A Stress-free Dinner Option: Keema

I think if there’s one positive to come from what’s going on right now, it’s that many of us seem to be wasting far less food. I don’t particularly enjoy leftovers, but I’m trying to really ensure that I’m not letting my produce go to waste and that I’m repurposing some of my previous meals. If I cook too much rice, I save it for a couple days and either have it for breakfast with a fried egg or, like two nights ago, I made fried rice our side with this Keema dish from the New York Times Cooking site.

NYT Cooking remains one of my favourite resources for new recipes to try out. I like that they curate their collection of recipes, so you can actually check for “Recipes for when you don’t feel like cooking” or “Pantry Recipes”. Yes, they do send a couple of emails a week and yes, you have to pay for their subscription, but it is worth it. The emails are always interesting and are appropriate for what’s happening in the world. They push seasonal produce and meals, but like now, recognize that you might not be able to access obscure (or even not so obscure) ingredients for everything. They allow comments on their recipes and I always make sure to read them; they’re super helpful.

Enough about the NYT. Let’s talk about this recipe from two nights ago: Keema. Keema is just ground meat, spices, and vegetables. This one did not disappoint, but I did make some edits to it, as I was missing some of the ingredients.

Start by slicing a smallish red onion. It doesn’t matter how thick you slice it, because it’s going to end up in a food processor shortly. In a large heavy skillet and using a neutral oil (I used grapeseed oil), sauté the onion until it’s starting to brown and caramelize.

In the meantime, pull out the aforementioned food processor from whatever awkward to reach cupboard it is hiding in. Oh, yours is easily accessible? That’s nice.

The recipe calls for four cloves of garlic, a 2-inch piece of ginger, and one green finger chilli to be pulsed together in the food processor. I didn’t have any fresh ginger or finger chillies, so I substituted about a tablespoon of minced ginger and a jalapeño (without the seeds), and it was just fine for me.

Once the onions have caramelized, add them to the food processor with your previously pulsed ingredients. Don’t bother chucking that skillet in the sink yet. We come back to it shortly. The recipe also called for 6 Roma tomatoes to be added to the food processor, but I used what cherry tomatoes I had left. I figured they would’ve been about the same quantity as 6 Roma tomatoes. Pulse it all together until it’s finely processed.

Return it all to your heavy skillet and, over a medium-high heat, add about a pound of ground beef. Season it with some kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder. I used my ancho chilli powder and it was really nice. Stir it occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated.

The recipe also calls for 1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro (leaves and stems) and 1/2 cup of fresh mint. I had the cilantro, but could only find about 4 or 5 mint leaves that weren’t awful to throw in. Realistically, I don’t think the recipe would suffer if you had neither available. If, like my mum, you hate cilantro, then don’t worry about it either. Sprinkle on 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala et voila! All done.

I served it with some steamed green beans and, as I mentioned earlier, fried up some basmati I had left in the fridge with a little sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and some frozen peas. Honestly, this is going into the regular rotation here. It was so flavourful, but simple. The processed ingredients gave the ground beef such a smooth texture.

1 out of 10 on the hassle scale.

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