We split a goat from a local small farm again with friends this fall. I like everything about the mutton we get from this farm but I particularly enjoy cooking with the keema/mince. The slightly gamy flavour and the texture of coarsely ground mutton/goat is, in my opinion, unparalleled for most Indian keema and kofta/meatball preps. Or maybe I think so because that’s the only kind of keema I ate growing up. In fact, the flavour of goat keema is also crucial to hamburgers in India. At any rate, I find goat keema the best pairing with robust spices. In this case I deploy a bit of kabab chini or cubeb/tailed pepper [affiliate link]. It’s sold in desi groceries and you can find it online as well. You have to be careful though as the term kabab chini is sometimes used for allspice as well—look for a brand that specifies cubeb pepper on the packaging. As with any good keema prep this also features potatoes and peas; and at the end I dump in rather a lot of chopped green onions. I fully admit that this is because I had purchased a rather massive bunch of vibrant green onions from Hmong Village in St. Paul the weekend before I made this and needed to use them up—but they brought very good flavour and texture.
- 1 lb keema/minced meat, ideally mutton/goat and not ground too fine
- The following whole garam masala: 2-3 tez patta, 5 green cardamom pods, 5 cloves
- 1 medium red onion, halved and sliced
- 1 tspn freshly pounded garlic paste
- 1 tspn freshly pounded ginger paste
- The following ground together into a fine powder: 1 tspn zeera/cumin seeds, 1 tspn coriander seeds, 1 tspn kabab chini/cubeb pepper, 1/2 tspn methi/fenugreek seeds, 1 tspn red chilli powder, 3/4 tspn haldi/turmeric powder, 2-3 small pieces cassia bark/cinnamon
- 1 cup crushed tomato
- 1/2 lb or so of potato, cut into large chunks
- 3/4 cup frozen peas
- 3/4 tspn garam masala powder
- 2 cups water fresh off the boil
- 1 cup green portions of green onions, chopped
- 2-3 tblspns neutral oil of choice
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a deep saucepan and when it shimmers add the whole garam masala.
- As soon as the tez patta darkens, add the sliced onions, mix in and saute for 7-10 minutes, stirring often till the onion begins to brown.
- Add the crushed garlic and ginger and saute till the raw aroma is gone.
- Add the ground masala, mix in and saute for a minute or so.
- Add the ground meat, break it up with your spatula, mix in and saute, stirring constantly till it has completely lost the raw colour.
- Add the tomato and salt, mix in and saute, stirring often till it’s completely incorporated and the oil begins to separate.
- Add the water and mix in.
- Add the potatoes, mix in, cover the pan and cook till the potatoes are just done.
- Uncover the pan, add the peas, mix in and cook till the peas are just heated through.
- Add the garam masala, mix in and simmer for a minute or two.
- Reserve a couple of tablespoons of the chopped green onions and dump the rest into the pan. Mix in and simmer for a few more minutes.
- Garnish with the remaining green onions and serve with rice or chapatis.
- Can’t find kabab chini/cubeb pepper? Just use regular peppercorns.
- I like to make this pretty hot and so use a very hot chilli powder. You should do as you like.
- And you can add another profile of heat via a few slit Thai chillies right before you cover the pan.
- I don’t bother peeling the potatoes; do as you like.
- And yes, there’s a Reel.
Silly question I know, but how do you feel about subbing tomato paste or canned sauce for your crushed (fresh?) tomatoes for your keema recipes? I see sometimes you puree the fresh tomatoes in some recipes, so maybe my subs will work? Fresh tomatoes have gotten real expensive. I try not to buy canned diced tomatoes since they wont break down due to the chemicals that are added.
Sorry for the late approve and response: I’ve spent most of the last day in the air; still another 7 hours before we get home…
Yes, crushed tomatoes are fine. I mostly use them in the winter or give canned diced tomatoes a whir first in the blender. I don’t use tomato paste so not sure what the conversions would be.
Made this recipe last night, at least a close approximation…delicious. Used some grape tomatoes chopped up, plus a couple tablespoons tom paste and it worked out nicely.
Though they are harder to find, I much prefer canned whole tomatoes over the canned diced ones, for the very reason Joseph allen pointed out. I would think tomato paste would have a much thicker consistency so the liquid volume would have to be tweaked.
Agreed Steve. I normally keep cans of whole toms around exclusively, since they are minimally processed. As MAO said, it’s easy to then crush them in the blender.