India is the land of spices, and do we know how to use them! India is known for churning out some of the spiciest delicacies the world has seen – be it the southern Chettinad, chicken 65, Goan vindaloo or the fieriest of all- Lal Maas. Literally translated to 'Red Meat', Lal Maas is a must try for anyone who loves all things spicy. And if you are someone who instantly get dizzy after having a bite of anything spicy, steer away from this Rajasthani dish, that literally is red in colour, thanks to oodles of red chillies.  

The dish goes back to the kitchen of the Mewars of Rajasthan where the Khansamas invented it with Junglee Maas. As per various sources, in that era every King had had at least 10 khansamas and their job was to experiment and serve new food to the king every day. Quite up to the challenge, the khansamas would also go on the wild hunting sprees with the king to feed the entourage. During this time, the meat would be sent to the temporary kitchen with just one strict rule- No foul smell of the blood, feathers and raw meat from the hunt should be there in the dish or at the feeding station, which was just a few metres away from the kitchen.

Later on, to follow the rule, khansamas started to marinate the meat that included wild boars, deer, etc., with garlic, chillies and yogurt. It was then roasted and served, that is how Junglee Maas originated. A predecessor of Lal Maas. 

 

The process of roasting with same ingredients became monotonous for the king and he instructed to create a dish that had succulent meat, was hot and had a sweet aftertaste. Since the first few innovations had the foul odour, khansamas soon realised that it could be evaded with a generous use of chillies. Thus, Lal Maas was invented with meat pieces douses in a paste of chillies and slow cooked to perfection.  

What makes lal maas unique is the use of special variety of red chillies known as Mathania, which lends it a bold red colour. It gets its name from the place it is grown in – Mathania village in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. The chillies generally have sugar in them, which is released when you slow-cook them for a long time. This is why lal maas has a subtle sweet after taste.  

While it might take us a while to get the taste of royalty in our lal maas preparations across restaurants today, we can try to be as authentic as possible at home. We’ve got a stellar lal maas recipe right here which you can try.  

Find the full recipe of lal maas here. Try it at home and share your experience with us.