Brunch · Indian Curry/Stew

Aloo Keema – Minced Meat With Potatoes

Whenever I cook minced lamb, goat or chicken,we look forward to the leftovers more than ever. Having leftovers of such dishes is utterly comforting for the next couple of days, simply because the ways to eat them are plenty – garnish with lots of fresh herbs and tuck them inside rotis (flatbreads) or tortillas with pickled onions, stuff between buns or simply turn them into quesadillas.

This may well be the kind of dish which shouts home to me.The scent of spices and mince meat cooking together comes close to nothing. It is the kind of food which compels me to spend long hours in the kitchen, till I smell the exact aroma which I remember from my mom’s kitchen.Hearty, satisfying and with delicate flavors – at the end of cooking, it is so rewarding (especially with the leftovers).Anything with minced meat is so welcoming in itself, potatoes just make it better. The central pleasure for me here are those-earthy, creamy & dense – purely alleviating the entire experience.

Keema’ translates to any kind of minced meat in hindi. Aloo is potatoes.Hence the name. You can make its dryish or   soupy curry – slow cooked with all the spices. Tari vala keema is soupy keema curry which my kids love with pan(dinner rolls)

The list of spices is long but these are your everyday ones.It may look like a long method but the actual work isn’t much. Ofcourse, the oily keema is an indulgence reserved for once in a while. I make this recipe quite a lot during winter months.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb minced lamb/beef/chicken (I used 80-20 lamb)
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 7 tbsp mustard oil (substitute with canola/vegetable, reduce the quantity to 1/4 cup if you wish)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 1 little piece of nutmeg
  • 3-4 dried red chillies
  • 2 ” cinnamon stick
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2″ fresh ginger shoot, finely chopped
  • 1cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tsp kashmiri chili powder (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1-2 cups water (depending on how you like the consistency)
  • salt to taste
  • To garnish – chopped cilantro

Coarsely grind together:-

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns (adjust to tolerance)
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds

Method

  • In a cooking pot with lid,on high, heat up the oil till you see ripples on the surface and it smokes slightly.
  • Reduce the heat to medium.Temper the oil with bay leaf ,cinnamon stick, green cardamom pods nutmeg and dried chillies. Saute whole spices for 10-15 seconds. Add the onions next.Cook the onions till they turn light brown.About 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic & ginger next and saute for about 1 minute till you smell the aroma.
  • Next, add the coarsely ground spices to the pot.Toast the spices for another minute.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes next along with turmeric, kashmiri red chilli powder and chilli flakes.Cook for 3-5 minutes or till you see oil separating on sides of the pan.Add the minced meat next, break down with mixing spoon and mix together with spices. Reduce heat to low and cover the pot.Let cook covered for 10-15 minutes till you see that the water of the mince has nicely separated. 
  • Open the lid and turn heat to high and saute with a spoon for about 8-10 minutes on medium heat. The color of the meat will start to deepen and we want to bhuno it (to give it a smoky flavor).Do not worry, everything is going as per plan.
  • Once 90 percent of the water has evaporated, reduce the heat to lowest, wait for 1-2 minutes and add yogurt and salt to the pot. Keep mixing continuously else the yogurt will curdle. The meat will again get watery but keep sautéing  for another 10-12 minutes until you see fat from the yogurt separating.
  • Once most of the water has evaporated again, add 1.5 – 2 cups water along with potatoes and check and adjust the salt. Turn the heat to the medium low cover the pot with lid and let simmer for about 18-20 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.

Note : The cooking time will vary if you are using beef or chicken. Also, do not add too much water at the beginning because ground meats leave moisture as they cook.Add water at intervals as per the consistency you want.At the end of about 20 minutes of cooking you will see that oil separating from and change in color of the ground meat. Check that the potatoes are cooked through at this point. 

  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm with flatbreads, rice, pav etc & salad.
Indian Curry/Stew

Bhuna Murgh – Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices

Sinfully Spicy:Bhuna Murgh - Slow Cooked Chicken with SpicesA traditional & (sometimes) time-consuming dish like this is a must in my house at least once a week..mostly middle of the week.The week usually starts on a very low note with soups,salads, lentils-rice etc thanks to our upset stomachs crying for simple home cooked meals to wither away the weekend damages from uncontrolled eating outside.Once we are back to normal,a recipe like this is required to do away the boredom of simple [ read bland] foods.Notice the vicious cycle & the excuses to cook heavy food,eat and enjoy! Such dishes,loaded with  indian flavors keep my guy happy.He has this unfathomable love for indian food, not that it’s a miracle [considering that he is an indian] but I m amazed at the fact that how can anyone eat [or at least want to eat] indian food 365 days of the year and never get bored of it for once???

Sinfully Spicy:Bhuna Murgh - Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices

A typical scene whenever we are getting ready to eat out is like this:-

Me – “Lets go to OG (Olive Garden for italian ) or PF (Chang’s for chinese)”

Him -“As you say.Get ready! ”

After half an hour – Me, happily dressed, getting into the car & asking to double confirm “OG or PF?”

