If you are looking for a traditional yet exciting curry for your dinner, then might I suggest a lamb curry? Beerakaya mamsam is one such traditional curry that we have here in Tamil Nadu. Here is the recipe to make mamsam.

It is an age old tradition to have mutton curry during marriages as it is believed to give strength and good health to the couple, and to keep away evil spirits and evil eye. The mutton curry is made up of lamb, red chili and onion, and other vegetables like potato, carrot, brinjal and beans. Beerakaya mamsam is made up of lamb, mutton and vegetables and it is cooked in mutton gravy.

A simple, yet satisfying dish, this curry can be enjoyed with a variety of vegetables, depending on the season. I enjoy it with Cauliflower and the less common Vegetable of the season (karela). In this recipe, I have used the vegetable of the season, Karela, and sometimes after a couple of days the karela does not look so beautiful. But, don’t worry, I am here to help you in your search of perfect karela.

Ridge gourd and lamb curry is called as Beerakaya Mamsam (ridge gourd and lamb curry) in Andhra Pradesh, and it is one of my favorite vegetable and lamb/mutton combinations. This meal is known as Turai ka saalan in our house, and the combination of lamb/mutton and Turai (ridge gourd) is delicious. When Turai (Beerakaya or Turai) is cooked, it takes on a sweet flavor and decreases in size (much like spinach leaves). I like to cook my meat using a mix of ribs, lamb/mutton chops, and marrow bones, which give my curries a unique flavor, or boneless meat. It may be served with chapathi, naan, or plain rice.

Time to prepare: 15 minutes

Time to cook: 45 minutes

Andhra Pradesh cuisine

Spiciness: Very spicy

Serves: 3

Ingredients

    • 500 gms mutton (with or without bones)
    • 2 turai (sliced)
    • 4 tbsp. oil
    • 1 (large) or 3/4 cup chopped onion
    • 1 tbsp. chopped tomatoes (big)
    • 2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
    • 2 tbsp coriander powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger and garlic paste
    • a pinch of salt (to taste)
    • 3/4 cup water

spices in their natural state

  • Cloves — 4 cloves
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 1 cinnamon stick (2 inch length)

Method

  • Wash the ridge guard and gently peel the ridge part’s skin as indicated in the photo, then cut it into small pieces and set it aside.
  • In a pressure cooker, heat the oil, then add all of the whole spices, stir for 4 seconds, then add the onion and cook until light golden.
  • Suate for 2 minutes after adding the ginger garlic paste.
  • Stir in the turmeric, chili powder, and coriander powder, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat (can add few tablespoons of water, to avoid burning).
  • Cook until the tomatoes are tender.
  • Add the lamb/mutton, stir well, and simmer for 3–4 minutes before adding the water.
  • Close the cover of the pressure cooker and cook for 3 whistles or until the meat is cooked according to your cooker’s instructions. Allow time for it to relax.
  • The lamb curry is done when the cover is lifted.
  • Shut the cover and cook until two whistles sound, or close the lid slightly and cook until the ridge guard is cooked thoroughly on medium heat by closing the lid.
  • The lamb/mutton and ridge guard curry is done at this point; if there is additional liquid, simmer for a little longer until the curry thickens.
  • Stir in between and cover the pan to keep it warm for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • I wanted my curry to be semi-dry this time, but you may cook it to your liking.
  • Serve with simple rice, chapathi, roti, or naan.

Notes

  • My aunt prepares it in a unique way. She cooks both the mutton and the turai with the same spices, splitting them evenly or more, and then combining them together and boiling them for a bit. If water is needed, add a little amount and cook.
  • You may cook it in a vessel, as indicated in the image, if you like. If your cooker isn’t large enough to cook both the turai (beerakaya) and the lamb curry, move the lamb/mutton curry to a larger vessel after the meat is done, then add the turai (beerakaya) and simmer on medium heat. In between, stir. When it’s done, let it to boil for 10 minutes before turning it off.
  • The gravy’s consistency is entirely up to you. If you want a more dry gravy, simmer it for a few minutes longer on medium heat until the liquid has been absorbed.
  • If you don’t have a cooker, follow the instructions for ridge gourd and prawn curry in a vessel.
  • If the meat is cooked in a regular pot rather than a cooker, additional water may be required.
  • I usually use oil to toast the dry spice powders. Only then does gravy take on a crimson hue.
  • You may adjust the amount of chilli powder to your preference.
  • We may add potatoes, palak (spinach), peas, and drumsticks to lamb/mutton in the same way as mutton and Turai are cooked.