Mince is such a versatile ingredient to work with. It is not limited to just burgers, meatballs, filling for pan rolls and potato chops/puffs, shepherd’s pie or lasagne but depending on its preparation, it can be used in a variety of dishes; mains or sides. I ensure that I have beef mince always stacked in my freezer; it comes very handy to make cutlets, meat ball curry or just a side-dish. Our preference at home would be for beef mince, I don’t really buy chicken mince. I was chatting with my cousin over the weekend and we got talking about chicken mince recipes, that’s how this dish came about.
I have my mum-in-law visiting and she doesn’t eat beef so this was a perfect dish to make; surprisingly I had chicken mince in the freezer, I had planned to make some chicken mince last week for my nephew who doesn’t eat beef but I didn’t get down to cooking it. I have cooked this in a pressure cooker (5 minutes on low heat after the 1st whistle) but you can cook it in a pot. Tastes yum with chapattis or some jeera rice.
Do give it a try.
½ kg chicken mince, washed and drained.
1 tbsp. oil
1 tbsp. ghee
1 tsp. cumin (jeera) seeds, 1 bay leaf
8 peppercorns, 4-6 cloves, 3-4 small cardamoms, 1 large cardamom, 1-piece cinnamon
2 large onions, chopped fine
1 tbsp. ginger/garlic paste
2 large tomatoes pureed (see note)
4 tbsp. yoghurt, whipped
½ tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. chilli powder
1 tbsp. coriander powder
2 tsp. kasuri methi
6-8 large mint leaves, chopped
2-3 green chillies, slit
½ cup of chopped coriander leaves, reserve some for garnish
1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
Salt to taste
½ tsp. of sugar (see note)
¼ cup of frozen peas (optional)
½ cup hot water
A squeeze of lemon juice
- Heat oil and ghee, add the bay leaf, cumin seeds and all the full spices (from pepper to cinnamon) and sauté for a few seconds. Next add the chopped onions with a bit of salt and sugar and sauté. Halfway through the process, add the ginger garlic paste and sauté till the raw flavour is gone.
- Now add the spice powders and sauté for 45 seconds to a minute (do not let the spices burn). Add the mince and mix well till incorporated with the onion and spice mixture. Ensure there are no lumps. Continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
- Next add the green chillies, kasuri methi, mint leaves and part of the coriander leaves and mix well followed by the tomato puree, whipped yoghurt, water and salt.
- Add the frozen peas (if using) and cook till peas and mince are done. When nearly done add the garam masala powder and cook for a further couple of minutes.
- Switch off flame. Squeeze some lemon juice and mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with chapattis or with jeera rice.
- To ensure that there are no lumps in the mince add a couple of tbsp. of water to the raw mince and mix well.
- I like to add a bit of salt and sugar when frying the onions as it helps in caramelizing the onions.
- You can use store bought tomato puree or prepare at home – for home-made: make a small cross on the tomato, blanch the tomatoes for 30 seconds, peel off the skin and blend. I sometimes use the canned roma tomatoes and crush these roughly. This works well too.
- Peas make a good addition in terms of taste and colour. I do not use peas as my daughter is not fond of it.
- You can also add some finely chopped coloured capsicum before adding the garam masala.
- Don’t skip the lemon juice.