A Rustic Spicy Delicacy of Yore
- ½ kg Mutton On Bone (Small Cuts)
- 100 ml Mustard Oil
- 2 tbsp Ginger/Garlic Paste
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 6 Cloves
- 1, 1” Cinnamon
- 1 Pod Fat Cardamom (Shell Cracked)
- 3 Medium Onions, Thinly Sliced
- 8 Kashmiri Whole Red Chillies (Soaked in Warm Water for 10 Minutes)
- 6 Guntur Whole Red Chillies (Or Any Other ‘Hot’ Chilli Variety) (Soaked in Warm Water for 10 Minutes)
- (You May Use Less of the Latter Chilli for A Milder Flavour. Or, More for Extra Heat! J)
- 1 Tsp Salt, or to Taste
- 200 gm Thick Yogurt, Beaten Smooth
- 4 Fat Cloves of Garlic, Finely Chopped
Wash and pat dry the mutton pieces. Smear the mutton with ginger/garlic paste, set aside for 30 minutes. Heat the mustard oil in a heavy bottom pan until it smokes. Put off the flame.
In the meantime, using a blender, make a paste of the two red chillies together, not necessarily smooth. You may need to add a spoon or two of water and a few drops of vegetable oil for a better result.
Remove a tablespoon of oil and reserve for the tempering later on. Switch the gas back on and wait till oil in the pan is hot again. Throw in the bay leaf, cinnamon, black cardamom and the cloves, and sauté them on medium flame. Once they crackle, add the sliced onion, and sauté them on medium-low flame until lightly browned about 7-8 minutes.
Now tip in the mutton, and increase flame to high. Fry the mutton pieces well, stirring and turning them over often, until mutton is well browned and firm in texture. Keep alternating the flame between medium and high, along with sprinkling a few drops of water intermittently to prevent contents from burning and sticking to the bottom. The process should take about 5-7 minutes.
Stir in the red chilli paste and the salt to the simmering mutton. Mix everything well and let the spices cook along with the mutton for a couple minutes, until the oil separates.
Switch flame to low, and start adding the beaten curd into the simmering mixture, in spaced batches. Keep stirring vigorously so the yoghurt will not curdle or split. Increase flame to mid-hi, and bring mixture to a boil.
Once boiling, lower flame to mid and let yoghurt to cook as well while stirring it often. When most of the moisture has evaporated and the gravy thickens, add a cup (250 ml) of water to the simmering contents, and bring it to a boil again. Place a fitting lid on the pan, switch flame to the lowest, and let the dish simmer away for an hour or so.
Remove lid and check for doneness of the meat. Allow more time to cook covered, if desired tenderness has not been achieved. Add a couple spoonfuls of water if required, and mix well before replacing lid.
Once the mutton is cooked fully, it’s time to give it the “lasooni tadka” (tempering with garlic). For this, heat the reserved oil in a small frying pan and sauté the chopped garlic in it, until golden brown. Put the fried garlic along with the hot oil in the centre of the pan with meat in it. Nicely fold in from the sides to enable the tempering to infuse and incorporate well with the whole dish.
Re-cover with the lid, switch off the flame. Let the pan stand for 5 minutes before serving the Laal Maas with steamed rice or ‘Bajre ki roti’. BON APPETITE!