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  • Keema

    YIELD: 4 CUPS / 950 ML
    TOOLS: You’ll need a food processor; 2 small mixing bowls; a spice grinder or mortar and pestle; and a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan.
    VEGANIZE IT! This is so simple to make either vegan or vegetarian. You can substitute 2 (14-ounce / 400-g) packages of extra-firm organic tofu (crumbled), 2 frozen bags of meatless crumbles, or textured vegetable protein. Other ways to make this recipe fun is add spinach, bell pepper, and/or sliced mushrooms. The cooking times remain the same. You can fool the most discerning meat eater. (I even successfully fooled my husband!)

    Minced, spiced lamb is pure comfort food for Punjabis. There’s just something about how the spices come together with the meat and a slight excess of oil. Even those who are watching their weight will splurge a little on this dish. I equate the experience to the New Yorker who just can’t get enough thin-crust pizza, dripping with oil. But don’t worry. You can always pull back on the oil—just don’t tell my hubby I said that!

    • 1 large yellow or red onion, roughly chopped
    • 1 (3-inch / 8-cm) piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
    • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 2–4 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed
    • 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
    • 2 tablespoons hot water
    • 4 green cardamom pods
    • 3 whole cloves
    • 1 teaspoons black peppercorns
    • ¼ cup /60 mL vegetable oil
    • 3 cassia or bay leaves
    • 1 (3-inch / 8-cm) stick cinnamon
    • ½–1 cup /70–130 g frozen peas
    • 1 pound /450 g minced or ground lamb (chicken or turkey works too)
    • 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
    • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
    • ¼ cup /5 g chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
    • Brown or white basmati rice, for serving
    1. In the bowl of a food processor, grind the onion, ginger, garlic, and fresh chiles into a smooth paste. Transfer to a small mixing bowl and set aside.
    2. In another small mixing bowl, combine the tomato paste and hot water. Stir and set aside.
    3. In a mortar and pestle, lightly crush together the cardamom, cloves, and peppercorns. If you don’t like to bite into whole spices, grind these in a spice grinder. Set aside.
    4. In a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan over medium–high heat, warm the oil. Add the cassia leaves and cinnamon and cook, stirring constantly, for 40 seconds, until the spices are slightly browned. Add the cardamom mixture and cook, stirring constantly, for 40 seconds.
    5. Add the onion paste from Step 1 to the sauté pan and cook, stirring constantly to prevent sticking, for 3 minutes, until the mixture is slightly browned. Add the peas and cook for 1 minute.
    6. Add the lamb, the water–tomato paste mixture from Step 2, the Garam Masala, the coriander, the cumin, the salt, the red chile powder, and the turmeric to the sauté pan. This dish is all about comfort for North Indians, so I always like to drizzle in another 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil at this point.
    7. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the lamb is cooked through and the oil pulls away from the other ingredients. Remove and discard the whole spices. Remove from the heat.
    8. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with the cilantro and serve over the brown or white basmati rice.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

© 2016 Alta Editions LLC.