It can sometimes be a challenge to think of interesting things to do with minced meat – there’s only so many times you can make spag bol or chilli. Keema matar is a lovely, deeply flavoured North Indian dry curry dish that’s traditionally served with Indian breads – pooris and parathas – but goes just as nicely with a simple bit of rice.
It takes under an hour to make and uses just one pan – perfect for a midweek dinner. Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients – I bet you have half the stuff in your cupboard anyway and if you don’t then buying them will be a good investment for future Indian-food-making.
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4/5 cloves garlic, chopped
500g minced lamb (beef with do in a pinch)
A 1 inch cube of ginger, peeled and grated
As many or as few chillis as you like
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds (I put the seeds in a plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin. The smell is strangely lemon-y. Very aromatic.)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
175g peas (frozen are fine)
A generous handful of fresh coriander (cilantro, for my American friends), choppped
About 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garem masala
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
First do your prep – chop all the things that need chopping, and bash up all the spices. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, put the spices in a plastic bag and bash it with a heavy implement. Most satisfactory.
Heat the oil in a wide frying pan over a medium flame. When hot, add the onions and cook for 5-7 minutes or so until they’re starting to turn brown. Don’t worry about under or over cooking them too much, this dish is quite forgiving. Add the garlic and fry for one more minute, giving it a bit of a shake and stir so it doesn’t burn.
Now add the minced meat, ginger, chillis, ground coriander seeds, cumin and cayenne. Give it a good stir – it is my (entirely unproved) belief that if you can get the spices in contact with the meat before it’s browned, they cook and meld together better. It’s like they stick together, becoming better friends for having gone through the frying process as one.
Fry for about 5 minutes or so on a fairly high heat, breaking up any lumps as you go. Don’t stir it too much, it’s nice when it catches on the pan a little and adds a bit of texture.
When it’s nice and brown, add 150ml water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and leave it to simmer for 30 minutes. Check it every now and then and use the power of your brain to assess whether it’s too dry and needs more water or it’s fine. Taste often – chef’s perks!
Now add the peas, coriander, salt, garem masala, lemon juice and 75ml water. Mix it all in and bring it back to a simmer – cook until the peas are done (about 5 minutes). Taste it. Add more salt if you feel it needs it.
Serve with bread/rice/dhal. Congratulate yourself on how brilliant it tastes.