Keema Mattar

On a day to day basis, I try not to overeat. You know, be conscious of what I’m eating and all that jazz. For the most part, I do alright. But then I have those moments where I lapse. Big time lapse (segue to today’s recipe imminent). One of those times is when keema matter is on the cards for dinner (told you). This is a perfect recipe to cook if you need a hug in a meal. You can mop it up with hot chapatis (my preference), plain basmati rice (the hub’s choice) or even stuff it in a fluffy white bap if you like. If you want to elevate it to the next level though (we are talking “ohmygaaaahhh” level ) you need to do two things. One – cook the dish in mustard oil and two – use minced mutton instead of lamb. But like I said, if you can’t source those two things, worry not. It’s still going to taste shamazing. Enjoy! And then come back and tell me how it was 🙂 

Keema Mattar
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 5-6 tbsp mustard oil (you can also use vegetable or sunflower oil)
  2. 2 bay leaves
  3. 3 cloves
  4. 2 green cardamom pods crushed open
  5. 1 black cardamom pod crushed open (optional)
  6. 1 1/2 large onions, cut into rough chunks
  7. 3/4 tsp salt
  8. 2 fresh green chillies
  9. 2" ginger
  10. 3 garlic cloves
  11. 1 tsp salt or according to taste
  12. 1 tsp garam masala
  13. 1/2 tsp paprika
  14. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  15. 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  16. 1/4 tsp chilli powdder
  17. 5 tbsp tomato passata (you can also blitz fresh or tinned plum tomatoes into a paste)
  18. 800g minced mutton/lamb*
  19. 1 small potato, diced into 1cm cubes
  20. 100g peas
  21. Handful fresh coriander with stems, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Coarsely grind onions in a processor and place in a bowl. Now coarsely grind the chilli, ginger and garlic*
  2. Heat oil in a non stick pan. Once hot add the bay leaves, cloves and cardamoms.
  3. When they begin to sizzle in the oil, add the coarsely ground onions. Add 3/4 tsp salt and cook for 3-4 minutes on a medium to high heat.
  4. When they turn translucent and soft, add the ground green chilli, ginger and garlic mixture. Cook for a further 9-10 minutes until everything turns a deep golden brown shade. If it sticks to the pan at any point, add a splash of oil or alternatively water.
  5. Now reduce the heat and add the remaining 1 tsp salt and all the dry spices and mix well. Cook for 20 seconds. Now stir in the tomato passata and cook for 2 minutes. When the oil begins to separate from the masala sauce, add the mince and potatoes and mix together.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of water and bring to boil. Now reduce heat to low/medium setting and place lid on the pan. Allow the mince to cook for 15 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes, then add the peas. Continue to cook for a further 5 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle on fresh coriander and mix.
  8. Taste for salt/chilli and adjust accordingly. If you would like the dish to be a little "drier", continue to cook until it has reduced down. Alternatively, if you prefer it "wetter" you can always add little more water than suggested.
Notes
  1. * If you don't have a processor, just finely chop onions and chilli and grate ginger & garlic.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

Aloo Gobi

Cauliflower is so in right now. From pizza bases and buffalo wings to fried rice and nuggets, the humble cauliflower has been reinvented and is currently the trendiest vegetable around (move over kale). I’d like to point out I’ve been a fan from a young age (no bandwagon jumping here).

Cauliflower or gobi has been a regular part of my diet and in Indian cookery it’s used to make everything from curries and pakoras to pickles and paratha stuffings. Gobi Aloo is a quintessential Punjabi dish and ticks all of the boxes. With a super simple preparation and a limited number of spices, it’s unbelievably satisfying and really nutritious (without tasting like it!). Served up with some hot chapatis it’s a winner every time. Give it a go-bi! Sorry couldn’t resist…I’ll stop typing now. 

