Kheema – ground turkey, beef or chicken

Kheema is a staple Indian dish and just so versatile. Nilesh, as a bachelor, made a huge pot of kheema and had it with pasta, with chapatis, or rice..he almost always seemed to be having kheema for a meal. Now we also use it in patties, empanadas, shepherd’s pie, and potato chops. Make a large pot and then package it into ziplock bags, frozen for another day and another dish!

This is my mum’s recipe. The secret ingredient which made her dish stand out was the addition of vinegar and sugar! You won’t be disappointed.

Servings:6

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey (or other meat – cooking time for non turkey options will vary )
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced fine
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced fine
  • 2 heaped tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 heaped tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp kasuri methi (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Method:

  • Heat oil in a large pan
  • When oil simmers, add in the chopped onion, garlic and ginger
  • Turn the flame to low and stirring occasionally, let the mix cook 3 minutes until onions are translucent and soft
  • Add spices (except vinegar, salt and sugar) and fry for 1 minute on low flame
  • Add the meat, fry for 5 minutes
  • Add the vinegar, salt, sugar
  • Cook for 15 mins on low flame
  • Sprinkle in kasuri methi and cilantro, stir and cook for another minute
  • Serve hot with chapatis. Use leftovers to make shepherd’s pie or potato chops

Lentils with spinach – dal palak

This nutritional lentil dish packs an additional punch thanks to the addition of spinach. It’s vegetarian, gluten free and low fat giving you all the benefits of lentils (good protein, digestive health, weight loss etc.) and spinach (weight loss, eye health, anticancer and immunity boosting). Have it as a soup, over rice or scoop it up with a chapati.

Servings: 4. Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas or yellow lentils)
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (or olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 5 garlic cloves minced fine
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, diced fined
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups water

Method:

  • Start the instant pot or pressure cooker or ninja foodi in Saute mode
  • Heat the oil/ghee
  • Add in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and let them splutter for 10 seconds
  • Add garlic, let it splutter for 10 seconds
  • Add chopped tomatoes, spices and fry for 30 seconds
  • Add in the lentils, stir and add in water
  • Close lid of cooker and change mode to pressure cook
  • Pressure cook for 15 minutes
  • Let the pressure release naturally
  • Open the lid and add in the spinach and lime juice. Stir well and let us rest for 3-4 minutes, covered. The spinach will melt
  • Serve as a soup, over rice or with chapatis

Tuvar Dal (Pigeon-Pea lentils)

While growing up, dal, or lentils, was a staple part of a meal. Tuvar dal, moong daal, chana dal, it didn’t matter. There were so many different recipes, and all were so nutritious and delicious. When you were sick, you had a simple dal soup, and on occasions, you had some more complex recipes. This recipe is a staple in our home. It’s flavorful and can be just had with rice. On some days, the perfect accompaniment to dal and rice is fried fish, stuffed with red masala…..but more on that fried fish later!

Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup tuvar/tur dal rinsed
  • 3/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large tomato, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • .5 tsp red chili powder
  • .5 tsp garam masala powder
  • .5 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • Salt, to taste
  • Optional: 1 tsp lime juice

Method:

  • In a pressure cooker, or Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot (both on sear setting) heat oil
  • When oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds, they will splutter
  • Add in the onion, ginger and garlic and fry for 2 minutes until onions are soft and translucent
  • Add in the tomato and fry for 2 minutes
  • Add in the dry powders and stir for another minute
  • Add in the dal and 2.5 cups of water along with the salt
  • Put the pressure cooker lid on (for Foodi or Instant Pot, turn setting to Pressure cook and put timer to 16 minutes)
  • Pressure cook for 16 minutes
  • When done, wait until the lid can be safely removed. You can change the consistency of the daal by adding more water
  • Stir in the cilantro leaves (and lime juice, if using) and serve with rice or chapatis

Sauteed cabbage

My nana Helen had the simplest of vegetarian recipes but they were always absolutely delicious so much so that even as kids we enjoyed eating the vegetables she cooked. This dish is one of those…simple, vegan, low sodium, low carb and full of flavor. Try this and you will be rethinking cabbage!

