August 21, 2009
Kheema Mutter/Ground Beef with Green Peas...
Every two three days there is a house showing a.k.a."pennukanal" and my cooking is a mad rush now or there is no cooking on those days coz I don't want to mess up my super clean kitchen and clean again. The market is not the right time to sell a house but it's the best time to buy so whenever we take a price cut, we get consoled that wherever we buy, there is a price cut there too. So the loss-gain factor is moot in our case.
Whereas I used to make a variety of food earlier, now its down to the least common denominator. One main item, whatever works with minimal splatter, minimal cleanup, minimal pots to clean. I think of most of our Malabar dishes and they are so labor intensive that they get relegated to the sidelines in the current situation. With Ramzan approaching though, I will have to think of easier items to make.
Sometimes our family dinners get dictated by my kids demands. Growing up here, they are more attuned to the western recipes and prefer that to most of the recipes I long for. When I tell my little one about some of the recipes I showcase here in this blog, I get a look as though I am from another country... well, that I am..:) So can't blame them. Given a choice, they would convert my house to a trattoria or a steakhouse.
I bet my folks are sitting and laughing now remembering how picky I was and how my mom used to ask "enthu kazhikannulla vishappanu?" meaning "what are you hungry for?' instead of just telling me what is there to eat. So now I am onto spoiling the next generation.:)
Most of the time though, all our food is common and gets eaten without any issue. Our food is spicy and our traditional curries are rich with onions and chilies, all pieces to be fished out and kept aside. Trying to woo a kid's appetite is the toughest thing to write about in a blog.
What works once may or may not work the next time so I really wing it each day and hope that some of what they eat stays in their memory and one day they will ask for it by name. Or maybe all that remains will be relegated to "butter chicken, erachi curry, dal, yellow curry(pulissery), fish fry, naan and biryani.
Added to that tiny list of preferences is Kheema Mutter, a ground beef preparation with fresh peas. I sometimes add tiny cut up bell peppers to but that changes the taste, so mostly stick with the recipe. This was a fav in my mom's house too but I think my preparation varies a bit now.
You will Need:
Lean Organic Ground Beef-1 lb
Red onion- 1-2 medium size, thinly sliced
Fresh tiny green Thai, cayenne or Serrano chile peppers -2 or 3
Garlic-4 large cloves,paste
Ginger- 1 inch, paste
Lemon juice-1 tablespoon
Tomato-1 or 2 diced finely
Cinnamon stick-1 small one inch piece
Dried bay leaves-1
Red Chili Powder- 1 1/2 tsp( use more or less as per taste or mix with half paprika/kashmiri chili powder to even out the color and taste)
Coriander Powder-1 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds,roasted and powdered-1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Frozen or fresh peas-1 cup
Cilantro- 2 Tsp chopped finely
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the cinnamon sticks, clove and cardamom and bay leaves and saute until they sizzle. Then add the onion and stir fry until transparent and slightly golden, 5-10 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, chili peppers,and stir well till the raw smell of the garlic is gone. Add the ground beef to the pan and break up the pieces with a wooden spatula. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is browned. Add the spices...coriander, ground cumin, red chili powder, salt and turmeric and stir to coat the meat evenly. Saute for a couple of minutes and then add the tomatoes and mix well on high heat. Sprinkle in the lemon juice and keep stir frying for 5 minutes till all the meat is brown and the spices are cooked. Stir in 1/2 cup of water and add the peas. Transfer the meat to a pressure cooker and cook it for just 2-3 minutes after the first whistle. Alternately, you could cover the pan on low heat and let the meat simmer for 20 minutes. If the peas are cooked, you could add them in the last 5 minutes. Garnish with a whole lot of chopped cilantro.