I recently got back from an amazing 5 day trip visiting with my older brother (and celebrating my birthday) in gorgeous Vancouver, British Columbia. Although the trip itself was way too short, I was so excited to be back home and spend some much needed time with my big bro. My brother spoils me rotten and chauffeurs me to Squamish when I declare that the mountains beg us to be climbed. In return,
he lets me I stink up his apartment with the smell of pungent and pervasive spices like fenugreek and cumin. Yeah, I would say we’ve got a pretty good thing going on!
A little background on my brother: he’s all sorts of awesome, he coined “fourfootsmall”, and he’s a bit of a fitness freak. This guy could spend hours at the gym and live off of quinoa salad for weeks at a time. His kryptonite, however, happens to be a simple serving of dal (moong lentils), chawal (basmati rice), and keema aloo (mince and potatoes). Nothing about this meal is particularly unhealthy – but since he’s 4 abs away from a sixpack and sometimes lacks self control – this is his desi kryptonite.
A lot of traditional recipes call for insane amounts of ghee/oil and chilli powder. I shy away from both ingredients because: a) I can’t do grease – it physically makes me sick; and b) there should be a balance between the spices called for in a recipe. Each spice brings unique flavour to the dish, so why try to mask it with one dominating flavour profile? This IS a democracy, after all.
Ground lamb is the preferred choice of mince when making keema aloo, but you can easily substitute ground beef or ground chicken instead. Now without further ado, here’s my quick and easy recipe for keema aloo.
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 small onion; sliced thin
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp (or more) ground red chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 lb. ground meat (I used ground chicken)
- 1 small roma tomato, chopped
- 1 medium potato, cubed
- pinch garam masala (Indian allspice)
- cilantro, lime wedges, and fresh ginger (julienned) for garnish
- Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Once the oil starts to shimmer, add onions and cook until translucent.
- Add ground turmeric and give the onions a quick stir taking caution not to burn the turmeric.
- Add the ginger garlic paste and cook until slightly browned and fragrant.
- Stir in the cumin seeds, coriander powder, chilli powder, salt, and ground chicken. Cook until the ground chicken is no longer pink.
- Add the tomato to the pan, lower the heat to medium, and cook until the water from the tomato has started to dry out (about 1 to 2 minutes).
- Add the cubed potatoes and give the mixture a good stir. Cover the pan and cook until the potatoes just start to soften (and are easily pierced with a fork; about 10 minutes).
- Remove the pan from the heat, and sprinkle over the garam masala. Give the mixture one final stir and garnish with cilantro, ginger, and lime juice.
- I prefer my keema aloo to be on the drier side. If you prefer a dish with more gravy, add a 1/2 cup of water in step 6 when adding the potatoes. Bring the keema aloo to a light boil, making sure not to overcook the potatoes. Serve with either fresh rotis or basmati rice.