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. 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 are trying to keep it light, can even stuff inside iceberg leaves and have lettuce wraps. 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/

Chicken Kathi Roll (Eggless)

The chicken kathi roll or simply “chicken roll” as it’s known as in Kolkata (the birth place of this mouth watering treat) is my favourite street food snack. Ever. When you try it, you’ll know why. The classic chicken roll combo features a soft paratha layered with a fried egg, spicy chicken pieces traditionally cooked in a tandoor and red onion slices pickled in lime. Tastegasm much? (That is a word in the dictionary by the way. Well, The Urban Dictionary – but a dictionary nonetheless). On my first trip to Kolkata I ate loads of these and dragged my family to Nizam’s – the restaurant that “invented” the Kathi Roll. I can’t verify that fact, though what is certain is that their rolls were unbelievable.

When I returned home I was itching to recreate them. The kathi roll purists may note I have made a tweak to the classic (omitting the fried egg to make it slightly lighter) but my recipe still packs a punch and leaves you wanting more. Promise! 

Chicken Kathi Roll Recipe
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 4 Lachha Parathas (Recipe: http://spicediary.com/2017/11/lachha-parataha-punjabi-layered-flatbreads/)
To make the chicken
  1. 6 skinlesss boneless thighs, (approx. 750g) cut into 1” chunks
  2. 4 heaped tbsp yoghurt
  3. 2“ ginger, grated
  4. 3 garlic cloves, grated
  5. 2 tbsp oil
  6. 1 ½ tsp salt or according to taste
  7. 1 tsp garam masala
  8. ½ tsp haldi
  9. ½ tsp paprika
  10. ½ tsp coriander powder
  11. ½ tsp cumin powder
  12. ½ tsp chilli powder or according to taste
  13. 2 tsp tandoori powder (optional)
You will also need
  1. 2 tbsp mustard oil (you can use a normal cooking oil instead)
  2. 1 large onion, finely chopped
Red Onion Salad
  1. 2 red onions, very thinly sliced
  2. 1 birds eye chilli, finely chopped
  3. Juice of 1 ½ limes
  4. ¼ tsp sugar
Instructions
  1. Turn on your grill at the highest temperature setting & line a baking tray. Place all of the “to make the chicken” ingredients in a bowl & mix well.
  2. Scatter the chicken pieces on the baking tray & place in the grill for 12-14 minutes or until fully cooked and remove from grill. (The chicken should be white all the way through).
  3. Heat mustard oil in a pan. Add the onions & cook until light golden. Then add the grilled chicken & mix. Sautee for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Check for salt and adjust accordingly.
  4. To make the salad, combine all ingredients together in a bowl. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Taste for sweetness/sourness and adjust accordingly.
  5. To assemble the kathi roll, place a paratha on a plate, top with chicken and onion salad (as pictured) and roll up in foil.
Notes
  1. You can use paneer, red onions and green peppers instead of chicken to prepare vegetarian kathi rolls!
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

Fish Pakoras

Fish pakoras are my absolute favourite, so I was really excited to see that you guys totally agree – you voted to see a recipe for these in last month’s Twitter poll. I apologise it has taken me a little longer than usual to get this out to you, but I’ve been super busy setting up the The Spice Club’s new cookery classes in Birmingham (Eeek… can’t wait!). 

I appreciate the last couple of posts have focused on “deep fried goodness” – clearly a sign that my body is going into hibernation mode, but I couldn’t resist. I really hope you enjoy these delightful morsels of deliciousness.  Let me know what you think! Tweet/facebook/insta me….heck linkedin me if you must. I love feedback. 

Fish Pakoras
Serves 2
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Fish marination
  1. 250g boneless fish fillets, cut into bitesize chunks (cod/hake/basa work well)
  2. 3/4 tsp salt or according to taste
  3. 1/4 tsp turmeric
  4. Juice of half lemon
  5. 2 birds eye green chillies, finely chopped
  6. 2 cloves garlic minced/grated
  7. 1 cm ginger, minced/grated (optional)
For the batter/coating
  1. 1 tsp chilli powder or according to taste
  2. 1/2 tsp ajwain/carom seeds (optional)
  3. 1 tbsp coriander seeds, coarsely crushed
  4. 2 tsp cumin seeds
  5. 3/4 tsp tandoori masala (optional)
  6. 4 tbsp gram flour
  7. 1 tbsp rice flour/cornflour
  8. 2 tbsp yoghurt (greek style preferable)
You will also need
  1. Oil for deep frying (sunflower/veg oil work well)
Instructions
  1. Place all the "fish marination" ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Leave aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a pan (a small wok type pan works best) on a low heat setting.
  3. To this bowl, now add the "batter" ingredients and gently combine everything together (it is best to use your hand to do this). Every piece of fish should be well coated in a thick paste like batter. (You may need to adjust the amount of gram flour or yoghurt to achieve this thick paste consistency).
  4. Increase the heat of the oil pan and test the temperature of the oil by adding in a small piece of fish/batter. It should take about 5 seconds for it to rise from the bottom of the pan to the top.
  5. Now carefully add the fish pieces to the oil. Cook in batches and do not overcrowd the pan.
  6. Fry on medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Each piece should be crisp and golden all over.
  7. Remove from oil and drain on kitchen paper.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/