Ground Meat Curry or Keema Curry as it is known in Hindi/Urdu is a standard recipe that most Indian households (that are not vegetarian) are familiar with. It has been a staple at my place too – especially since it’s relatively easy to cook and tastes great! But my standard recipe (which a combination of how my mom and my mom-in-law used to make theirs) never required the use of copious amounts of fresh dill. So yesterday, when my sister suggested that I should try this ingredient to my usual recipe for Keema, my curiosity was peeked. Even though I am familiar with some regional variations to the standard Keema recipe, I had never heard of Dill being included in any. She told me that she got this idea from a friend of hers who belongs to the Sidi community of Gujarat. I know that the Sidi are Sufi Muslims who trace their ancestry to Africans who were brought to India some eight centuries ago. Of course, the Sidi still retain some of the traditions they used to practice before they came to India and it is possible that the use of dill in a meat dish was one of those traditions. Frankly, I don’t know the origin of this recipe but I decided to test it out today and was indeed surprised by the element of freshness that is brought by the addition of dill. This fresh herb adds another layer to the complexity to the flavor profile and I really liked it! So a big thanks goes out to my sister and her friend!
1. 1 lb ground organic beef/lamb/goat meat
2. 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
3. 3-4 cloves of garlic
4. 1 inch long fresh ginger root
5. Two large onions (I had one red and one white onion)
6. ½ packet of Shaan Keema Spice or 3 teaspoons of fresh ground Garam Masala
7. One nutmeg
8. 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
9. 2 dried Bay leaves
10. 4-5 large black cardamoms
11. 1.5 cups of frozen petit peas
12. 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (I used canola oil)
13. 2 green chili
14. ½ cup of fresh chopped dill weed
15. 2 tablespoons of tomato ketchup or 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
16. 2 teaspoons of sugar
17. Salt to taste (Shaan masala already has salt so use extra salt sparingly)
18. 1/2 fresh lemon.
1. In a large heavy bottom pot pour the cooking oil and start heating it on low heat.
3. Pour the diced onions and the cumin seeds in the hot oil and stir. Slowly let the onions get caramelized. This process usually takes time, so be patient. Let them cook for 10-12 minutes while stirring constantly.
17. Add the chopped dill to the pot and stir. Cover and let this cook for another 5-6 minutes over low heat.
18. Taste for salt, sugar and tart balance and adjust according to your preference. At the very end of the cooking process add the juice of half a lemon and stir. Also try to fish out the bay leaves and the cardamom pods before you serve the dish.
19. Garnish with some more fresh dill and some sliced green chilies on top. Serve with Basmati rice pilaf or with a flat Indian style bread like a naan or a roti.