Mortar and pestle
In this age of readymade packaged food and our increasing dependance on them because of lack of time, I still find it rather satisfying and healthy to opt for most things homemade over packaged. Especially ingredients like – ginger paste or garlic paste. These ingredients – used not more than a tablespoon at a time – are not that unassuming enough to resort to the readymade option – one because readymade ones lack the flavour and – they contain preservatives. The main purpose of ginger and garlic being used in a dish is not only to add flavour but also they are excellent digestives. And whatever said and done – the readymade ones are not doing that! Try using fresh ingredients and you will never go back!
This is where a mortar and pestle comes to your rescue to pound fresh ingredients whenever and as much as you require. This little manual cooking utensil is quite an essential in the kitchen. It can pound dry ingredients and make various pastes like the one we are going to use in this recipe – ginger-garlic and green chilli paste. I use it often to pound black peppercorns, which add a beautiful spicy peppery touch to various dishes. And its flavours are best when pounded fresh. A mortar and pestle is usually the first thing I use in my kitchen in the morning to make my morning adrak chai or elaichi chai – or both (craving already!!)
So much said – you can say I am quite obsessed with my mortar and pestle! But hey – it’s the little things that add big flavours!
I also feel an Indian kitchen looks complete with this small hint of antiquity sitting in the corner.
1. Mutton keema – 200 gms
2. Onion – 1 large
3. Tomato – 2 large
4. Potato – 1 large
5. Ginger – 1 inch piece
6. Garlic – 4-5 cloves
7. Green chillies – 2 medium
8. Coriander leaves – 2 tbsp
9. Bay leaf (Tej patta) – 2
10. Cinnamon stick (Dalchini) – 2 inch stick
11. Turmeric powder (Haldi) – 1/2 tsp
12. Asafoetida (Hing) – 1 tsp
13. Cumin seeds (Jeera) – 1 tsp
14. Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
15. Meat masala – 1 tsp
16. Coriander powder (Dhania powder) – 1 tsp
17. Salt – 1 tsp or to taste
Chop the onions finely. Grate the tomatoes to a paste.
Peel the ginger and roughly chop the green chillies. Add the ginger to a mortar and pestle. Also add the garlic cloves and green chillies. Now start pounding the three to a paste. Keep the ginger-garlic-green chillies paste aside.
Take a saucepan and start to heat it up. Add the oil let it become hot.
To the hot oil, add the cumin seeds (jeera) and allow it to splutter for a few seconds. Now lower the heat and add the asafoetida (hing).
Add the bay leaf (tej patta) and cinnamon stick (dalchini) and fry for a few seconds.
Now add the finely chopped onions. Keep the heat low and fry the onions to a nice golden brown colour.
Once onions are browned, carefully remove the cinnamon stick and the 2 bay leaf.
Now add the grated tomatoes along with the masalas – turmeric powder (haldi), red chilli powder, coriander powder (dhania powder), meat masala and salt. Mix the tomatoes and masalas well. Cover the pan and cook on low heat until the oil starts to separate.
Now add the mutton keema and mix well. Lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook for about 5-8 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and chop the potato into medium size cubes.
After about 5-8 minutes, add a cup of hot water to the saucepan along with the chopped potatoes. Mix well.
Now cover the pan and cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and the mutton keema is cooked.
Check the seasoning and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Serve the keema potato with chapatti and raita.