Cooking

Slowly

Junglee/Jungli Maas. Pairs well with blanched asparagus. Well, in my humble opinion.

Junglee/Jungli Maas. Pairs well with blanched asparagus. Well, in my humble opinion.

I have been wanting to make Junglee Maas for the longest time since I saw it in Rick Stein’s documentary on Indian curries. Among all the curry dishes he featured, this had the simplest of ingredients needed: meat, ghee, water, chilies and salt–just a combination like no other.

I just followed the method done in that clip. But first I had to make sure the meat would be made tender. I had bought the leg part of the lamb but apparently, as I found out online afterwards (of course I did not do enough prior research, as usual), the shoulder part’s more ideal for lamb stew dishes. No worries, though–the best guarantee at this point was in the marinade. I cut up the leg parts into manageable portions and marinated everything in lemons, water, salt and two spices. I actually just invented the rest marinade up after squeezing out all juice possible from two lemons then tossing in their cut rinds as well. I’m just glad they did the job and enhanced the flavor of the meat afterwards.

It was a busy Sunday at the end of a boring-thrilling busy week. Slow cooking on a Sunday just puts me under the right spell. I was in the mood to do some house work while letting the meat marinate. It was already February and we hadn’t hauled the Christmas decorations back to the attic, and that’s what I did. Christmas tree and all.

I wanted to cook this dish on a special occasion. Well, February was definitely a month-long special occasion I’m celebrating my birthday.

What I did so far (last weekend): go down the crater of a volcano. What I’m looking forward to in the coming weeks: climbing twelve peaks of a mountain and watching The National live for the second time.

What I looked forward to today: getting Junglee Maas right. I’ve never tasted this dish, nor anything remotely similar when I was in Rajasthan last year (which was a bit bothersome to me). I only had an imagined taste of it while watching the documentary over and over. More than the simple ingredients needed and the long, focused method involved in making it, I was in love with the semantics and historical origins of Junglee Maas, or jungle meat.

Do watch the clip. Or even better, watch the whole documentary series.

I did get the same taste as I always imagined. Warm, buttery and tender mutton. Hint of acid in every bite with gentle waves of chili coming ashore. The feel of eating Junglee Maas. I thought asparagus had the best flavor to counter the richness. It was my first time to blanch a vegetable as well, but it was easy. I watched my sister Nayna do it before. I learn from the best.

I liked it, the family liked it. Cookingwise and otherwise, I think I’m on a roll this month 🙂

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