Kingdom of Spice: North India’s Hottest Meat Curries

Kingdom of Spice: North India’s Hottest Meat Curries
Raja mircha from Nagaland, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Salt, fat, acid…but mostly heat

Labanya Maitra
August 21 , 2020
06 Min Read

We heard it once, we’ve heard it a hundred times: there’s no dearth of spicy food in India, and the competition for the spiciest is a torrid affair. We’ve picked two spicy meat curry recipes from northern India to burn your taste buds off. It hurts so good!


The Kashmiri counterpart to spicy meatballs and sauce, rista is usually made with mutton. The meatballs are cooked in a ginger, garlic, tomato an red chilli curry with some added spices. Have it with some hot naan fresh off the tandoor, or a steaming bowl of jeera rice, you really can’t go wrong.

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Rista, one of the dishes of kashmiri #wazwan finely mined lamb meat 🍖 balls cooked to perfection in a red sauce.😋 . #follow #mouj___kasheer #kashmiri #wazwan #kashmir #koshurculture #rista #srinagar #truestory

A post shared by @ mouj___kasheer on Jun 28, 2020 at 3:01am PDT


1 kg boneless mutton from the leg of lamb

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp ginger powder

1 cup meat fat

1 cup moval extract or saffron extract

1 tsp asafoetida (hing) liquid

4 pieces of brown cardamom

3 tsp fennel powder

2 bay leaves

3 cloves

2 pieces of cinnamon stick

1 cup mustard oil



Pound the boneless meat and fat together using a wooden mallet until the mixture is homogenous. Mix in the brown cardamom powder, 1 tsp ginger powder and some salt, and roll the mixture into round balls, about 2-3 inches in diameter.

Heat oil in a large pan and add salt, hing, and red chilli powder with some water. Stir till the colour develops. Add in the rest of the spices with eight additional glasses of water and bring to a boil. The meatballs go into the boiling gravy and cook them gently for an hour. Pour in the moval or saffron extract and simmer for 15 mins. Your rista is ready to eat!


A Rajasthani feast, laal maas is the taste of the state. Mathania chillies, mustard oil and the smoky mutton flavour make it a finger-licking, lip burning festive delight. A favourite of the old Rajput warriors of the desert, it’s no surprise that laal maas was cherished by royalty.

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Laal Maas. A traditional hunters’ dish from Rajasthan, and favoured amongst royalty. The original dish calls for game, slow cooked in a mix of whole spices, ghee, chilli and yogurt. The meat was protected by its marinade and transported from place to place by the traveller. We take kid goat, tenderise it with raw papaya, then the marinade and slow cook on the bone. We then smoke it with coconut charcoal, to give the flavour reminiscent of fireside eating in the Indian desert, only here in Brixton...

A post shared by Kricket (@kricketlondon) on Oct 30, 2019 at 1:57am PDT


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

3-4 pods cardamom

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 cinnamon stick

A pinch of mace

1 pod black cardamom


Handful coriander leaves, chopped


Dry roast the red chillies and add the coriander and cumin seeds, grind into a fine powder. Heat some mustard oil in a large pan, add ginger and garlic. Cook until the garlic changes colour and then add the lamb pieces with some salt. Mix well with the kachri powder and onions. Once the onions are caramelised, add the rest of the spices along with some water, bring to a simmer, and let it cook until the meat is tender. At this point you can strain the gravy of the whole spices, add a little water and coriander leaves and simmer until you reach the desired consistency. Turn off the heat and garnish with fresh coriander.

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