Many years ago, my wife (then we were but boyfriend and girlfriend) took me on a trip to Bradford. We went to the IMAX theatre and saw a couple of movies then went for a curry in what is, for me, the finest curry house in the land: The Kashmir. You walk past the posh seating area at street level, round the corner onto a side street, down some stairs into the basement. Formica tables. Tin plates. Very plain, very functional and always very busy for a very good reason: The food is excellent. We vowed to repeat the trip.
In there, on the next visit, I had my first keema curry. Rather than lumps of meat, keema dishes are made from mince. Whenever I get the chance, I go back there for a keema madras, usually tying it in with a visit to what was then the National Museum of Film, Photography and Television and is now a branch of the Science Museum. Well worth a visit if you get the chance. 2 Daleks, Morph, the Wombles and much, much more.
Anyway. Fast forward a few years and I’m on a cookery course. What do we want to cook next week? I suggest a keema dish, the teacher agrees. I’ve got to say, it’s a dish that starts out very unpromising in looks and then pulls it all out of the bag near the end. Here you go.
- 1lb lean lamb mince (best if you can make it yourself by taking a good slab of shoulder and trimming away as much of the fat as possible).
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp red chilli powder (or paprika if you’re dialling down the heat)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic & ginger paste (equal quantities of garlic and ginger, blitz together in a food processor and add a little vegetable oil. Keeps for ages so make it up in big batches. You’ll be amazed at how useful it is)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 black cardamom
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 4 green chillies, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- Large bunch fresh coriander, chopped
- In a large pan, put the mince, onions, salt, red chilli powder (or paprika), turmeric, cinnamon stick, black cardamom and a large glass of water.
- Bring to the boil. Break up the mince with a wooden spoon to make sure there are no lumps.
- Put on the lid, simmer for half an hour. Stir after 15 minutes.
- Remove the lid, allow the water to evaporate completely.
- Add the tomatoes and a half-ladle of vegetable oil. Start to fry the mince, adding the chillies (if you’re using them) and the garlic & ginger paste (for some reason my hands want to type “garlic & finger paste”. Don’t use that. That would be wrong). Fry for 15-20 minutes. Add a little water if it all starts to stick.
- Add the potatoes and keep frying gently for 10 minutes.
- Put on the lid, reduce heat to minimum and allow the potatoes to cook. Usually another 10-20 minutes.
- Just before serving, sprinkle over the garam masala and the coriander, stir and remove from the heat. Serve at once with fresh naans or chapatti.