It’s obviously dead easy to call in a takeaway when you’re short on time.
Especially when you’ve got a craving for Indian food, which I always think of as taking a while to prepare. But, spending a little time making your own Indian spice blend means you can easily and quickly put together family friendly dishes, even in the middle of weeknight madness.
Introducing keema aloo, the perfect quick fix Indian dinner and one I only discovered recently. It’s a minced beef dish cooked with onions, carrots, potatoes and the spice blend, then towards the end of cooking it’s finished with peas and yogurt. It takes about 30 minutes to get on the table, which for wholesome scratch cooking I think is pretty decent indeed.
The blend that makes the dish is easy to make too. I find spice blending easiest when done in a large tupperware box — weigh the ingredients, throw them in and shake it around a bit, it’s that easy. With a lid on the flavours will keep fresh for a good few months. Which is enough time to explore a whole load of different uses for it.
Ideas include mixing it in to yogurt as it’s a brilliant marinade for meats and fish, adding it to mayonnaise as the base for coronation chicken or just a curry spice dip for fritters, it pimps up a wintry dhal a treat, and it’s nice sprinkled in to samosa mixture. What I’m trying to say is, it ain’t going to go begging, and it’ll be a whole lot cheaper and more satisfying than buying it in.
For just over 60g of the blend
This a small batch, so you may want to double or triple the quantities of ground spices:
- 7g cumin
- 7g ginger
- 7g turmeric
- 7g whole mustard
- 6g salt
- 6g sugar
- 4g coriander
- 4g garlic
- 4g onion
- 3g cinnamon
- 3g white pepper
- 1g cardamom
- 1g chillies
- 1g clove
For the dish — and I like it fairly saucy, feeds two
- 3 tbsp the above spice blend, or the same quantity of garam masala, it won’t be the same but will be close
- 1 large golden onion, finely diced
- 1 large piece of ginger, peeled and cut in to matchsticks
- 500g lean minced beef
- A couple of handfuls frozen peas
- 2 peeled and diced carrots
- 3 peeled and diced waxy potatoes
- 500ml pasatta
- 200ml light chicken or vegetable stock
- Juice of one juicy lime
- Seasoning to taste
- Oil or ghee for frying
- Cucumber yogurt and fresh mint or coriander to serve
- Start by mixing the spice blend, placing all the ingredients in to a tupperware box and shaking for a few minutes. Leave in an airtight container.
- In a pan heat a couple of tablespoons ghee or oil on a medium heat and fry the onion, carrot and ginger for a few minutes, then add the minced beef and break it up with the wooden spoon in the pan, keep stirring until it’s coloured all over.
- Now add the spice blend and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until you can smell the spices, when this happens add the tomato pasatta, stock, potatoes and a little seasoning, cover and cook for about 15 minutes on a gentle simmer.
- Next add the frozen peas and cook for another 5 minutes with the lid off to thicken the sauce a bit.
- Finish the sauce with the lime juice, stirring it through, check the seasoning to taste and serve with cucumber yogurt and fresh mint or coriander.