Friday, July 3, 2009

Kheema Meatball Curry

Shivaji Market situated a few blocks to the south of Main Street, is the centre for all things meat in Pune and the central wholesale market for meat, poultry and seafood in the city. This is the place you’d go to if you wanted the freshest and the best meats. Most families serious about their non-veg get their meats from here and every family has their favourite vendor who apparently has the ‘best’ meat or fish. Getting is from someone else is tantamount to throwing money down the drain. Shivaji Market is probably one of the smelliest places in the city and not the prettiest of places. It has four major sections—poultry, meat (mostly lamb), fish and vegetable. It is very colourful, full of character (and characters) and a photographers dream. A late uncle of mine had an obsession with buying the freshest meat. The meat trucks delivered the meat around 7:00 p.m. He would go the market around 7:00 and hang out in the smelly gala (stall) with our family butcher. He would then order some prime cuts of the freshest meats from the butcher making small talk about nothing. Of course, it’s another story that this meat would then sit in the freezer at home for many days, thus leaving it’s freshness redundant. This obsession with buying things fresh and then keeping them in the fridge runs through my extended family. The butcher did have the best mutton. Kheema (minced meat) is one of my favourite mutton dishes, although I would only eat it if the mutton was minced by hand and not by a machine. The meat minced by hand on a butcher’s block is much chunkier and thus tastier as compared to the machine cut version. And it stays really firm and juicy when making meatballs.

Another interesting story on Shivaji Market by The Cook's Cottage

I lb lamb extra-lean kheema (minced)
2 large onions finely chopped
2 large tomatoes finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic crushed or 1 tsp paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
4 tsp chopped cilantro
1 lemon
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp garam-masala
Salt (or according to taste)
3 cups water
1/2 cup oil


For meat balls
In a bowl mix thoroughly the Kheema, ginger-garlic paste, cilantro and 1/2 tsp salt and juice of 1 lemon
With greased hands, make small balls 1” in diameter and place aside

For curry
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 it to cook for 5 min
Then add chili, turmeric and garam masala
Allow it to cook for a few minutes
Add one cup water to make it loose and reduce flame to medium heat
Add the meatballs gently and making sure they are coated with the curry
Gently stir and allow it to cook for a couple of minutes till the meatballs are firm
Add rest of the water and stir gently taking care not to dissolve the meatballs
Turn up heat between medium and high
Allow to cook till it reduces by half and a thick gravy remains
Serve with chapatti or basmati rice.