if there is one thing i would like to do more of in twenty ten, it would be to cook more pakistani food. i’ve always been intimidated by pakistani cooking. it really isn’t as complicated as it seems. there is a fair bit of chopping involved (especially onions sliced very thinly) and the spices should always be fresh so storing in air tight jars as well as frequently checking the spice cupboard are a necessity. but generally pakistani food is a lot more forgiving on the chopping and peeling of veggies especially if they are going to masked in a curry. i have found that there are several important elements of pakistani cuisine: making sure that onions brown slowly and evenly, ‘bhuno-fying’ (sautéing meat until it is well cooked and browned) is what brings out its flavourful, without ‘dhamm’ (steaming with a cloth wrapped around the lid to make sure it fits perfectly and absorbs any liquid) rice will never reveal itself fully and scrimping on oil in dishes that call for it reduces the quality of the dish.
i am fairly confident at making peas pulao now so this weekend i forayed into new territory. this weekend i was craving keema mutter (minced beef cooked with spices and peas) so i put myself to the task using a recipe from fauzia’s pakistani recipes, a great online repository for beginners like me. i took my time over softening the onions in oil and adding the medley of spices and frying them to release their aromas and concentrate their flavours. i did play around with the recipe a bit so instead of cutting the garlic and ginger i pounded it in a mortar and pestle with coriander seeds instead of the powder. i find that bruised and bashed seeds are more intense than the powdered version. i also added a bay leaf when simmering the mince and once simmered the stir fried it for a couple of minutes to give it dark brown colour.
i used twenty per cent fat mince as mum always told me that a little bit of a fat won’t kill and adds more flavour. i have to agree with her. but i did put less oil than fauzia called for and it still tasted almost like my mum’s.
till the next time...