I’ve been totally slacking on the blog lately; so why not put together an Adventure in Domesticity? This is yet another exciting foray into Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey — one that was initially made because I had had no proteins in the kitchen except some ground beef. I had seen that there was an interesting recipe in the cook book involving ground lamb; so why not attempt it with beef instead? And so my love affair with this recipe began (not to be dramatic). After the jump, check out the dish in all its garam masala glory…
First things first: I attack an onion. Half of the onion get tossed in the Magic Bullet. The other half gets diced up on my cutting board.
Some ground beef defrosts in a bowl. The recipe calls for ground lamb, but I use beef because it’s easier to find and cheaper.
Joining the onion in the Magic Bullet are about four cloves of garlic, a piece of ginger, and some water. It all gets puréed until it becomes a fragrant paste.
Next, I toss in a standard melange of Indian spices: cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne. This all gets stirred in.
Some cloves and cardamom join the party.
In a large frying pan, I heat up some oil until it’s hot. Then I add the cloves and cardamom and let them sauté for about ten seconds.
The fun continues as I add the diced onions into the mix. I believe this is a medium-high flame.
Once the onions turn brownish, it’s time to move on to the next step…
I lower the heat down to medium and then add the spice paste to the pan. Insane aromas rapidly ensue.
After a few minutes, the mixture reduces in size. There’s some serious evaporation up in herre.
The ground beef goes in next. Ideally it’s not frozen, but even if it is frozen, just poke at it with a wooden spoon until it thaws.
Once there’s no more pinkness in the meat, it should all look like this. I add salt, cover, and reduce to low.
Meanwhile, Madhur Jaffrey recommends stuffing tomatoes with this beef mixture. Hence, the tomatoes above.
The tomatoes: gutted, salted, peppered, and ready to take the meat.
Up close and personal with a tomato.
Around twenty-five minutes later, I return to the beef. I add lemon juice, garam masala, and mint. Normally, I use fresh mint, but I’m without such things; so I resort to dried mint. Not ideal, but it still works.
After three more minutes of cooking, it’s totally acceptable to simply end things here and serve up this ground beef for the meal. However, since I’m attempting to stuff these tomatoes, I shall press onwards and upwards.
Before doing anything else, one must remove the cloves and cardamom (especially the cardamom). You don’t want to be biting down on those. This may take a few minutes as these spices tend to blend in with the beef (especially if you achieve any sort of browning on the meat). It’s definitely worth the effort to pluck them out.
Aaaaaand the tomatoes are stuffed.
The tomato hats are on. They go into the oven at 400 degrees for about twenty minutes.
During the downtime, I make a quick raita. This one is yogurt with cilantro, scallions, and serrano pepper, I believe. The more common one involves mint and cucumber instead. Either way, any sort of yogurt side works really well with this dish.
Behold: roasted, stuffed tomatoes!
Presentation has never been my strong point.
Yup. Just made it worse.
The Verdict: this ground beef is shockingly amazing. I remember the first time I had it — I thought it was just taste like, well, ground beef with some extra flavorings. No. It is much more than that. This beef is truly, truly delicious, and I have made it a number of times since.
This was my first time using it to stuff a tomato, and I have to be honest, the tomato actually detracted from the dish. It overpowered some of the flavors of the beef without really adding much texturally.
Since making the stuffed tomatoes, however, I have since made gyro-esque creations by stuffing some pita with the beef and topping with the yogurt, and that, my friends, is a winning combination. I’ve also stacked the beef on a bun (again, topping with yogurt) like a sloppy joe and met with success. Still, I think the pita situation is best. Also a truly great option: just eating the meat on its own. This is definitely an easy recipe and one of the best I’ve made.
If you want to make it yourself, check out the recipe here.