Monday, 21 January 2008
This is one of my all time favourite dishes and also one that has a long history to it. Mum used to make her own version of this when I was younger and she called it a Minced Meat curry. She used to make it with minced beef and diced potatoes and we would all enjoy eating it with rice. The next day, we'd fill slices of bread with the leftover mince curry and polish it off!
Needless to say, when I went off to Uni, this was one of the dishes that I would often cook. I changed the recipe somewhat and added tomatoes as well as frozen mixed vegetables to it whilst omitting potatoes. I used to love this dish so much that almost everytime it was my turn to cook, I would cook this. As a result, my flatmates used to call me the "Mince Meat Man" although they used to enjoy this dish as much as I did!
I remember when I was in my Final year. It was just before mid term exams which meant that we were smack in the middle of Winter with cold, wet nights. We were all busy studying through the night and at about two in the morning, my flatmate walked into my room and annnounced that he was 'feeling hungry' and asked if I was too. We considered driving down to the local 24hr food outlet but decided that we wanted something hot and spicy; something that would 'comfort' us at this late hour when our minds were numb with too much studying. I suggested making some Kheema and my flatmates eyes lit up. He cooked up a large amount of rice while I quickly whipped up my Kheema. We sat in front of the gas fireplace and delighted in the steaming hot rice and spicy hot Kheema. Truly comfort food indeed!
The beauty of this dish is that it is an all-in-one dish with meat and vegetables in it. It's also extremely versatile in that you can eat it with rice, bread or even noodles. In fact, often times, we would eat the leftovers with instant noodles for a quick snack or even a meal the next day.
Kheema is really the Hindi word for Minced Meat but has also become the generic term for a Minced Meat Curry. This is my recipe:
600g Mince Beef or Mutton
300g frozen Mixed Vegetables (Pees, Carrots, Corn)
2 medium-sized Red Capsicums
4 Large Tomatoes - quartered
1 Large Onion
2 - 3 Tbsp Curry Powder
¾ Tbsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
Salt to taste
Slice onion into thin slices. Dice Capsicum and thaw frozen vegetables. Lightly fry onions with cloves until onions are soft.
Add in Curry powder and Chilli powder and fry till fragrant. Be careful not to burn the mix.
Add in tomatoes and mix well. Add in a little water if needed.
Continue cooking till a nice paste is formed.
Add in Mince and cook well.
Add in Capsicum and frozen vegetables
Continue cooking, stirring frequently. Add a cup of water and cover pan. Simmer for a further 10-15 minutes then remove cover, mix well and cook till most of the water is evaporated.
Coincidentally, the topic of the Monthly Mingle this month, hosted by my friend Meeta over at Whats for Lunch Honey is on Comfort Food. Although Kheema is great with plain white rice, it TRULY becomes Comfort Food when served with Yellow Rice or what I call Fools Saffron Rice.
Saffron Rice or Yellow rice is traditionally served instead of white rice for festivals or special occasions. Somehow, the food seems to take on an expensive and exotic twist when Yellow Rice is served.
I call this Fools Saffron Rice because it is an easy way of making fabulous, tasty, yellow rice in a rice cooker that can easily pass off for Saffron Rice – fooling most people!!
3 Cups Rice
4 ½ Cups Water
1-2 Tbsp Butter
2 handfuls Raisins and/or cashew nuts(optional)
2 tsp Turmeric powder
Wash the rice well and place into the rice cooker.
Add the water, butter, cloves, turmeric powder and raisins/nuts (if using)
Mix lightly then turn on the rice cooker.
When rice is cooked, quickly stir the cooked rice to ensure all ingredients are mixed well.
Although I prefer Minced Beef, this dish is just as lovely made with Minced Lamb or even Minced Chicken! (I think my US friends would call Minced Meat as Ground Meat!)
I hope you all like this dish as much as I do!