This is essentially mince curry. You can call it what you like, but that’s what it is.
The mere notion of of ‘mince curry’ conjures up 1960s horrors made with stale curry powder and garnished with hardboiled eggs, but, if you peel off the mask of stubborn ‘authenticity’ for a minute, you’ll realise that this has as good a place at a south Asian table as any – because the term curry simply implies a gravied dish. And this is stewed minced lamb served in a spiced gravy with peas. Admittedly if one was to use beef mince then we’re back in the Sixties, as of course beef isn’t eaten in India (the cow is sacred), but calling it keema satisfies the culture-appropriating food snob within us. But nobody’s going to sue you if you do use minced beef.
This originated from Delicious magazine’s website and I combined it with my own recipe for chicken balti to make it a bit more worthy of talking about. It won’t set the world on fire and it’s certainly not Instagrammable, but it is imperative for the middle of the miserable working week when the extra step of making mash for shepherds’ pie just seems like climbing Everest in the fog.
Lamb and Pea Keema
250g lamb mince
1 tbsp beef dripping
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garam masala
100g frozen peas
1 tbsp tomato puree, diluted in 200-300ml boiling water
- Heat dripping (or oil) in a saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onion and fry until softened. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so.
- Add lamb mince and turn up heat – fry until browned, and then add all ground spices except the garam masala. Reduce heat back to medium and allow to cook out for 5 minutes.
- Toss in the peas and cook just until the frozen look leaves them before pouring in the tomato ‘stock’.
- Bring to boil and simmer rapidly for 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. You want some left but not much. Think shepherds’ pie base.
- Taste for seasoning and then squirt in a good dash of lemon juice and the garam masala and stir through.
- Serve with naans, boiled rice and whatever your heart desires.