Turi ka saalan

Turai or Turi in Hindi/Urdu, Ridge gourd in English, Beerakaya in Telugu, is one of my favourite vegetables in the gourd family. In Andhra Pradesh, this Turai ka saalan curry is popularly known as Beerakaya kura. Turai has a sweet taste and can be prepared in many ways from cooking with dal to cooking with mutton or even prawns. Always buy ridge gourd which are young and not aged or ripened, otherwise it will be fibrous and not good to eat. When Turai is cooked, it gives out a sweet flavour in the taste and it also reduces a lot in quantity as it made of lot of water. Turai ka saalan can be prepared in a semi-dry form (with very little gravy) or in the form of a curry, both with the same ingredients.

Use a good and suitable utensil to make this curry as it requires a lot of stirring to give a good taste. This will take time and needs to be cooked on a medium to low flame. It will give a very good taste to the ridge gourd curry.

Preparation time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 55 mins

Cuisine: Andhra Pradesh

Spiciness: Medium

Serves: 3

Ingredients

  • Turai (sliced) – 550 gms or 2 (medium)
  • Oil – 6 tbsp
  • Onion (chopped) – 265 gms
  • Tomatoes (chopped) – 250 gms or 2 (large)
  • Chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Water – 1 cup or 250 ml
  • Whole spices

  • Cloves – 5 to 6
  • Green cardamom – 5
  • Cinnamon stick (2 inch piece) – 1

Method

  • Wash the ridge gourd and slightly peel the skin at the ridges as shown.
  • Cut into thin slices and keep aside.
  • Add oil in a cooking vessel and when hot add the whole spices. Stir for about 10 seconds.
  • Add onions and cook for about 8 to 10 mins until soft, transparent and light golden in colour.
  • Add ginger and garlic paste. Saute for about 2 mins.
  • Add tomatoes, turmeric powder and chilli powder.
  • Mix well and saute for about 8 to 10 mins on medium to low flame with the lid closed. A few tablespoons of water can be added to avoid burning. Keep stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add 1/2 cup of water and cook for about 8 mins on a medium flame.
  • Turn the flame to low and cook further for another 10 mins with the lid closed until all the water has been absorbed. We have a basic onion and tomato curry base when the oil starts to separate.
  • Add ridge gourd and 1/2 cup of water. Cook for about 20 mins on a medium flame with the lid closed until the ridge gourd is cooked well and becomes soft.
  • Stir occasionally and if needed, water can be added as per the required consistency/taste.
  • Simmer the flame for about 10 to 12 mins with the lid closed until you get the consistency you desire. Oil starts to separate from the curry and is an indication that the curry is done.
  • This time I wanted my curry to be semi-dry, so I roasted for a while on a low flame.
  • Serve with chapathi, roti, naan or plain rice.

Notes

  • In this recipe, you can add sliced onions instead of chopped onions.
  • If you are using a pressure cooker, first saute the onions with the whole spices, then add all the other ingredients at the same time and cook for 3 whistles on a medium flame. Open the lid after all the pressure is released. Simmer until you get the consistency you like and the oil starts to separate. It will be quick and easy.
  • The gravy consistency can be of your liking. If you want the curry not to be semi-dry, then add water as per requirement and cook to the consistency you require.
  • If you want the gravy to be more dry, then you can cook for some more time on medium heat until the liquid is absorbed. You need to do how you do for bhuna and keep stirring. Then you can call this as Ridge gourd masala rather than a curry.
  • I always roast the dry spice powders in oil to get the reddish colour for the gravy.
  • You can reduce the chilli powder and add coriander powder and garam masala. It will give a slightly different taste.
  • Sometimes I do not add water when adding ridge gourd to the onion and tomato base as ridge gourd is full of water and when cooked on low flame with the lid closed it leaves a lot of water and shrinks. This method takes a little bit more time to cook. Don't forget to keep stirring to avoid the curry from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Refer to my other recipes with ridge gourd.

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