Qeema (Keema) Mushroom

BM #114 : Week 4, Day 2
Theme : A-Z theme, Curries

Today’s alphabet is Q and a curry starting with that alphabet is not an easy find :-). So I have gone for an alternate spelling of Keema/Kheema here. Qeema means minced/ground meat and the curry made using it is also called qeema. There are a lot of options available now for vegetarians by substituting the meat with soya or mushrooms or tofu. It’s not technically speaking qeema, since there is no meat. But recipe is same as the one for meat, so it’s called vegetarian qeema.

Coming to the recipe here, I went for the mushroom qeema since that’s what I had. Expect for the qeema part, the base is the same onion and tomato gravy with the regular masalas. But the finely minced mushrooms lended a completely different taste to the curry.

There are many ways to prepare this curry. The one I followed suggested cooking the mushrooms first and mincing it using a blender. A food processor would work well too. If you are using a blender make sure that you don’t puree the mushrooms and are just make a very coarse mix to resemble qeema.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 200 gms mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1.5 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 cup green peas, optional
  • salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves to sprinkle

Method:

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add sliced mushrooms. Sauté until it’s cooked. Strain and reserve the water. Remove the mushrooms to a bowl and wait for it to cool completely. Once it’s cooled down, pulse couple of times in a blender to get a very roughly chopped mix. Be careful not to puree it. Set aside for now.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the same pan. Add finely chopped onions and sauté until it turns pink. Add the ginger garlic paste, chopped tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the masala powders now – chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt. Add green peas too, if using. Mix well and cook until tomatoes are very soft and completely mushy.
  3. Now add the coarse ground mushrooms to this. Add the reserved water and mix well. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until the curry reaches the consistency you prefer, taste test and adjust seasonings. Remove from the heat and serve with rice or roti.

Moong dal with Dill leaves

BM #106: Week 1, Day 1
Theme : Packed Lunchboxes

My husband’s lunchbox and my son’s lunchbox are completely different. My husband prefers rice and my son doesn’t like rice. I serve rice to my son when he is back from school and pack something light for his lunchbox. Pasta is the only thing they agree on.

Here is a sample of my husband’s lunch. I usually pack a salad or a cooked vegetable on the side, but I was out of time to do so. Dal with dill leaves is a recipe I learnt from my friend and I love it.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: My friend Devi

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup moong dal
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 green chilies, roughly chopped
  • 1″ piece ginger, grated or minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt as needed
  • 1 cup chopped dill leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

Method:

  1. Wash the dal and pressure cook with the diced tomatoes, onions, chilies , ginger, garlic and turmeric powder. Add about 2.5 cups of water or until the dal is completely submerged and water floats about an inch on top. Pressure cook for 6 whistles (6 minutes in Manual setting in Instant Pot) or until the dal is cooked completely. I use pot in pot method. Let the pressure release naturally.
  2. Heat ghee in a pan and add cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add the cooked dal. Add salt as needed and garam Masala. Roughly chop the dill leaves and add it to the dal. Let everything cook together for a couple of minutes. You can add more water if the dal is dry. Taste test, adjust seasonings. Take off the heat and serve with rice, pickle and chips.

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Beans porial with fennel seeds

BM #105: Week 3, Day 1
Theme : Easy side dishes for rice/roti

Rice is the staple dish for South Indians. We serve it everyday for lunch and even for dinner some days. Rice is served along with a gravy like sambar and a vegetable on the side. The sambar and the prepared vegetable are different everyday to keep the food interesting.

Beans is usually prepared once a week. I usually stir fry the beans and once cooked add shredded coconut on top and call it a day. But I was served this version which had ground fennel seeds and I loved the flavor. So now I have a small batch of ground fennel seeds at home, just to make this particular dish. This also starts off with sautéed onions and tomatoes as the base, again a deviation from normal for me. You can replace green beans with the yardlong beans/ karamani beans too.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: My friend Purnima

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups of cut green beans (about 1/2″ long pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt as needed
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • Method:
    1. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and once it has stopped popping, add the onions. Sauté until the onions turn pink. Now add the chopped tomatoes. Mix it in and add the spice powders and salt. Cover and cook in medium to low heat, until the tomatoes are mushy.
      Add the chopped beans. Mix it in and cover and cook, stirring in between, until the beans are done. You might have to sprinkle a little water if the curry sticks to the bottom of the pan. Taste test and adjust the seasonings, if preferred.
      Turn off the heat. Now add the crushed fennel seeds and mix it in. Cover and set aside. Serve with rice and sambar of your choice.

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    Palak Paneer

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    Palak paneer is one of my son’s favorite dishes and that is an achievement indeed. He hates rice, but when I think about it, even I wasn’t a big fan of rice or  koottu or most South Indian foods at his age  . I wouldn’t protest since I didn’t know any better, but I didn’t exactly love the food I was served either. And look at me now…I love all foods and South Indian is my favorite. So maybe it’s just a game of not giving up now and feeding him even though he eats with a look of martyrdom and a loud sigh. And hope that he will learn to love it as time passes by.

    But some recipes are his favorites. Palak paneer is one of those. Even if you serve it with rice, there are no complaints. There is obvious delight and no questions are asked. I won’t say that I make it regularly, but I do make it at least once a month. Don’t want to jinx the special status of the dish by making it regularly. 

    I used to try my friend’s recipe for a long time, but now found another recipe at this site and that’s what I have been making for the past couple of times. Basically it’s spinach cooked with ginger, green chilies, garlic and onion. A few more items and the dish is complete. Palak paneer is a mild dish and you usually don’t add a lot of spice powders, letting the spinach shine over everything else. 

    Read on for the recipe. This serves about 4-5 people. 

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    Serves 4-5 people

    Ingredients:

    • 1 Tablespoon ghee
    • 1/2 teaspoon jeera
    • 1″ piece of ginger, chopped fine
    • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
    • 2 green chilies, chopped
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 medium tomato, chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder or per taste
    • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder 
    • A pinch of ground nutmeg 
    • 1/4 cup thick yogurt, optional
    • 2 bunches of spinach, about 600gms, chopped roughly 
    • 200 gms paneer 
    • 2-3 tablespoons of cream, optional

    Method:

    1. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter or oil in a pan. Add 1/2 teaspoon of jeera seeds. Once it changes color, add 1″ piece of chopped ginger, couple of chopped green chillies and 3-4 crushed or chopped garlic cloves. Once this turns golden in color, add one roughly chopped medium onion. Sauté until it turns pink. 
    2. Chop and add one medium tomato to the sautéed onions. Let it cook for a couple of minutes. Add all the spices – 1/2 teaspoon each of turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, a pinch of ground nutmeg and salt as needed. Cook for a further minute or two. 
    3. Add 1/4 cup of yogurt and mix well. You can switch off the heat and let the curry cool a bit before adding the yogurt if you want. I didn’t do that. 
    4. Add 3 bunches of spinach, about 750 gms, that’s roughly chopped and cook until it shrinks in size and is wilted. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Take off the heat and let it cool down. 
    5. Purée this mixture in a blender. Now add it back to the pan and bring it to a slow simmer. Add the cubed paneer pieces as well and let it cook together for a few minutes. You can add a few tablespoons of cream if you wish. Take off the heat and serve hot with chapati or jeera rice. 

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