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Mutton chops in black pepper gravy (Mamsam chops)

Another fabulous recipe from my growing love for spicy Andhra cuisine. This cuisine is complex, spicy and packed with strong flavours, it is food that will make you sweat, make your lips burn with chilli and your palate become alive with the complex flavours. The dishes are well balanced between heavy meats and elegant vegetables and the use of traditional millet and other healthy grains.

This is a lovely spicy dish. The use of pepper is almost overwhelming and the punch is immediate. The meat is super tender and falling off the bone. But the secret is in the heat from the pepper and chillies. These lamb chops are addictive so make sure you have enough for all your guests to dig in.

Archana Pidathala is an ode to her grandmother's cooking. This book is so much more than a collection of recipes, it brings to my table a history of the cuisine and people. Wonderfully written and with beautiful photographs, this cookbook fills a gap in my bookshelf in a cuisine that I know very little about.

For more delicious, and spicy, dishes from this cookbook, click here.


1 lb mutton or lamb chops

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

8 cups water

For the spice paste:

1 tablespoon ginger paste

10-12 garlic cloves

2-4 green chillies, or to taste

2-4 dried red chillies, or to taste

1/2 cup water

For the curry:

2 tablespoons oil

3 cloves

1-inch piece of cinnamon stick

4 green cardamom pods

10-12 cashew nuts + 6 cashew nuts for garnish

1 onion, finely diced

1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds

11/2 tablespoon pepper

Add the chops to the water with the turmeric and salt and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 75 minutes. Scoop off the scum that rises to the top and discard it. After cooking the chops are fall off the bone tender and the water should be very little. Keep both the cooking stock and meat.

Make the spice paste by adding all the ingredients to a small blender and puréeing till the paste is very smooth. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a pot on low heat. Add the whole spices, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom and fry for 30 seconds. Add the cashew nuts and fry for 20 seconds toss the cashew nuts so they fry on all sides. Add the onion and sauté till the onions are lightly golden.

Add the coriander and pepper and toss well. Add the spice paste and cook till the paste is aromatic and the oils begin to pool on the sides again. The paste will turn a shade darker to a dark gold.

Add any remaining stock from the meat and cook till the curry starts to get thick. Add the meat and cook to a consistency that you desire. I personally like this curry very thick with the spice mix clinging to the meat heavily, but you can also leave sit thinner if preferred.

Serve hot garnished with cashew nuts.

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