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups Cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup Green Peas (I used frozen)
  • 1 small Red Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1/2 tap Turmeric Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon /Lime Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds (see note)
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds (see note)
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • Salt, to taste (optional for low-sodium recipes)

Note: this dish tastes delicious even without mustard and cumin seeds and I’ve made it with and without those two ingredients

Method:

  1. In a work or large pan, heat oil
  2. When oil is hot, add in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and red chili flakes
  3. When they splitter, add in the onions
  4. Turn flame to medium, saute the onions for 1-2 minutes until the onions turn soft and translucent
  5. Add the cabbage, tomato and carrots. Stir. Add the turmeric and salt
  6. Turn flame to low. Cover and cook for 2 minutes
  7. Remove lid and add the green peas. Cover the pan again and cook for 2 minutes
  8. Remove the lid, add the lime juice and cilantro, stir and then turn off the flame
  9. Serve hot with naan, chapatis or with my mom’s pilaf

Goan Beef Curry (Ninja Foodi / Stove Top / Pressure Cooker)

Every Sunday morning after 6:30am mass, we’d go to see Nana and Papa (my maternal grandparents) who lived close to the church. The best part was the breakfast that followed – hot parathas, sunny-side up eggs, with beef “sidish” (i.e. curry). And Marie biscuits to dip into a cup of tea. But I digress. I didn’t realize a sidish actually meant side-dish until much later when I moved to North America. Nana’s beef side-dish, was a thick beef curry – spicy, tangy, and so delicious and the perfect accompaniment to eggs and parathas. It also made a great meal with a side of cauliflower and her aromatic rice pilaf.

SERVINGS: 4 – 6

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 2 tsp Cumin seeds
  2.  2 inches Cinnamon stick
  3.  10 cloves
  4.  10 black peppercorns
  5. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  6. 1 tsp red chili powder
  7. 8 large garlic cloves (peeled and roughly chopped)
  8. 2 inch ginger piece (peeled and roughly chopped)
  9. 1/2 onion (roughly chopped)
  10. 3 tbsp vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar one I run out of my stock of Goa vinegar. Regular vinegar works too)
  11. 2 medium potatoes (chopped into large cubes)
  12. 1 serrano pepper (or 2 green chilies (Indian or Thai) slit long
  13.  1 tsp sugar
  14. 3 tbsp oil
  15. salt to taste
  16. 2 lbs stewing beef
  17. Water

Method:

  1. For the ground masala:
    • In a small food processor, grind the first 6 ingredients until smooth
    • Add to that ingredients 7 through 10 and grind until smooth
  2. Add oil to a medium-sized non-stick pan or in a pressure cooker. When oil is hot, add in the ground masala, (keep the food processor aside, you’ll need it later) and fry on medium flame, until you see the oil start to separates from the ground masala – you’ll see it on the edges of the masala. About 2-3 minutes
  3. Add the beef chunks to the masala, stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes
  4. Add half a cup of water to the food processor, swirling to get any masala remnants and then add to the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes
  5. If using a pan to cook on stove-top:
    • Add 2 cups of water, stir gently, bring to a boil, then cover and cook for 20 minutes
    • After 20 minutes, remove cover, add the potatoes, salt and sugar, and cook for 20 minutes
    • Go to step 7
  6. If using a pressure cooker:
    • Add another half cup of water, stir gently
    • Add cover of pressure cooker
    • Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes
    • When the time is up, immediately release the pressure
    • When the pressure has been released, add in the potatoes, salt and sugar. Place the pressure lid on and turn the valve to seal. Pressure cook on high for 4 minutes
    • When done, immediately release the pressure
  7. Check meat for tenderness
  8. Adjust the salt, if you like
  9. Serve with Goan pav, bread, over rice, or with chapatis/parathas