Mince in Mins?

Mallika Basu - Mince in Mins?

Posted 4th October 2006

cimg1765.jpgBeing an improper Hindu by choice, beef features extensively in my culinary repertoire. Never mind what grandma thinks about this one – sometimes you just have to think with your stomach and not your heart.

Beef mince is one of my perennial favourites. It’s easy to cook, cheap and versatile. Buy three packs and make chilli con carne, spaghetti bolognese and keema mattar all in one week.

I could give you the recipes for chilli and spag bol. But frankly if you don’t know how to make these, you are the weakest link. Goodbye.

Keema mattar or mince with peas, however, is a little treasure of a recipe and a Quick Indian Cooking stalwart. Don’t be put off by the number of ingredients. You’ll find good use for them all in my other recipes.

The recipe below serves 3-4:

400gms of lean beef mince

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1.5 inch piece ginger, chopped

Half a cup of frozen peas (fresh if you prefer)

2 green finger chillies

Half a teaspoon of chilli powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon cummin powder

Half a teaspoon garam masala

Quarter teaspoon turmeric powder

2 tablespoons yoghurt

2 tablespoons tomato puree

Handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Whole garam masala – 1 Bay leaf, 4 cloves, 4 cardamoms, 1 inch stick cinnamon and 5-6 whole black peppers

I tablespoon oil

Salt to taste

Heat the oil and when hot add the whole garam masala. When it splutters, add the onion and fry until light brown. Add the finely chopped ginger and garlic and fry until they brown slightly. Then add the coriander, cummin, turmeric and chilli powders. Fry for 10 minutes stirring constantly. Don’t let the masala stick to the bottom of the pan, add water if necessary.

Add the tomato and fry for two minutes until they disintegrate slightly. Lower the flame and simmer for 5-10 minutes until oil appears through little holes and the sides of the masala.

Whack the flame up again and add the yoghurt and the chillies. Fry for two minutes. Don’t worry if it curdles – all will be okay in the end.

Now add the mince and cook, stirring violently to avoid lumps. Once its browned all over, add half a cup of water and leave to simmer for 20 minutes or until cooked.

When cooked add the peas, coriander leaves and garam masala powder. Mix it in adding salt to finish.

The dish should be moist but without gravy. Serve with pitta bread, rotis or parathas. Also great with dal and rice.

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