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.