By DK on Jan 22, 2013
Keema is an immensely popular dish in India made usually with Lamb. The term "Keema" means to mince. My introduction to this dish came during my college years at our canteen. A friend of mine who is a non-vegetarian always used to order chicken this and chicken that. Though I did not mind sitting along with the rest of our meat eating gang, I did not appreciate interchanging of such spoons and the general "sharing" that people in that age group are wont to do. I was in the minority of being the ONLY vegetarian and so it inevitably happened that everyone (and we had a gang of 7 with 4 of them being boys!) happily shared my dish. Of course, they "generously" offered to share their dish too, accompanied by a huge grin. Needless to say - I always got up from the table just half full!
On this particular day, this guy orders "Keema" and when it arrives, shares it with everyone. During the hustle bustle of college talk, he suddenly points at my plate, with a shocked face, shouts - "OMG! She is eating Keema!". I look down and sure enough there is some keema on my plate. I did not notice it there earlier and it still had bits of "Keema" thingies on it with the rest mixed in my food. I was nauseated and literally threw up, vowing to disown such ruthless and callous "friends". Well, after all that drama, it turns out that though it was indeed Keema, it was not the meat kind. It was Gobi Ka Keema (Mince/Keema made from cauliflower). And yes, they all had a non-stop-tears-from-the-eyes-rolling-on-the-floor laugh at my expense and did not fail to repeat to the point of boredom of how "My mind was the enemy not my tongue" and some $#%^$#^%.
I am sure if those guyz are reading my blog, they would laugh their hearts out till today and I pray/curse that their kids play some dirty tricks on them too!. Anyways, with nostalgic memories, I present to you my version of Keema Muttar Curry. I have used the spices that's normally used for making Keema but used cauliflower instead of Lamb. I don't know if it looks or tastes like a regular kheema but this dish sure is a wonderfully aromatic and well spiced with the peas providing color. It tastes even better the next day - trust me.
my kitchen notes
Prep Time: Under 15 min
Cook Time: 30 min to 1 hour
Serves: 4 people
Yield: Makes around 8 cups
- 500 grams Cauliflower
- 3 tbsp Ghee, divided - see Tips
- 1 large Onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves Garlic, or to taste, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp grated Ginger
- 2 large Tomatoes, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup Green Peas, see Tips
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon ground
- 1/4 tsp Cardamom powder
- 1/8 tsp Cloves ground
- 1 Bay leaf
- 2 tsp Kashmiri Chilli powder, or as per taste
- 2 tsp Cumin-Coriander powder
- 2 tsp Garam Masala
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Few sprigs of Cilantro
Tips1. Ghee: Ghee imparts a delicious rich flavor that it needs to compensate for some of the absent fat from its meat counterpart. To make this Vegan, you can replace it with regular cooking oil or coconut oil or any other medium available to you. You can also reduce the amount of fat in the recipe without life shattering results although I am going to recommend using it :)
2. Peas : I am using fresh peas hence I boiled it on the side before adding it to the recipe. But you can omit that when using frozen.
Grate the cauliflower.
In a skillet, heat 2 tbsp Ghee and saute the cauliflower for around 10 minutes
- or until it gets toasty and brown.
In the same skillet, add the remaining Ghee and saute the onions, garlic and ginger along with salt for around 5-6 minutes - or until its aromatic and onions are soft and slightly browned.
Next add the chopped tomatoes and bay leaf
and cook for around 5-8 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and get mushy. Add the turmeric, saute for a minute
and add about 1-1/4 cups of water. Let it come to a boil. Now add the rest of the spices
and cook until it comes together into a thick gravy. Takes around 5-6 minutes.
Add the boiled (or frozen) peas
and let it cook for another 5 minutes. I close the lid for the flavors and aroma to remain intact.
Add the toasted cauliflower
and combine well. Keep on medium flame for another 5-6 minutes for the flavors to mingle well.
Serve hot, with a garnish of cilantro. It goes well with rice based dishes and also with Indian flatbreads. We enjoyed it with plain whole wheat Kulcha. I usually enjoy any leftovers (they taste even better), stuffed in a toasted Pita bread with a side of yogurt. Filling and hearty :)
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