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/

Tadka Dal

The first week of August has come to an end and it has rained every single day since the beginning of the month. Why hello British summer, so nice of you to join us! (Said no one in the past 7 days). To be fair, I do like me some precipitation. Not only does it provide much needed moisture in my garden, it also proves to be an excellent topic of conversation when you are a) trying to break the ice with someone and b) need a filler for an awkward silence. Very handy indeed.

If it continues like this however, it does mean that my summer dreams of cooking up seekh kebabs, paneer tikka, afghani chicken, masala corn on the cobs & tandoori tiger prawns  (I have been compiling this list since January) on the BBQ, are well and truly over. 

It’s not all bad though, monsoon season in India results in comfort food galore (there is always a silver lining!). For me, comfort food stems from simple dishes done well. That brings me to today’s recipe of Tadka Dal. A buttery & spicy classic lentil dish that is super simple but oh so delicious. The word “tadka” refers to the tempering of spices in oil which is then added to the cooked lentils. My tadka calls for ghee, cumin, ginger & garlic which works wonders to add the perfect amount of richness, heat and flavour all at the same time…that is of course in my humble opinion!

When you make this recipe, I urge you to devour with rice or chapatis and eat with your hands. That’s right….stay away from the spoon people! The satisfaction shoots up to another level. Believe me. I hope you enjoy it – keep me posted on your thoughts!

 

Tadka Dal
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To cook the lentils
  1. 1/2 cup masoor dal*
  2. 1/2 cup yellow split moong dal
  3. 3 ½ cups of water
  4. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  5. 1 tsp salt
To cook the tadka
  1. 2 tbsp oil
  2. 2 tbsp ghee (you can just use 4tbsp oil if you have no ghee)
  3. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  4. 1/4 tsp asafoetida/hing powder (optional)
  5. 1 small onion, finely diced
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 2 cloves garlic, grated
  8. 1″ ginger, grated
  9. 1 tsp garam masala
  10. 1/2 tsp paprika or chilli powder
  11. 1/2 tsp amchur (mango powder)
  12. salt
  13. 4-5tbsp tomato passata (You can also use tinned plum/fresh tomatoes blitzed up)
  14. 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  15. Handful fresh chopped coriander
Instructions
  1. Wash lentils thoroughly. If you have a pressure cooker, add enough water so it is approximately 2” above the level of the lentils along with the turmeric and salt.
  2. Once the first whistle goes off, reduce heat to low and cook for 6 minutes. Then remove from heat, keep the lid on and allow steam to escape naturally.
  3. If you do not have a pressure cooker, place washed lentils in a pan along with salt and turmeric with 5 and cups of water. Once the water comes to a boil, reduce heat to bring to a simmer and a place lid on the pan. Simmer for 30-40 minutes until the lentils are soft and tender. If the water reduces before the lentils are cooked, you can add more.
  4. Whilst the lentils are cooking, heat the ghee/oil in a separate pan. Add cumin seeds, and asafoetida. When they begin to sizzle, add the onions along with the salt.
  5. Cook for 4-5 minutes until translucent and then add the garlic and ginger. Allow to cook until golden in colour. Now add the passata along with the chilli and cook for a minute.
  6. Lower the heat slightly and add the garam masala, paprika and amchur. Mix well and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until you see the oil begins to separate from the masala at the edges. Remove from heat.
  7. Once the lentils are cooked, add them to the masala sauce along with the water they were boiled in.
  8. Mix well and bring to a boil. If you think the dal is too thick you can add a little more water.
  9. Garnish with the fresh coriander. Taste for salt/chilli and adjust accordingly. Amchur adds tangy-ness. If you feel the dal is lacking slightly when you try at the end, add a little more! Remove from heat.
Notes
  1. *Measuring cups have been used here
  2. I have mixed two lentils here but you can use just one if you prefer. The masoor and yellow split moong variety do not need to be soaked before hand and cook quickly!
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/