The cuisine of Rajasthan remained largely lesser known in the rest of country until different food franchises with the Dhani suffix attached to their name, carried the staple food from the state to different parts of the country and served them in a quintessential traditional setting complete with folk dances, puppet shows and more. So, while dal-baati, churma, gate ki sabzi and bajre ki roti have become largely synonymous with the idea of Rajasthan, the state’s cuisine has many other culinary secrets that pack a punch of flavours potent enough to blow your mind. One such delicacy in Rajasthani food is Junglee Maas.
Junglee Maas – Rajasthani Food with Just Five Ingredients
The mention of Junglee Maas certainly reminds one of another popular mutton delicacy from the state – Lal Maas. Curiously, Junglee Maas is the perfect antithesis to Lal Maas at least as far as the complexity of the two preparations is concerned. While Lal Maas is known for its elaborate use of ingredients and process of cooking that is credited for its rich depth of flavours, Junglee Maas subverts that equation by delivering a toothsome fare with as few as five ingredients – ghee, mutton, salt, whole red chillies and garlic cloves.
The History of Junglee Maas
The exact origins of Junglee Maas aren’t easy to trace. Popular folklore attributes this Rajasthani food delicacy to the Maharajas, who cooked their post-hunt meals on campfire using the meat of animals killed during shikaar outings in the wild. The Maharaja of Alwar is widely credited with adapting this traditional Rajasthani food recipe to its present form, making it fit to be cooked and consumed in households. Another theory links the Junglee Maas to the tribals living in the forest of Rajasthan, indicating that the humble ingredients of the dish are a hallmark of the tribal way of life where people put together whatever meats and ingredients they could find to create a curry-based meal.
Irrespective of which of these theories one chooses to believe, the bottom line is that Junglee Maas is a quintessential camping meal that was traditionally cooked over a campfire out in the wild, utilising the game killed on the day’s hunt.
Junglee Maas – Flavour-rich Reflection of Rajasthani Food
Despite its humble ingredients, Junglee Maas is an incredible flavour-rich preparation that truly reflects the richness of Rajasthani food. The dish derives its flavours not so much from the ingredients as from its cooking style. Authentic Junglee Mass is always prepared in ghee, and the secret to its intricate depth of flavours comes from slow cooking chunks of mutton in pure ghee. If there is one cardinal rule for cooking this dish, it is that the meat chunks should be immersed in ghee throughout the course of its preparation. After the meat has been roasted in ghee for a few minutes, you add in the garlic cloves, chillies and salt, separating the addition of each ingredient by a few minutes to aid its flavours to percolate through the meat chunks. Water is added in small quantities to help tenderise the meat. It is crucial to regulate the quantity of water added and cover the dish each time, allowing it to simmer, to get that deep rich flavour.
And when you, finally, dig into this surprisingly sumptuous delicacy with bajre ki roti be prepared to transcend into a parallel universe of bliss.