Once in a while (all the time) I crave a super decadent, spicy Indian curry. Restaurant style, with a thick slick of separated oil on top. This amazing Rajasthani Laal Maas made with lamb is a curry I make to satisfy such cravings. And you know what? It's not actually an unhealthy curry! Only 364kcal per serve!
Curries from the North of India tend to be richer, meatier and thicker in nature. Onions, ghee and yoghurt are all used (to excellent effect) in creating luxurious reduced sauces with a tonne of intense flavour and spice. Laal Maas Curry derived from Laal Maans meaning 'Red Mutton' pertains to the meat usually cooked as well as the bright red colour of the sauce. From Rajasthan, this dish is typically served spicy. And by that I mean SPICY!
I always use lamb for my version, because... lamb. I love it. But goat and beef are also options you might want to try. Goat in particular is successful if you cook on the bone as this will only add flavour and texture to the final dish which can't be a bad thing.
Fiery red = lots of chilli
Typically, I'll make my curry hotter than the recipe I've shared with you. Maybe double (if not more) the chilli powder. My Laal Maas recipe is for a moderate hot, but it all depends on the chilli powder you use. For the very best colour, if I were you, I would try to get hold of some Kashmiri Chilli Powder. It has the most amazing red colour of all Indian chilli powders. It's not the hottest of chilli powders usually, so you can add more without suffering.
I would very much suggest sampling the heat of your chilli powder before cooking with it. I have a Kashmiri chilli powder at home that is uncharacteristically HOT - like, insane hot... like fire. So, subsequently I have to remember to use it sparingly. For this recipe I used a teaspoon, I would suggest the equivalent of hot chilli powder or cayenne pepper or 2 teaspoons of regular Kashmiri chilli powder.
A low calorie Laal Maas
Laal Maas curry should have a thick, rich texture - this is achieved by the use of onion, yoghurt and ghee (clarified butter). During cooking, the onion breaks down to create the wonderful texture. Traditionally, the recipe features a lot of ghee - I have eliminated this in favour of a vegetable oil. I also use a low fat yoghurt which offers all the flavour, without the fat! The results are literally HALF the original calories, cooked the traditional way. Fear not, the flavour is not compromised at all - it's still one of the most wonderful curries I cook. And one of the tastiest at cookeatblog.com. If you love a rich, restaurant style Indian curry, you're going to love Laal Maas.
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Using a food processor or stick blender, blend the onion, yoghurt, tomato, garlic, coriander, chilli, turmeric, garam masala and salt until smooth.
Mix together the mixture with the lamb chunks and refrigerate for 1 hour (overnight is even better).
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan until hot. Add the cumin seeds, green and black cardamom pods, cloves and bay leaves and sizzle for 10 seconds before adding the onion. Fry for 4-5 minutes until soft and lightly golden.
Tip in all the lamb and its marinade and stir well for 5-6 minutes. Pour in 2 cups water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to very low, cover and simmer very gently for 1½-2 hours until the lamb is tender. If the sauce is thin, remove the lid for 15 minutes to reduce slightly.