Mince in Mins?

Mallika Basu - Mince in Mins?

Posted 4th October 2006

Being 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:

1 tablespoon oil

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

1 onion, chopped roughly

2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated

1 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated

2 green finger chillies, chopped

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

Half a teaspoon of chilli powder

Quarter teaspoon turmeric powder

2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt (hung curd)

2 tablespoons tomato puree

500gms of beef mince (min 12% fat)

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

Half a teaspoon garam masala

Handful of fresh coriander, chopped (to serve)

Salt to taste

Bring the oil to medium high heat and when hot add the whole garam masala. When it splutters, add the onion and fry for 10 minutes until light brown. Add the ginger, garlic and fry until they brown slightly. Then add the coriander, cumin, 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.

Mix in the tomato pure. Lower the flame, mix in the yoghurt and simmer for 5 minutes. Whack the flame up again, tip in the mince and cook, stabbing vigorously to avoid lumps. Once its brown all over, add half a cup of water and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.

When cooked add the peas 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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