Him – “Where do you want to go?” ( hoping that I might have changed my options)

Me -“OG” (replying shamelessly even after knowing that he doesnt like italian)

Half way, through the drive, he feels that there still might be a chance to change.He tries again,for the third time now ” You REALLY wanna eat italian?”

Mostly, not because I m trying to be a good wife (or whatever ),I give in to eat indian coz I don’t want to spoil the poor guy’s dinner 🙂 You should see the spark in his eyes as he locks the car in front of the restaurant!

Sinfully Spicy:Bhuna Murgh - Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices

Alright,this dish you might or might not get in the indian restaurants so make it at home.Its a rich, spicy & really flavorful preparation.”Bhuna” is basically a technique of searing the meat first,cooking a thick spice paste in oil,adding the seared meat to it & then slow cooking in its own juices it for 2-3 hours.The slow cooking results in deep strong flavours but a very thick sauce.”Bhuna” literally means browned, the meat in this dish has a brown look due to all the slow cooking & particularly the used of many black indian spices that make there way into the recipe.Boneless meat will not work in this recipe unless it’s a very thick cut.If using chicken, try to use the dark meat portions like thighs & drumsticks. The beauty of this two-in-one recipe is that the spice rub is so flavorful that you can drop the sauce preparation & grill the chicken pieces to make a perfect summer appetizer. As always I shy away from use of tomatoes in meat dishes, you can add some if you want.

Sinfully Spicy:Bhuna Murgh - Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices

Printable Recipe 

Ingredients :- [Serves 4]

  • 2 lbs chicken, bone in, skinned [7-8 pieces,use thigh/drumsticks or dark meat portions]
  • 1 tsp oil for rubbing on chicken +more for brushing on the grill pan
  • 1.5 tsp salt

For the spice rub :-

  • 4 whole dry red chilies
  • 2 tbsp whole coriander seeds
  • 6 cloves
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 black cardamom pods, cracked open
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns [ Adjust to taste]
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
For the sauce :-
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic ,grated
  • 2″ ginger shoot, grated
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1″ cinnamon stick
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt, beaten [slightly sour]
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro, chillies etc for garnish [optional]
Sinfully Spicy:Bhuna Murgh - Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices
Method:-
  • Wash the chicken pieces thoroughly & pat dry using a paper towel.Once dried, rub the 1 tsp oil & 1.5 tsp salt over the pieces.Set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, on low heat,roast all the whole spices [except turmeric,nutmeg & salt] till you smell the aroma.About 5 minutes.
  • Let the roasted spices cool down a bit.Once cooled, tip into your coffee grinder or using mortar & pestle, coarsely grind the spices.
  • Add turmeric, ground nutmeg & salt to the ground spices to make a mix.
  • Lay the chicken pieces in a single layer and thoroughly rub half the amount of spice mix all over.Let sit for another 5 minutes. Mix the rest of the spice mix with beaten yogurt & set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat a grill pan [or a normal pan] to smoking hot.Once hot,brush some oil on the pan and layer the chicken pieces on the pan. Here, the idea is just to sear the flesh of the chicken [not cook it].You can even do it in the same pot in which you want to cook the sauce,I prefer a wide open pan for the sake of searing all piece in one go & easier flipping.Let sear for about 5 minutes on each side. Once seared, remove from heat.Reserve the drippings if any. Note:- You can use your outdoor grill too for this purpose.

  • While the chicken is being seared, heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot with lid on medium heat. [ or use your slow cooker for this purpose]
  • Once the oil is smoking, lower the heat & add the chopped onions to the pot.Cook the onions till golden brown.About 8 minutes.
  • Next, add the grated ginger & garlic to the pot along with bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Cook for 1 minute more.Let the heat be on low.
  • Add the spice mixed yogurt to the pot next and combine well with onions.Cook for 2 minutes with constant stirring to avoid curdling of the yogurt.You will slowly see yogurt releasing water. TIP: Whenever adding yogurt to hot pot, ensure that the stove is on the lowest mark.
  • Add the seared chicken pieces to the pot next, pep up the heat to medium and cook the chicken pieces for 5 minutes.Check the salt now [ remember we rubbed chicken with salt earlier] and adjust if required. Also,add the drippings[ if any] from the grill pan to the pot.
  • Again, reduce the heat to lowest possible on your stove, cover the pot and let the chicken cook to fully done.About 25-30 minutes.Avoid adding any water to the pot.As the chicken will cook,it will release its own juices which are enough to cook it.You will need to stir in between once or twice. Avoid adding any water to the pot.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove from heat and let sit covered for another 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro & sliced chillies.
  • Serve warm with chapthis, naan [flatbreads] or cumin rice.
Sinfully Spicy:Bhuna Murgh - Slow Cooked Chicken with Spices
Notes:-
  1. If you want to serve the chicken as appetizers, cook them to perfection on the outdoor/indoor grill itself & serve with Mango Mint Chutney.
  2. This recipe can be used for goat meat,turkey, beef or lamb also.The cooking time will very as per the kind of meat used.
  3. This spice rub is serves as a flavorful condiment to add indian twist to your grilling.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!