Sunday, 12 February 2012

Keema (Indian Ground Meat Curry)


Today, we will prepare a traditional Indian curry. I’ve always wanted to cook Indian recipes but thought they might be out of reach for my limited cooking skills. Then, I bought the “Curry Party”-book (written by Jody Vassallo) and found out that her explanations were so simple that even I could muster the delicate blend of spices necessary for such an exotic (yet exciting) enterprise.

I’ve prepared many curries ever since, and the Keema is amongst the easiest. You need quite a lot of spices and herbs, and you should heed the exact required quantities. In the beginning, I was a bit too enthusiastic and often added the spices without measuring them. But now that I follow the recipe meticulously, the result turns out much rounder, more complete, more accomplished.

What you need: 
  • Some olive oil 
  • 2 red onions 
  • 1 spoonful of fresh ginger 
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  • 1 or 2 small green chilis (or half a big green chili; they have to be very spicy) 
  • 1 cinnamon stick 
  • 3-4 cloves 
  • 750 g of ground lamb (or ground beef) 
  • 1 ½ spoonfuls of coriander seeds 
  • ½ spoonful of ground cumin 
  • ½ spoonful of ground turmeric 
  • 2 potatoes 
  • 200 g of crushed tomatoes (you can use canned crushed tomatoes, of course) 
  • 200 g of plain yogurt 
  • 155 g of peas (fresh or frozen, not canned; I bought frozen peas with carrots to add an extra-flavour and some extra-colour to the dish) 
  • 2 spoonfuls of fresh coriander leaves 
  • Rice 
  • (PS: measurements for tablespoons) 
How to proceed: 
  • Peel the potatoes, cut them into small cubes. 
  • Grate the fresh ginger. 
  • Grind the coriander seeds. 
  • Chop the onions. 
  • Chop the garlic and the green chilis (don’t lick your fingers right after this step, don’t rub your eyes, don’t touch any remotely delicate part of your body!! Just a friendly warning from someone who wanted to taste if his chili was spicy enough – it was, and my tongue aflame!). 
  • Prepare all the spices so that they’re easy to grab. 
  • Heat some olive oil (or any other vegetable oil) in a pan or a wok. 
  • Fry your onions for 5-10 minutes until they’re golden-brown. 
  • Add the garlic, chili, ginger, your cinnamon stick and your cloves. 
  • Stir-fry for another 3 minutes; most spices develop their flavour much better when heated for a while. 
  • Add the ground lamb at high heat. If you can’t find ground lamb, you can use ground beef. To my regret, I had to because I couldn’t find ground lamb in the supermarket and wasn’t sure my food processor could really grind the lamb the way it should. 
  • Add the ground coriander seeds, the cumin and the turmeric, stir-fry for 2 minutes or till the ground meat looks nice. By now, a deliciously exotic smell should fill your kitchen. 
  • Add the potatoes, the tomatoes and 25 cl of water. 
  • Cover the pan and let simmer for 20 minutes. 
  • In the meantime, cut your coriander leaves. 
  • Take off the lid, add the yogurt, the peas and the coriander. 
  • With the lid off, let the dish simmer for 10 minutes or more. 
  • Prepare your rice (Basmati or plain rice, whatever you prefer). 
Serve the meal either in separate plates (I prefer to keep my rice out of my sauce in case the sauce is too spicy; it’s sort of an emergency exit for my mouth) or in a big plate (my boyfriend prefers to mix the rice with the curry). This dish is a real treat, worth the time spent in the kitchen. It’s not too spicy-hot (if you go by my indication re. the chili) yet still an explosion of flavours in your mouth. Serve it with a nice, fruity red wine (we had a neat bottle of Bourgogne) – the wine’s flavour will be magnified by the spicy food. 
I swear to all the Hindu Gods – this is India at its best! 
Bon appétit!

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