Lamb Keema Masala – one pot dish

A lot of time has been spent indoors recently due to the unpredictable weather. There is something rather homely and comforting to be inside a warm house as the rain storm causes havoc outside. We’ve had over two weeks of rain, virtually non stop, so I am guessing that the hosepipe ban for the south of England must surely have been lifted or at least close to being lifted. My garden is so lush and green to the extent that it is looking positively tropical.

So when the rain ceased slightly I made a dash for my local ethnic food stores to gather supplies in order to make some tasty dishes for the coming days. Upon returning home laden with exciting vegetables, spices, meats and fish, I decided to prepare Keema Masala for  supper. Keema Masala is in many respects the Asian version of chilli con carne or bolognese, hence it is very straight forward to make. The word ‘keema’ derives from the ancient Turkish word for minced meat and the ‘masala’ is the blend of spices that make up the dish, namely the garam masala.

I tend to eat mine with flat bread or naan and mop it up this way, but eating it with rice is equally pleasurable. I like to compliment the dish with some homemade raita to help balance the spice from the keema masala. It works a treat.

Lamb Keema Masala

Serves 6

1.5kg minced lamb (or beef)

3 tbs vegetable oil

1 and a half red onions, chopped

5 garlic cloves, chopped

3 fresh green chilli, chopped in two

5cm ginger, grated

6 black peppercorns, whole or ground

6 cloves, whole or ground

5 cardamom pods, whole or ground

3 bays leaves

3 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp ground almonds

2 tbsp tomato puree/or 2 fresh tomatoes chopped

50 ml boiling water

2 tbsp natural yoghurt

handful of fresh coriander to garnish

1. Warm the oil in a pan and then add the onion and garlic. When it begins to darken after 3-5 minutes add the ginger, green chillies black peppercorns, cloves, cardamom and bay leaves and gently fry all the ingredients for another couple of minutes.

2. Add the remaining spices: ground coriander, turmeric and cumin as well as the garam masala and stir thoroughly and then add the ground almonds and tomato puree/fresh tomatoes along with 50 ml of boiling water.

3. Place the minced lamb into the pan and stir into the fragrant ingredients. When the lamb has become brown add the salt and natural yoghurt. You will need to stir it frequently at this stage so that the mince does not clump together.

4. Leave to simmer for 25 minutes. You can cook it earlier in the day and reheat it when you are ready to eat.

Note: You may find you need to add a very little boiling water when reheating it. 

5. When served garnish with fresh coriander.

Homemade Raita

7 tbsp yoghurt

1/2  cucumber, grated

1/4  tsp salt

3/4  tsp ground cumin

pinch of paprika

pinch of black pepper

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl and then place into a small serving bowl.

2. Serve chilled.


Chickpea Curry with Tomatoes, Spinach, Fresh Mint and Coriander

After a full on Monday there is nothing more exhausting than having to cook a long and complicated recipe for supper. So I always try to cook something healthy, tasty and speedy in equal measure. I have always loved the taste of chickpeas and find they compliment so many dishes, but for this dish they feature as the main ingredient. There are so many good chickpea curries I was in a quandary on which to show you first, but settled with this one as it can be prepared and cooked within 15 minutes. Seriously it is so fast you’ll impress even yourself. The fresh mint and coriander, whilst not usually paired together, compliment each other well in this dish as the mint gives a sweet undertone that balances really well with the bold coriander and all the other Indian spices.

I cook this curry using canned chickpeas (shock horror), which will save you having to soak them overnight and boil them for an hour or two. Whilst the curry is perfect to eat on it’s own, if you want to make more of a feast you could cook this delicious salmon curry, which also takes no time at all. I will be eating mine with some wholemeal pitta bread, a dollop of natural yoghurt and squeeze of lemon. Simple and yet satisfying, I hope you agree.

