Thursday, April 3, 2008

Aloo keema (Minced lamb with potatoes)

I've had curried lamb and sheek kabab at many different Indian cuisines. Still there's nothing more tastier than a nice home-cooked meal. My mom always makes us the most delicious vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian food. Usually, when I ask my mom about the ratio of spices, she'll say, a pinch of this and a dash of that. So, I decided to make a recipe using some of the readily available spices in the kitchen. Minced lamb is usually cooked at slow to medium heat for a long time. Here's my version of Aloo Keema. Enjoy !
(Preparation time: 30 minutes, Cooking time: 1hr 20 minutes, Serves 6-8)

  • 1lb of ground lamb
  • 3 TBSP freshly grated Garlic
  • 2 tsp freshly grated Ginger
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Red Chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp Garam masala
  • 2 TBSP of small Green chilies, freshly grated (about 10 Chilies)
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 3 Cloves
  • 1-2 Cardamon Pods
  • 3-4 small thin strips of fresh Cinnamon sticks (about 1/4in wide, 3/4 in long)
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 2 large red Onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 2 8oz. cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 large red or white potatoes, cut into 1in. pieces
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 2 tsp lime juice (to taste)
  • 3/4 cup of fresh Coriander, finely chopped for garnish
  • Small chopped onion tossed in balsamic vinegar for pickle/side snack (personal preference)
Here's a picture of some of the spices:

CAUTION: Depending of your spice level, save 1/2 of the green chili paste on the side and add it later if you need. You can always add more later but if you make it too spicy, too salty or too sour, then you might be disappointed. So add these spices according to your taste. One another thing, I usually pop the Cardamon pods by crushing them open. If you don't they have a tendency to pop while you fry them in oil. So be careful and please use gloves when mixing spices with your hands since those small green chilies are extremely spicy. Obviously don't rub your eyes or nose after touching any spice.

Ok enough warnings, now on to the recipe to make Aloo keema.

  1. Take Garlic, Ginger, Green Chilies, Coriander powder, Cumin powder, Turmeric powder, Red Chili powder, and Garam masala in a large bowl and mix it together to achieve a nice semi-dry paste.
  2. Slowly blend in the minced lamb little at a time (don't forget to wear gloves) and set it aside. You can let this marinate for 30 min, 4-5 hrs or overnight. I used it right away.
  3. Finely chop onions and tomato and set it aside.
  4. In a medium sized sauce pan, heat oil to medium temperature. Add in Cinnamon sticks, Cardamons, and Cloves. Let it brown slowly as you experience the nice aroma of these spices. Add in Cumin seeds, wait about 30 seconds, then add finely chopped onions. Mix it well, cover, and heat for 5 minutes or until they become translucent
  5. Add in chopped tomatoes, cover and heat for another 5 minutes.
  6. Slowly mix in the minced lamb in small portions. Mix is well and try to break it up with your spatula as you mix
  7. Cover and cook at medium heat for 15 mins
  8. Chop up potatoes in small cubes and set it aside (I submerge them in water with 1 tsp of vinegar for obvious reasons)
  9. Add 2 cans of tomato sauce and mix well. The minced lamb tends to get chunky if you don't break it up. Look at the picture below as I broke it up using this particular utensil. You should get a nice consistency at this stage.
  10. Cover and cook at medium heat for 15 minutes
  11. Time to taste for spiciness, salt, and lemon. Add each one of these to your taste. Again, if you prefer more spicy just blend some more green chilies.
  12. Once you're done adding everything, add in the chopped potatoes, slightly push them into the meat, cover and cook at medium heat for 40 minutes.
  13. Add in freshly chopped coriander, then mix it gently, then let it cool down as you turn off heating. Try not to mix the cooked potatoes harshly since they tend to mesh up easily.
  14. Serve in on a plate with freshly chopped raw onions soaked in balsamic vinegar and a piece of Nan.
If Nan is not available, one can use Roti, Bread, or Basmati rice.
Enjoy and have a safe cooking experience.

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