One of the most exciting parts of exploring incredible India is sampling the delicious food! Nowhere is that truer, in our opinion, than the bold and aromatic cuisine of Rajasthan, and Lal Maans (‘red meat’) is a must-try dish for any meat-eater visiting the region.
To recreate the taste at home, here we share an authentic recipe from Jodhpur:
Ingredients – serves 2 (double up for 4)
· 1 lb of mutton cut into 1-inch pieces
· 1/2 cup of cooking oil or ghee
· 2 red onions finely chopped
· ¼ cup of natural full-fat yoghurt
· 2 cloves of garlic, crushed to a paste
· 1 1-inch piece of ginger, crushed to a paste
· 1 1-inch cinnamon stick
· 1 bay leaf
· 3 peppercorns
· 3 cloves
· ½ tsp of cumin seeds
· 3 cardamom pods
· 2 – 4 tsp of red chilli powder (adjust to your taste)
· 1 tsp of salt (or adjust to your taste)
· 1/4 cup of coriander leaves to garnish (optional)
· 1 tsp of garam masala to garnish (optional)
1. To begin preparing your authentic Lal Maans, put the oil/ghee into a deep saucepan on a medium flame and when it heats up, add the cinnamon, bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, cumin seeds and cardamom pods.
2. After a couple of stirs to infuse the oil, and when the cumin begins to crackle, add the onion and cook until it softens and browns at the edges. Then mix in the ginger and garlic paste and stir for a minutes or so until the raw smell goes away.
3. Add the mutton and stir for about ten minutes on a medium flame until it starts to cook. Keep the pot covered during this process but open to stir every couple of minutes to avoid the meat sticking to the pan.
4. Meanwhile, mix the red chilli powder and salt into the yoghurt and stir until you have a smooth consistency. Add a little water to loosen it up into a sauce; say two or three teaspoons.
5. When the mutton is almost cooked, add the yoghurt-spice mixture and stir briskly to avoid curdling*. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer on a low flame. Periodically open to stir and, if you feel the sauce is drier than you’d like, feel free to add hot water at your discretion.
6. After ten to fifteen minutes, you should find the oil separating to the top of the pan which indicates that the sauce is cooked through.
7. Optionally, stir through a teaspoon of garam masala powder after having switched off the flame and leave covered to infuse for five minutes. Remove as many of the whole spices as you can before serving (like the cardamom and bay leaf).
8. Garnish your Lal Maans with coriander leaves (optional) and serve with rice or chapati.
*To avoid curdling, our tip is to add half a teaspoon of chickpea flour to the yoghurt mixture. It’s not in the original recipe but it prevents my yoghurt-based sauces from curdling and you can’t taste it.
a) Some variations of the Lal Maans dish add chopped tomato and additional spices like coriander powder and turmeric powder. However, we’re told those are not in the original version but instead are modern takes on the dish. You might like to play with the spices to your taste;
b) to a western palette, this certainly sounds like a lot of spice and oil! We encourage you to tweak the quantities to best suit your taste. Let this recipe serve as inspiration, and have fun putting your own twist on the dish!
If you’d like to experience the real taste of India while exploring Rajasthan on a bespoke, private tour, please do get in touch. As specialists in tailor-made trips through this very region, we’re the perfect match to assist with your arrangements. Meanwhile, to whet your whistle we recommend checking out of 15 Favourite Restaurants in Rajasthan, Top 3 Restaurants You Must Try in Delhi, and 9 Scrumptious Street Foods in Rajasthan. You may also be interested in a private cooking class whilst in Rajasthan, and more of our off-beat experiences in India’s Golden Triangle.0