Thali Menu #156 – Rajasthani Thali
Khamma Ghani! Padharo mhare desh!
Come, let us take you on a wondrous culinary journey to Rajasthan, which literally means ‘Land of Kings’ – a state in North-Western India that brings to mind images of valour, imposing landscapes, folk music and dance, royalties, stunning attire, vivid colours and of course its unique cuisine, one fit for kings! Amongst the most popular states on the destination tourism in India, Rajasthan is full of ancient history, art and culture with that royal enigma.
Rajasthani cuisine was influenced by both the war-like lifestyles of its inhabitants and the availability of ingredients in this arid region. Food that could last for several days and could be eaten without heating was preferred. Scarcity of water and fresh green vegetables have all had their effect on the cooking.
Rajasthani cuisine is also influenced by the Rajputs, who are predominantly non-vegetarians. Their diet consisted of game meat and dishes like Laal Maas (meat in red gravy), Safed Maas (meat in white gravy), Khad Khargosh (rabbit cooked in underground pit) and Jungli Maas (game meat cooked with basic ingredients).
There is a lot more to this glorious cuisine than the well known dishes like Daal-Baati Choorma, Laal Maas and Ghatte Ki Sabji. We present in this weekend’s menu a mix of the known and also some unique dishes from the Royal Kitchens of Rajasthan that have been lost in time. So, come join us this weekend and enjoy the Rajasthani thali at Daana.
Recipe of the week
Laal maas - a fiery Rajasthani meat curry with freshly roasted spices and a burst of red chillies
- 2 Small onions (finely chopped)
- 2 green chillies (finely chopped)
- 18-20 red chillies
- 2 tsp coriander seeds (whole)
- 1 tsp jeera
- 1 cup mustard oil
- 10 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 piece small ginger (finely chopped)
- 1/2 kg lamb (cut into pieces with bones)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup kachri powder (Kachri is a dried vegetable, a variety of cucumbers found in Rajasthan and ground into a powder, small. You will find this in an Indian grocery store.)
- 3-4 pods cardamom
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 cinnamon stick
- A pinch of mace
- 1 pod black cardamom
- Handful coriander leaves (chopped)
1.Dry roast the red chillies to give it a nice distinctive aroma which adds great flavor to the dish.
- 2.Add to that the coriander seeds and cumin seeds.
- 3.Once done, grind it into a nice fine powder.
- 4.Heat some mustard oil in a pan. Add to this the garlic and ginger.
- 5.Once the garlic turns slightly brown add the lamb pieces.
- 6.Give it a good mix. This is also a good time to add salt.
- 7.Now add the kachri powder. Not only does this powder tenderize the meat, its also adds a nice tangy flavor to it.
- 8.Now add the chopped onions and mix all well.
- 9.Once the onions have roasted well add the whole spices, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, mace, black cardamom. Stir well.
- 10.Now add the red chilly powder and let it roast for about a minute.
- 11.Add enough water to cook the lamb. Cover it and let it simmer for a couple of minutes till the meat is cooked.
- 12.Once the meat is cooked, take out all the pieces on a platter and strain the gravy.
- 13.Straining the gravy gets rid of all the whole spices and keeps the essence and flavors intact.
- 14.Now add the lamb pieces you had taken out to the refined gravy and put it back on fire but on low heat.
- 15.Add about 1/2 cup water and some coriander leaves.
- 16.Let it simmer for a while and when you reach a good consistency of gravy, turn off the heat.
- 17.Serve hot with a good garnishing of chopped coriander leaves.
Serve with Rice or Roti