I have had this recipe in my draft for more than two months now. Almost since summer when the sun was warm and the backyard bereft of snow. For the last two months, I have been thinking of sharing it with you. It deserves sharing for it is really good and it has found its way in our home because someone I barely know had shared it with me.
But all these days I have had nothing to say fitting with the recipe. Seriously I have to learn to post without going "yadda yadda yadda" every time.
Anyway, what with winter and the first snow of the season, there is something to chat about today.
With the early morning call from the school announcing a snow day today, I had an inkling of how the day would roll out and fill up the 14 hours which lay ahead; hours bare of any per-destined activity or schedule or gathering. I had a hunch that the girls might want to make a snowman or at least a snow angel or if nothing have a snow ball fight. I usually stay far from such activities as snow is definitely not on my favorite list and I would much rather stay inside and click pictures than wear mittens and jackets and indulge in making snowmen.
As predicted, they started on that chant way before lunch, soon after we had the upma I made. And finally when the snow had trickled down, they went out on the deck to make a snow man. The girls showed a lot of interest initially as is their wont but eventually the grunt work was done all by Dad. The snowman was made toothless and looked kind of cute, but then with a brilliant stroke of creativity, the husband-man decided to make its teeth out of dried amla and boom it became a snow goon. Or a "deranged mutant killer monster snow goon" as Calvin would have said.
We also put up the Christmas Tree, a fake affair which looks gorgeous when the lights and shiny trinkets are on. And then the husband-man fried crispy pakoras which we gulped down with tea and with friends who could drop by once the roads were clear.
Now though technically I am not a big fan of cold winter, there is something about staying home on winter evenings that I enjoy.
A cup of tea.
The flicker of flames in the fireplace.
The Christmas tree.
The special movies on for Christmas.
It seems like a time to put away your worries and dust away the mundane to put up shiny baubles and bask in small pleasures of glittery tchotchke.
And to share one's favorite recipe for a Keema made with Mint Coriander paste. A recipe that was inspired by Rini's (who blogs on non-food topics ) recipe in a Facebook Group many months ago. A recipe whose taste lingers on though I last made it about a month ago. Peppery with a hint of mint and fresh coriander. A spicy after note. A silent thank you for people who are generous enough to share their recipes and make your dinner that much special.
That is the spirit of the season.
Keema in a Mint Coriander Paste
Start off with 2lb of Chicken keema. You can of course use lamb/mutton keema and the result will be better but I went with the leaner option.
Put the keema in a bowl. To it add
1/4th cup of thick yogurt
1 tbsp loosley packed Cumin powder
1 tbsp loosley packed Coriander powder
1 tsp Kashmiri Mirch
salt to taste
Mix well and keep aside for an hour.
Meanwhile make the mint-coriander paste:
Add the following to the blender jar and make a smooth paste
Coriander Leaves -- 1 cup chopped
Mint leaves -- 1/2 cup chopped (If you don't have fresh, use the dried mint but use only 2 tbsp)
Garlic -- 4 fat clove
Ginger -- 1" peeled and chopped
Hot Indian green chilli -- 4
Whole Black Peppercorns -- 1 tbsp
This greenish paste can be stored for future use and as base for many other curries.
Now start making the Keema Curry
Heat 2tsp of Vegetable oil in a frying pan/kadhai. Start with a frying pan or kadhai with a wide base.
Fry about 3 tbsp of cashew and 1 tbsp of golden raisins until the cashew turns brown. Remove and keep aside.
To the same pan, now add 2 tbsp of Mustard Oil
When the Oil is sufficiently hot, temper the oil with
2 Tej Patta
one 2" stick of cinnamon
2 Big Black Cardamom lightly bruised
To the flavored oil add
1 medium sized onion thinly sliced
Fry the onion until they are soft and light brown and then follow with
2tsp of garlic paste.
Add about 1 tbsp of Tomato paste(substitute with Ketchup) and the green paste that you have made. At medium heat, fry the masala till oil separetes.
Now add the keema.
Sprinkle on it about 1/2 tbsp of Bhaja Masla. You can also use Garam masala or some Meat masala but this particular Bhaja Masla gives a very nice taste.
Keep stirring the keema, breaking up any lumps until the keema loses its raw color. The keema will also release water, keep on frying until the water dries up and the keema is cooked and crumbled. Once the keema is done, taste and adjust for spices.
In a separate pan, heat some more mustard oil, say 2tsp. When the oil is hot, add 1 tbsp of black pepper powder. Add this pepper flavored oil to the keema in the other pan.
Now add about 1/2 cup of warm water for gravy, salt to taste and let the gravy simmer for 5 minutes at low heat.
Add the fried kaju-kismish to the keema and mix well. Add some more chpped mint. Switch off heat and cover the fry pan.Let it sit for half an hour before serving.