Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Indian Keema with Peas, with a full menu

We had guests to dinner last weekend, and needed a menu where most everything could be done ahead of time.  This worked out really well!  We started with home-made baked tortilla chips, guacamole, and store-bought hummus.  (The generic brand at Hy-Vee is good enough that I don't bother to make it from scratch anymore.)  The main course was Indian Keema with Peas, served over brown rice (I highly recommend short-grain brown rice--tastier than long-grain), with a side dish of a cucumber and fennel in yogurt.  Dessert was fruit dipped in chocolate and hazelnuts.  It was a nice combination of tastes and textures.  Here are the three recipes not linked above:

Indian Keema with Peas
adapted from Craig Claiborne's Gourmet Diet (Times Books, 1980)
4 servings

1 t. minced garlic
1 T. chopped fresh ginger
3/4 c. chopped onion
2 t. vegetable oil
1 T. curry powder
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground turmeric
1/4 t. ground coriander seeds
1/4 t. ground cumin
1 lb. ground lamb (beef could also be used)
1 c. chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
1 T. lime juice
1 t. sugar
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 t. crushed hot red pepper flakes
1 c. peas, defrosted if using frozen

Approximate how much garlic, ginger and onion will yield the given amounts.  Using the food processor, first mince the garlic, add in the ginger, and then the onions.  Add the oil and blend to a fine purée.

Sauté the mixture in a skillet and cook, stirring often, until the mixture almost starts to brown.  Add the curry powder, cinnamon, turmeric, coriander and cumin and stir to blend.

Add the meat and cook, breaking up any lumps.  When the meat is no longer pink, pour off any accumulated oil, then add the tomatoes, lime juice and sugar.  Add a generous grinding of pepper and the hot red pepper.  Cover closely and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the peas and continue cooking until the peas are tender, about 5 minutes.

Serve with rice, brown or white.  

adapted from Craig Claiborne's Gourmet Diet
5 servings

1 large cucumber, about 1-1/2 lbs.
1/2 small fennel bulb
2 cups plain yogurt (I use non-fat)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion or scallions
1 t. finely chopped garlic
2 T. white vinegar
1-1/2 T. sugar
1 T. olive oil
2 T. finely chopped fresh dill (or 1-1/2 t. dried)

Peel the cucumbers, cut them in half length-wise, and scrape out the seeds.
Cut the cucumbers until thin, half-moon slices--about 4 cups.
Trim the fennel bulb and cut it in half.  Cut one half crosswise into thin slices--about 1 cup. 
Combine the sliced cucumbers and fennel with the rest of the ingredients, blending well.  Chill for an hour or longer.

adapted from a loose recipe, source unknown
serves 4

4 ounces semisweet chocolate (bar or chips)
4 cups whole strawberries, with stems, washed and patted dry
16 dried apricots
2 ounces hazelnuts, finely chopped (other nuts would be fine also)

Set out a cookie sheet with a piece of waxed or parchment paper.

Chop the chocolate in large pieces (if using a bar) and heat until melted.  (I do this in a microwave.)  Set the bowl with melted chocolate in a pan of just-boiled water, so that it doesn't harden while working.

Pick up one piece of fruit at a time and dip it into the melted chocolate, coating about half of each piece of fruit.  Then immediately dip the tip in the chopped hazelnuts.  Place the dipped fruit on the waxed paper, and continue with the rest of the fruit.

Let the dipped fruit stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes, to let the chocolate harden.  This can be done a couple of hours ahead of time.  If the kitchen is warm, I bring the tray into the basement to keep it cool.

I haven't tried this with other fruit, but it could be nice--maybe pineapple, clementines, or cherries.

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