achari Chicken cooked in the typical pickling spices to yield preservation.
Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Jodhpur are some of the regions in the state that have their unique take on cooking. Marwari food is a personal favourite. I have eaten home cooked thalis as well as restaurant variations while I lived in India. Adapting to what is locally available without compromising on the flavours in their food; using souring agents like mango powder in place of tomatoes and even asafoetida to replicate the flavours of onions and garlic. Mathania chillies are widely used in Rajasthani curries and grown locally in Jodhpur. They lend a lovely heat and colour to curries. For my recipe for Rajasthani Laal Maas I have swapped them for Kashmiri dried red chillies instead. Any mild dried chilli works well too. Most Rajasthani curries that have a bright crimson red colour aren’t always as spicy or hot as you might think.
Laal Maas is a slow cooked hunter style lamb dish with rustic flavours, chilli heat, cooked in whole spices. Kashmiri chillies are akin to the mathania variety in the sense that they lend a lovely colour, mild heat and also add depth to you curry. Serve this lamb curry warm with chapattis or rice and some cooling raita and salad on the side.
In a bowl mix all the yoghurt marinade ingredients and add the lamb pieces to it. Set aside for half an hour or even overnight. Deseed & soak the Kashmiri dried chillies in 200mls warm water. Blitz half the red chillies with the garlic to a coarse paste using a little of the soaking liquid. Blitz the remaining chillies separately to a coarse paste and set aside to add at the end. Save any remaining soaking liquid for later to add to the curry.
In a heavy based wide sauce pan heat the oil, add the green cardamom, bay leaves and cloves. Fry for 30 seconds on medium heat as they begin to sizzle & infuse the oil. Add the onions and sauté for 5-7 minutes until they start to change colour to a light brown.
Add the chilli garlic coarse paste and stir through cooking well for 2 minutes. Tip in all the marinated lamb along with the marinade. Stir fry for 10-15 minutes as the meat pieces start to brown and soak in the flavour of the chilli gravy. Pour in water along with any remaining chilli soaking liquid.
Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low & gently simmer for 50 minutes to an hour until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. Stir the curry half way through the cooking process and add a splash of water if required. The gravy should reduce & have a thick consistency. Season to taste and add the chilli paste. Mix well & simmer for a further 5 minutes. Garnish with coriander and lemon juice. Serve with your choice of bread or rice.