Rajasthani-style Laal Mas with Kashmiri chilli

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This traditional Rajasthani curry from Sumayya makes a great alternative to a standard Madras curry. Here Sumayya uses mutton, but other meats such as lamb and game could be used.

First published in 2015

Madras curry by its name is not really found in the Indian subcontinent, it found its name in the UK, but the style of curry is said to originate from the South of India, and its main characteristics are a fiery hot, red chilli base, with the sweetness of coconut or the sourness of tamarind added to counter balance the intensity of the red chilli. Other spices and seasonings used are black cardamom, turmeric, paprika, curry leaves, lime, vinegar or lemon. The idea behind this style is the balance of the taste sensations of sweet, salty, sour and savoury. Made mainly with vegetables (as this is a Hindu style of cooking), it can also be translated into red meats and poultry.

If you like madras-style curries, here is an option to experiment with, a Rajastani-style curry called laal maas, which translates as ‘red mutton’. Traditionally made with game meat, the intense heat was added to mask the strong gamey taste. This is a recipe that was popular in aristocratic kitchens, due to its rich ingredient list.

I have used Kashmiri chilli for colour and fragrance and red chilli powder for the heat, you can of course vary the amount to suit your personal taste. You could make your own Kashmiri chilli paste by soaking 7–8 dried Kashmiri chillies in hot water for 40 minutes then blitzing to a paste. This can be used instead of the chilli powder.

Nowadays more popularly made with mutton rather than game, it is red, garlicky, with a thick sauce and definitely not one for the faint hearted!




Rajasthani-style Laal Mas with Kashmiri chilli


In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil until hot, then turn the heat down to low. Add the cloves, black cardamom and bay leaf and let them 'pop'. Add the onions and cook until lightly browned
Add the mutton and stir-fry until sealed. Add the ginger and grated garlic and fry for 2–3 minutes, keep the heat low as it can be easy to burn these
Next add the Kashmiri chilli powder, red chilli powder and turmeric and stir-fry for about 20 minutes (the mutton should be nicely browned)
Keeping the heat low, stir in the yoghurt and salt and cook uncovered for 2–3 minutes until combined. Add in the reserved chopped garlic and water, then cover the pan with a lid and cook for another 40–45 minutes, or until the mutton is cooked through
Let the curry rest for 2 hours with the lid on before serving to allow the flavours to meld together. Reheat to serve and serve hot with rice or naan, garnished with some freshly chopped coriander
First published in 2015

Sumayya Usmani is a cookbook author, writer and cookery teacher who specialises in Pakistani cuisine.

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