Friday, June 29, 2007

Mutter Kheema

Our convent school was never really equipped for taking large number or students on trips and whenever an attempt was made it was an utter disaster that made for some really great memories. One of the great features of these overnight trips was that the food would be prepared by the students themselves. A great idea in theory. But not when the cooks in question have barely mastered long division. Never a great selling point, but looking back the trips were fun. The destination was always a small sea side village or one of Shivaji's many forts. Or in some cases both. When I was in high school, we went on one such trip to Sindhudurg. Sindhudurg was Shivaji's invincible fort in the Arabian Sea a couple of miles from land. We set camp on the beach right opposite the fort. We attempted to cook on kerosene stoves, but it was a disaster. The chapatis were rock hard, the fish was burnt and everything has a strong aroma of kerosene. Eating this food was mandatory or you'd face the wrath of a strict bearded teacher and his ruler. Sneaking out to eat was a good option. I found a small restaurant which a woman ran out of her home. She served the food on two cots outside her house. Although the food was so-so and the meat was extremely questionable, it was completely edible in comparison to what lay in store back at the camp. Here I had mutter-kheema for the first time and fell in love with the combination.

I lb lamb or chicken kheema (minced)
1 1/2 cup green peas
2 large onions finely chopped
2 large tomatoes finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic crushed or 1 tsp paste
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt (or according to taste)
3 cups water
1/2 cup oil

In a large pot heat oil on high and add ginger and garlic.
When the garlic starts to splatter add chopped onion
Once the onion browns on the edges, add tomato and stir
Allow to cook for 5 min
Then add chili, turmeric and garam masala
Allow to cook for a few minutes and add kheema and green peas
Stir and allow to cook for a minute or two
Add water and mix well
Turn heat to medium and allow to boil till water reduces by 1/2
Keep cooking till meat is tender
Serve with Chapati, Sourdough Bread or Basmati Rice.