Gobi Aloo
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 5 tbsp oil
  2. 1/4 tsp asafoetida/hing (optional)
  3. 2 tsp cumin seeds
  4. 2" ginger, grated
  5. 4 tbsp tomato passata
  6. 1 green chilli finely chopped
  7. 3 medium potatoes cut into bitesize chunks slightly smaller than cauliflower florets (I like to use red/desiree)
  8. 1 medium cauliflower cut into bitesize florets
  9. 1/4 cup peas
  10. 1 tsp salt or according to taste
  11. 1/4 tsp paprika
  12. 1/2 tsp turmeric
  13. 1 tsp garam masala
  14. 1/2 tsp amchur/mango powder
  15. Handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a pan. Once hot add the asafoetida and cumin seeds. When they begin to splatter, add the ginger and cook for 3-4 minutes until light golden.
  2. Now add the pasata and chilli and cook for a further minute.
  3. Add the potatoes, mix and place a lid on the pan. Cook on a low/medium heat setting for approx 5 minutes.
  4. Now, add the cauliflower florets along with peas, salt, paprika and turmeric. Mix together and once again place lid on the pan.
  5. Cook on a low heat setting for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. (Keep an eye on the pan -if the vegetables are catching, you can add a little more oil or a splash of water).
  7. The vegetables should be completely tender once cooked. Now add the garam masala, amchur and fresh coriander and place a lid on the pan again. Allow the flavour of the spices and fresh coriander to infuse for 10 minutes and then mix before serving.
  8. Check for salt and adjust accordingly. Finish with fresh coriander.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

CHICKEN JALFREZI

Since I got married I have been learning my husband’s mother tongue of Bengali. I grew up speaking Hindi (and “Hinglish”); although both languages stem from the ancient language of Sanskrit, they are very different. My high school French teacher once told me I had a natural “flair for languages” but as an adult, it’s safe to say I have lost said flair!

It’s okay though. I have accepted that mastering the language is more of a long-term goal. I can say “I’m hungry” and “What’s for dinner?” – so important key phrases are in the bank. In the short-term, learning how to recreate my mother in law’s amazing Bengali dishes are more of a pressing matter (er priorities…hello?). 

Today’s recipe is not from her cookbook, but rather one that Jan, one of my cookery class students, asked me how to teach her. It’s a curry house fav in the UK and I found it fun to recreate at home. A dry, spicy chicken dish cooked with peppers and onions – it has crunch, colour and flavour all packed into one! Fun fact – the “jal” comes from the Bengali word “jhal” which means spicy (see I am learning!). Enjoy the recipe below lovely people.

 

Chicken Jalfrezi
Serves 4
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For the chicken marinade
  1. 500g skinned chicken thighs, cut into small bite-size pieces
  2. 2 heaped tbsp yoghurt
  3. 1 tbsp oil
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1 tsp garam masala
  6. ½ tsp kasuri methi/dried fenugreek (optional)
For the sauce
  1. 3 tbsp ghee or oil
  2. 2 green cardamoms crushed open (optional)
  3. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  4. 1 onion, thinly sliced
  5. 1 1/4tsp salt
  6. 3 garlic cloves peeled and grated
  7. 2” ginger, grated
  8. 2 green bird eye chillies, finely chopped
  9. 3 fresh tomatoes, finely diced
  10. 1 tbsp double concentrate tomato purée
  11. ½ tsp garam masala
  12. ½ tsp coriander powder
  13. ½ tsp paprika
  14. ½ tsp turmeric
  15. 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  16. ½ red pepper thinly sliced
  17. Handful fresh coriander
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your grill at the maximum temperature setting. Place all "marinade" ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Now, place the marinated chicken on a foil lined oven tray.
  2. Grill chicken for 10-12 minutes until cooked (the chicken should be white all the way through once fully cooked).
  3. Remove from grill and keep aside.
  4. Heat the ghee or oil in pan on a medium heat setting. Once hot add the crushed green cardamoms and cumin seeds. When they begin to sizzle in the oil, add the onion along with ¾ tsp salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent.
  5. Now add the garlic, ginger and chilli and mix. Continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes and purée to the pan and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes allowing them to completely soften.
  7. Reduce heat slightly and add the garam masala, coriander powder, paprika, turmeric and the remaining salt and mix well. When you see the oil begin to separate from the masala paste, add the grilled chicken and the sliced peppers.
  8. Mix well on a medium/high heat and cook for 3-4 minutes. Finish with a sprinkle of fresh coriander. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly. Remove from heat.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/