This is another popular Indian recipe. Minced meat is cooked in a spiced and fragrant sauce along with the fresh green peas.
Summer holidays are here! I have been waiting for what seems like months for this time of no rush, no alarm clocks, packing lunch boxes and all the other schedules.
The first few days are always a little strange. I wake up early before the alarm, and the half asleep brain is already processing the schedule of the regular school day. I stretch and force my eyes open wondering why the alarm has not gone off yet… then the best thing happens. It is like this beautiful surprise gift every single time! I realize that there is no school. And that means I do not have to pull myself out of the bed in the odd hours of the morning and I am allowed to lie down a little bit longer. With a big smile, I duck under the sheets and try to go back to sleep.
dunk some rustic bread in the spiced sauce… there will be no regrets….
The mornings are slow and it feels unusual especially after the crazy few weeks before the last day of school – recitals, performances, tests and parties all crammed in those few weeks; the times when my left arm is not aware of what the right arm is doing. The times when I drive in a daze and make mental notes of to do list for one whole week and then worry that I will miss something important.
Like a lot of other recipes, this is cooked in many parts of India but with differences. While the minced meat, and peas are kept together, the spices and even the process of cooking varies from one region to another and also from one home to another. The kind of meat used is a personal choice. And the potatoes are optional. Whatever way it is made, the meat, the fresh peas and the spices make a hearty combination.
Anyway, the holidays have begun and I want think that all the mad rush have been left behind now for at least this year. I am just happy that we have two and a half months to relax, regain and store all that we need for another school year. That also means that the kids are another year older. Time is flying by so quick and I wish the children would not grow up as fast.
The blissful age where the children live in fantasy is to be closely treasured. And I will utilize every moment of it. It is going to be the time of all their favorite food being cooked, books being read and may be some naps. The naps maybe my wishful thinking. We will see about that…
Keema, Matar, Aloo: Minced Meat with Peas and Potatoes
Ingredients: ( serves 3-4 as side)
- 1 lb minced meat (any kind you want to use; I have used chicken)
- 4 tablespoon oil
- 2 cloves
- 2 green cardamom
- 1 big black cardamom
- 1.5 inch cinnamon stick
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin powder*
- a few grinds of black pepper
- 1.5 teaspoons coriander powder*
- 1 medium potato, peeled and cubed (you may use more or less)
- 1 + 1/4 cup onion, chopped in small pieces
- 1 cup shelled or frozen green peas
- 2 tablespoon chili garlic paste (use the chili powder in the paste to your taste)
- 1.5 inch fresh ginger + 2 green chili pepper, made into a paste/pounded smooth in mortar and pestle
- 1.5 cups tomato – fresh, grated (or 1/4 cup tomato paste + 1/2 cup water combined, or 1/2 – 3/4 cup canned tomato puree)
- salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon of dried mint or some fresh mint leaves or fresh cilantro/coriander
- lemon juice
- * very lightly toast the coriander and the cumin seeds separately in skillet. You may heat a cast iron skillet and place the seeds on them and switch off the heat. Remove pan from heat and toss the seeds quickly. The moment they start releasing the aroma, remove from pan and cool before grinding. Do not wait for the seeds to turn brown in the pan.
- the cooking time will depend on the kind of meat you have. Chicken cooks the fastest. Adjust cooking time as per your need.
- adjust amount of chili pepper and fresh hot pepper to taste.
Coat potatoes with 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and a sprinkle of salt. Coat a pan with oil and cook the potatoes until they start to brown and they are half cooked. Remove from pan and set aside.
Heat the rest of the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Pound the cardamoms, cinnamon and clove to partially break them. Add to the oil; when they sizzle add the onions. Fry the onions for a few minutes until they turn light brown and start to caramelize.
While the onions are cooking, combine the tomatoes with the chili garlic paste, ginger and green hot pepper paste, and set aside.
Now add the minced meat to the pan, and the freshly ground pepper and cook to seal in the flavors. Cook quickly while stirring frequently and breaking down the lumps. Once the meat starts to brown and release the fat, add the tomato, ginger, garlic mix to the pan. Give it a good toss and now add the turmeric, salt, cumin and coriander powder.
Keep stirring and cooking as the meat cook and braise with the spices. You will see everything combine and amalgamate well. After about 3-5 minutes, lower the heat and cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
Uncover and see if the spices have “fried” and the entire mix has started to release/separate from the oil. Now add the partially cooked potatoes and the peas. Give it a good toss and stir for a couple of minutes; add about a 3/4 cup water and cover again and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through. (if you need more sauce, add more water). Adjust the cooking time to the kind of meat you are using.
Uncover and check to see if the meat is cooked through. Adjust salt. Switch off the heat. Garnish with mint or cilantro and more hot green peppers if you wish. Cover until ready to serve.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes (to be adjusted)
Serves: 3-4 as side
Difficulty Level: Easy – Intermediate
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