While my sister was visiting, we went to my local farmer’s market together. Josie is always up for a good farmer’s market, and for our town size (and even one bigger really), ours is excellent. While we were browsing through my favorite produce stand, we were discussing what to make while she was here. Ever since she had her Indian food revelation (that she liked it!) I like cooking Indian food for her. So when I saw that they had mustard greens, I gravitated towards them.
She does not like mustard greens.
She wanted kale.
I do not like kale.
I ended up buying both. There is a lesson in here somewhere about trying foods and deciding you don’t like something after just 1 or 2 preparations, because I loved that kale in a fried rice I made, similar to this one, and Josie loved the mustard greens in this kheema.
There is also a lesson here about worrying about individual ingredients in certain preparations, where everything kind of blends together to create a new whole. That is definitely the case with this kheema, where the mustard greens, spinach, green garlic and cilantro are blended together. (It is also true for the cilantro, if you are a cilantro hater–blended and cooked cilantro in Indian food is entirely different from cilantro in a Mexican salsa.) At that stage they smelled like a new wonderful something, but still pungent from the mustard greens. After cooking in the kheema with the yogurt however, that pungency was toned down into a decidedly yummy new something yet again.
Would I be putting this recipe on the blog, my sister inquired? 🙂
10 oz spinach, roughly chopped
10 oz mustard greens, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped green garlic (scallions may be subbed)
2/3 cup chopped cilantro
1-2 T vegetable oil (use more oil if your meat is very lean)
2 heaping t dark mustard seeds
2 heaping t cumin seeds
2 T minced ginger
2 T minced garlic
2 onions, sliced
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1/2 t turmeric
1/2 t cayenne or paprika
2 lbs ground beef (can sub half turkey, chicken, pork, etc)
1 1/3 cup whole milk yogurt
1 1/2 t garam masala
1 T dark brown sugar
1 t amchur powder (sub the juice of one lemon or lime if you do not have)
Begin by heating a large wok or chef’s pan, anything with a lid, over medium heat. Add about 2 inches of water, and when it comes to a boil, add the spinach and mustard greens and cover with a lid. Tossing occasionally, let the greens cook until they are soft and wilted, but still bright green. Transfer them to a blender with some of the water (enough to make them blend easily). Add the green garlic and cilantro, and blend until smooth (it may be quite runny, which is fine). Set aside.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat, adding the oil when it is hot. Add the mustard seeds immediately and cover the pot loosely. The mustard seeds will pop much like popcorn–when they slow down, add the cumin seeds and stir for 10-20 seconds, until the cumin seeds are darkened and fragrant–do not let them burn. Add the onions with a hefty pinch of salt.
Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are dark and caramelized. Keep water by the stove to add if the onions seem to be sticking or scorching. This will take 10-15 minutes. Toward the end, add the garlic and ginger also. When the onions are dark enough (how dark they will get depends on the kind of onion you use, but they should be quite caramelized), add the ground cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne or paprika. Stir briefly and add the ground meat with another pinch of salt. Break the clumps up and stir fry the meat until it loses all pink.
Begin adding the yogurt, 2 tablespoons at a time, and stirring well after each addition. When all of the yogurt has been added, turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the reserved blended greens. Cook another 5 minutes and then add the garam masala, brown sugar and amchur powder (or lemon/lime juice if need by). Taste for additional salt and serve over basmati rice with a sweet, sour and spicy chutney (I used a plum chutney from our farmer’s market).