Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Aarti Party in my kitchen

One of my favorite shows is Next Food Network Star - I feel like it's one of the few reality/competition shows that still focuses on what's important (um hello, the FOOD!) and mostly avoids mind-numbingly dumb drama. [SPOILER ALERT] I'm excited that Jeff won this year, I can't wait to try out some of his terrific Sandwich King recipes. I'm also a fan of last season's winner, Aarti Sequiera - she's so genuine and loveable, I'm really glad she won and is now sharing her love of Indian food with the masses.

Having recently scored a huge knob of fragrant, spicy ginger, I knew I wanted to use it in something with the classic Indian spices I already had. Although at some point I'd like to attempt Chicken Tikka Masala or Indian Butter Chicken, the ingredient lists and number of steps can be impossibly long - and last night, I wanted something a little simpler. Aarti's recipe for Kheema looked quick and straightforward and got great reviews, so I decided to go with it, swapping turkey for beef. Bonus - no trip to the grocery store needed!

It's kind of like an Indian-style shepard's pie (minus the pie part)

Kheema (Indian Ground Beef / Turkey with Peas)
adapted from Aarti Sequiera (original recipe here)

2 T olive oil

1 medium onion or 1/2 large onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch thumb fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 t ground coriander
1 t paprika
1/2 t garam masala
1/2 t ground cumin
1/4 t cayenne
1 T tomato paste
1 pkg ground turkey (1-1 1/4 lbs)
1/2 large sweet potato (about 1 1/2 c), chopped into 1/2" pieces
1/3 c water
1 t kosher salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c frozen peas, thawed
2 t apple cider vinegar
1 t frozen chopped cilantro (if you have fresh, use about 1/4 c chopped)

In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium, then add the onions and cook until golden. Add the garlic and ginger, and saute for another minute. Stir in the spices (coriander, paprika, garam masala, cumin, cayenne) and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the spices have toasted and the onion/garlic/ginger mixture has taken on a deep color and fragrance. Add the tomato paste and really work it into the mixture, stirring and cooking for another 2 minutes.

Add the turkey, breaking up lumps with a spoon, and saute for about 5 minutes (meat will not be done yet). Add the sweet potatoes and stir to combine, then season with salt and pepper and cook another 2-3 minutes. Next, turn up the heat to medium-high and add the water, then simmer covered for about 3-5 minutes until potatoes are cooked through. Remove the cover and add the frozen peas, vinegar and cilantro. Stir to incorporate everything, allowing to cook for another minute (the peas will warm through in this time). 
For serving: I spooned this on top of oat groats I'd cooked overnight in the slow cooker earlier this week, but you can serve with rice, naan or even tortillas.


  1. I'm also a huge fan of Aarti's!!!! She really makes Indian food look easy. I know it's good, but I've never made it because I wasn't familiar with the ingredients, especially the spices. She's changed all that. The recipe you adapted of her's looks fantastic! Definitely will be giving it a try. If you haven't tried her Massage Kale Salad, please do. We're so addicted to it that we make it once a month! Great website!

  2. Thanks for stopping by MJ! I'll have to try the salad, I do love kale - and there's so much at the farmer's market these days!

  3. I LOVE Shepherds pie, so this is a must try for me.
    Holy Cannoli Recipes