Kheema Pau: A whole blog space in this name? Then again why not?
Is this going to be a boring lesson on the history of kheema (lamb/beef mince)?
Is this a spectacular pinnacle of cuisine? Nope, mince is mince the world over till it becomes Kheema mutter at the hands of Bawarchi’s of Irani / Parsee restaurants.
Now it is transformed into a delight that can be a sizzling breakfast, a quick lunch or a leisurely dinner too. The vegetarians would be exempt from this account as they have not been done justice to here..
Story of the recipe’
Eating it often at a city Irani restaurant which is so famous, I got to know the owner chaacha ( uncle ) personally and asked him the recipe. Chaacha looked at me and said “ tumko kya lagta hai, hum bolega aur tumko kheema banana aa jayega” ( I shall tell u the recipe and u shall become an expert at it ) when I persisted he told me that a lot of factors go into making the perfect kheema . We also don’t hit the right note everyday, but when we do “poorey mohalley ko maloom padta hai ki aaj ke khaaney me jaadu hai”. ( the whole neighborhood is in the know that something magical is on the plates today)
The make of the vessels in which the mince is cleaned and marinated with a twig of mint are thick Aluminum, Hindalium is what he said , tumharey aeroplane is patrey se banaatey hai. In my quest for the recipe I didn’t dare doubt his claim.
Purists like the chaacha here would never make the mince in a grinder but it would be fine chopped on a wooden block with a sharp thick knife. The speed at which this process goes and the hand-eye co-ordination involved is a treat to watch. One blow missed by a millimeter and a complete finger would be lopped off. Doing it this way apparently preserves the juices in the meat than in a grinder which squeezes them out, hence the taste is never the same. Green papaya is sliced fine (so fine that you can see the other side thru the slice) and mixed with the mince in a pot to tenderize it.
The Recipe for serving 4
500 gm of lamb mince
50 gms green peas
1 twig of mint & 1 small green papaya
3 bay leaves
1 small ginger about 10 gms
3 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp saunf / fennel seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 coconut, dry and grated or ready 3 tbsp of gratings
2 large onions: 1 finely chopped & 1 for rings
1/2 a bunch fresh green coriander leaves
4 tablespoon of ground nut oil
1 teaspoon red chilli powder & turmeric powder
salt to taste
Finely chop the green papaya and with the mint leaves mix it with the mince and allow mixture to stay for half an hour.
Take the bay leaves, coconut, chopped onion, 2 tablespoon garam masala, fennel and coriander seeds and roast them on medium flame for few minutes till they start to crackle and smoke. Remove it in a grinder and add chopped tomatoes to it and grind it into a fine paste. In the same pan pour in the oil and on a medium flame add this ground masala paste till it changes colour , now add the mince and green peas with the sprig of mint and papaya into this pan and stir well. Add a little water and cover the pan with a lid. Allow it to simmer for fifteen minutes to half an hour ( tenderized mince wont take long to cook ) . Sprinkle red chilli powder, a little garam masala and salt to taste from top if so desired.
While serving garnish with finely chopped ginger & coriander ( This is sprinkled on the kheema in the serving dish) , onion rings and slices of lemon. Accompanied by fresh Pau. A glorious meal awaits. Try it taste it and let me know ..those who find grated coconut a boor can add a tbsp of coconut milk instead..all allowable or can do away with it too..some who would find this too spicy can increase the fried onion content more rather than sugar..the sweetness that onions impart is natural and less cloying on the tongue. Enjoy.