In this take from the South India on a Plate series, we take a look at how to make a beef stew with ash gourd. The recipe is straightforward and easy to follow.

For all of you out there that are not that familiar with South Indian cuisine, an ash gourd or winter melon as it is also known, is native to South and South-East Asia. In this recipe we use it to cook a delicious beef stew., it’s a mooooohst have :).

Ingredients for making Beef stew with ash gourd:

-Beef: 3/4kg
-Ash gourd: 1kg
-Olive oil: 2 tablespoons
-Ghee: 3 teaspoons
-Coconut milk: 1,5 cups
-Onion: 2 pieces
-Garlic: 1 pod
-Green chilies: 4
-Turmeric: 1 tablespoon
-Cumin seeds: 1 tablespoon
-Peppercorns: 1 tablespoon
-Cloves: a few
-Cardamom seeds: a few
-Whole cinnamon: a small piece
-Coriander powder: 1 tablespoon
-Cinnamon powder: 1 tablespoon
-Fresh coriander: 2 tablespoons
-Cheese

Cooking process:

You can take a look at this handy YouTube video I created. It was my third one and the quality is slowly improving, I’ll get there, I’ll get there.

And for those of you who prefer it in writing:

Beef stew with ash gourd recipe:

Preparation:

1.) Cut the onion into big slices

2.) For garlic, use complete kernels. Just crush and peel them.

3.) Take one onion worth of slices and half a garlic nod, 3 green chilies, turmeric, cumin seeds, peppercorns, coriander powder, cinnamon powder. Add two tablespoons of water to this mix and grind it, using a mixer. Keep this aside, you’ll use it later on when cooking.

4.) Cut the beef into smaller pieces and get rid of excess fat.

5.) Cut the ash gourd into smaller pieces (do yourself a favor and check the video for size).

6.) Crush the cardamom seeds and break the cinnamon into smaller pieces.

Cooking:

1.) Add olive oil and ghee to the pot and heat it up.

2.) Add 1 onion worth of slices, half a garlic nod of kernels, 1 green chili, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Fry for about 3 minutes on medium heat.

3.) Add the beef pieces and saute for about 3 minutes.

4.) Add the masala and coconut milk and cook for about 2 minutes.

5.) Add the ash gourd.

6.) Cook for about an hour, until beef is nice and tender.

7.) Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle fresh coriander and pieces of cheese.

8.) Enjoy, it’s a mooooohst have!

A word on the origins of the Beef stew with ash gourd recipe:

Recently I’ve relocated to a small village near Mangalore, a coastal city on the border between Karnataka and Kerala states in South India. The city is well renowned in India for its cuisine, so what better place than this to learn how to cook some regional specialties and of course share the knowledge with the world :).

While the majority of Hindus does not eat beef, some other communities like Muslims and Christians do. This recipe comes from the Mangalorean Catholic population. In Konkani, the language also spoken in Mangalore, it is called Beef Pullow – a spin on the more traditional Mutton Pullow.

All the cooking is done by my father in law, Eddie and Savitri, the household cook. I just hold the camera and try to learn while I film the process :).

While the basics of the recipe are traditional to the region, there are some twists here and there, like the inclusion of cheese and olive oil, which are clearly not native to these lands. I have intentionally not asked them to make any changes to their usual preparation. The reason for that is simple – their kitchen is just superb, so who am I to butt in and ask them to keep it strictly traditional?

The other reason for various fusions in my father in-law’s recipes is that he has spent many a years abroad, travelling, running restaurants in Qatar and the like. He’s a food buff and he takes what he likes and makes it his own. It also goes to show how customs and traditions are a in motion, continuous and ever changing.

Check the other recipes from the South India on a Plate series.

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