Chickpea Curry with Tomatoes, Spinach, Fresh Mint and Coriander

Serves 2 (as a main meal or up to 4 if having other dishes)

1 tin of drained chickpeas

2 tbsp ghee (or ground nut/mustard oil)

2 green chillies, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

2 large tomatoes, chopped

1 handful chopped fresh mint

1 handful chopped fresh coriander

2 handfuls of fresh spinach

1 tsp salt

50ml boiled water

1. Heat the ghee/oil and when it is nicely hot add the chopped onion, garlic and chillies. After a few  minutes, when the onions are beginning to brown slightly, add the ground turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika (I use this hot paprika one I mentioned in this blog post) and garam masala and stir into the onions, garlic and chillies. Leave to simmer gently for another minute.

2. Add the chopped tomatoes, mint and coriander and again stir into the other ingredients. The smells coming from your pan will be heavenly!

3. After draining the chickpeas add them to the curry and stir in thoroughly. As the curry will seem a little dry at this stage, add the boiled water and stir into the ingredients. Leave to simmer for a few minutes.

4. Add a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach and stir into the curry. Once it is wilted (this will only take a minute) leave the curry to simmer for a couple more minutes. If you think it is still a little dry just add a little more water. Add the salt and stir into the curry before letting it rest for a short while before eating. Equally you can cook it earlier in the day and simply reheat it when you are ready to eat in the evening, although you will have to add a little boiled water when you re-warm it.


A special curry for REAL foodies

I’ve been procrastinating about sharing this blog recipe with you all for some time now as I know that if I mention three certain words I would guess that possibly 80% of you will just reach for your mouse or control pad and head straight out of this blog entry, quicker than you can say…….

CHICKEN

LIVER

CURRY

Ahhhhhh I said it. Is anyone still there?

Anyone?

Anyone?

Phew at least there are still a few of you still curious to find out more.

I think our fear and loathing of liver stems largely from our school days where it was rather unceremoniously dumped on our plates with some watery greens and some white looking mush that vaguely resembled mashed potato. It wasn’t great, I admit – and thats coming from someone who actually liked her school food.

My opinion of liver changed completely when my mother-in-law started cooking chicken liver curry for me. It completely took me by surprise, so much so that I thought that I would try and convert a few of you. A real bonus as well is that chicken livers are so cheap to buy that even if you give this a shot once and you absolutely loathe it (which you won’t) then you are not wasting loads of money. It’s not as if I am asking you to try making lobster thermidor!

Chicken Liver Curry

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

1 large potato, diced

500g chicken livers

1 large onion, chopped

2 inch ginger, grated

2 small fresh red or green chilli (optional), chopped in two

1 large tsp of ground turmeric

1 tsp of ground coriander

1 tsp of ground cumin

1 tsp of salt

5 garlic cloves, kept whole

1 cinnamon stick, broken up

3 cardamom, opened up slightly

1 small tsp of vindaloo curry paste

100 ml water

a few glugs of olive oil

1. Peel and dice a large potato and then fry it gently in some olive oil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the cubes don’t get stuck at the bottom of your saucepan. Make sure that you are using a pan that is deep enough to hold all the ingredients and some water. After 5 minutes spoon out the potatoes and put to one side.

2. Fry the onions in the pan that the potatoes were in. You may need to add a little more oil at this stage.  After 6 minutes the onions should begin to be turning brown. At this stage add the grated ginger (and fresh chillies if you are using them – I tend not to for this curry) and stir into the onions.

3. Add the chicken livers and let them turn a whiter colour. Do not add any further ingredients until they have become paler in appearance, this should not take longer than 10 minutes. If you are cooking with rice, this is the perfect time to start boiling your rice so that the curry and rice are ready around the same time.

4. Now add the ground turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, salt, garlic and the potato to the chicken livers. Stir well, but gently, so that all the spices are mixed up evenly.

5. Add the broken up cinnamon stick, cardamom and vindaloo curry paste. Gently add a little boiling water – I tend to add the water in two stages of 50ml each. You may find that you do not need this much so add a little at a time. It will help soften the potatoes and garlic.

Serve with rice and dal.  I really think you will be pleasantly surprised. Let me know how you get on.