Hyderabadi Maheqalya

Maheqalya, is an classic Hyderabadi meat curry with onions, tomatoes, and tamarind and a range of aromatic spices.

Hyderabadi Maheqalya – Tangy Meat Curry


Lamb Meat – 500 gms, cubed-1.5 cm or sliced, boneless or with bone
Yellow Onions – 3, large, sliced thick
Tomatoes – 2, roughly chopped
Dry Desiccated Coconut – 1/2 cup
Dry roasted Coriander seed powder – 1 tsp
Dry roasted Groundnut powder – 3 tbsp
Dry roasted Sesame seeds – 3 tbsp
Canola Oil – 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Curry leaves (fresh) – 1 sprig
Dried red clillies/Baghaar ki mirch – 3-4
Methi/Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Tamarind juice – 1 cup
Slit green chillies – 4
Cilantro/Kothmir – 1 tbsp, chopped finely
Mint leaves/Pudina – 1 tbsp, chopped finely

Hyderabadi Maheqalya – Tangy Meat Curry


  • Prepare browned onion+tomato paste: Take a large thick bottomed & non-stick frying pan/skillet on medium heat, preferably a cast iron pan, and as soon as it gets warm, add the sliced onions. Keep stirring the onions and cook them without oil until the onions are all browned soft and get cooked in their own moisture evenly. Remove the pan from heat, and let them cool down. Add the chopped tomatoes and the cooled browned onions into a blender container or food processor and blend till pureed smooth adding just a few drops of water if necessary to aid in the process. Keep aside.
  • Prepare masala powders: Put a small non-stick frying pan on medium heat and dry-roast the groundnuts, sesame seeds, coriander seeds, shredded coconut each individually without oil till they are golden brown in colour. Do not burn them. Remove them into a platter. Once cool, grind them all together very finely. (You can dry roast a handful of almonds/cashewnuts/chironji nuts and grind them together along if you want it more rich). Make sure the obtained spice powder is very fine.
  • Take a pressure cooker and add oil and keep it on medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add cumin seeds, dried red chillies, and fenugreek seeds to the oil and let them splutter. Now add the browned onion and tomato paste to it and cover the lid immediately, shake the cooker to mix, remove from heat and keep aside for 3-5 minutes, so that the aroma of the tempered oil with spices gets absorbed by the onion mixture. Remove the lid, put the cooker back on stove, lower the heat to medium low and add the ginger-garlic paste, the masala powders, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric powder and stir it well. Cook stirring continuously until oil leaves. This masala tends to stick to the bottom, so keep a close eye. Add the washed cubed meat pieces, slit green chillies and mix well. Cover with a splatter screen and let it cook while stirring it for 3- 5 minutes. Pour in half a cup of water, stir to mix, and close the lid. Pressure cook it on medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the meat is tender. Then open the lid and cook it till the oil has seperated out from the mixture and starts appearing on the surface. Add the tamarind paste and give it a stir. Add about 2-3 cups water till you get the consistency you desire. Simmer and let it cook on medium high for about 3-5 more minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro and mint leaves. Serve warm.

Suggested Accompaniments: Basmati Chawal or Parathas.


7 thoughts on “Hyderabadi Maheqalya

  1. God bless you Mona! I am a North Indian girl who married a Hyderabadi food fanatic. Your website has saved me soooo many times. I can’t thank you enough and look forward to trying all of your recipes. I made this for my husband last night. He took one bite and said that it was better than the Mahekhalya he had in Hyderabad so many years ago! Thank you so much for helping my family and so many families across the globe!

  2. Salaam Mona,

    Thanks for the great recipe. Earlier, i used to buy this from a nearby hyderabadi restaurant. But when i saw your recipe made so simple. I had a try and to my surprise i turned to be more delicious than the restaurant. You didnt mention when to use the curry leaves in the course, to be used either in bagar or after that.

  3. I want to make this tomorrow, can I use dried fenugreek from the store? Also, I usually have dry roasted coconut paste, cashew paste, and sesame paste (tahini) in my fridge…can I use these?

    Naaz, Dried fenugreek leaves are not used in the recipe. Instead fenugreek seeds (methi) are used. And you can absolutely use the pastes you are talking about.

  4. Assalamu-alaikum Mona,
    Just wanted to say I made your recipe today for visiting family and everyone loved it. In fact, I hardly have any leftovers! 🙁
    I love your traditional hyderabadi recipes…and they are as authentic as can be and here’s the proof. My aunt was visiting us from India today(she is a true hyderabadi cook) and when another family member asked at the table what the salan was after tasting it, my aunt replied it was mahkhaleya before I could even get a word in 🙂
    Just goes on to show it gets my aunt’s approval as well 🙂
    JZK for being so selfless and posting such nice recipes.

    WaAlaikumAsSalaam Nabeela, Jazakallahu Khair for the lovely comment, you made my day!

  5. I always keep coming back to this site for the mahekhalya recipe :). I know if I ring up my mother or even my aunt to ask for the recipe the umpteenth time they’ll think I’ve gone mad.

    So, thanks for putting this up!

    (Mahekhalya it is tomorrow).

    Is this the first Ramadhan in Canada? Hope it’s going well for you.

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