Pineapple Kheema (Indian Ground Beef Curry) with Kale and Panch Phoron is a flavorful, easy and delicious dinner easily made on a weeknight.
This is the last of the dishes I made prior to my surgery–and I am at my parents and realized I forgot my laptop charger. !!! Panic ensues. Thank goodness I have a husband who never forgets his, and has promised me I can use his laptop. But for now I am typing against the clock on a dim screen.
I have also gotten a little ahead of myself–I am at my parents because this weekend my sister is getting married! Hooray! Yet… yes when it rains it pours. I am still in pain, not sleeping well, and generally kind of crabby with the world.
The crabbiness actually started with this curry, amusingly enough. I made it 2 days before my surgery–and was not allowed to eat the day before my surgery, which meant I had to smell it when the leftovers were heated up for the rest of the family to enjoy. Look, I know I should be this generous and caring wife and mom who wants to make sure her family is well fed even if she cannot eat, but the honest truth is when this wife/momma don’t eat, ain’t nobody happy. Hangry describes me to a “T”.
About the curry itself. I have no proof or knowledge that it is traditional or authentic in the slightest. Panch phoron is a spice blend from Bengal, and I have no idea what Bengalis would think of eating pineapple in a kheema, but supplies were running kind of low because of the surgery, and pineapple is one of the few fruits or veggies that I like from a can and keep on hand to cook with. So I threw it together with Indian spices and aromatics, along with ground beef and some fresh kale from my parents’ garden, and we were really happy with the results.
- 1-2 T vegetable oil
- 2 t whole spice panch phoron
- 20 curry leaves
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup minced ginger
- 1/4 t ground turmeric
- 1/2 t paprika
- 1 t ground cumin
- 2 t ground coriander
- 3 t garam masala, divided
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
- 3-4 packed cups chopped kale
- 2 20-oz cans pineapple chunks in 100% pineapple juice, drained, juice reserved
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- juice of lemon or lime
- Heat the vegetable oil with the panch phoron on medium high heat in a heavy pot such as a Dutch oven. When the panch phoron is darkening and becomes fragrant, add the curry leaves (stand back! they will splatter).
- When the splatter slows, add the chopped onions with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized, about 15 minutes. If they start to scorch or stick, add a splash of water.
- Add the garlic and ginger, and cook another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the turmeric, paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander and 1 teaspoon of garam masala. Stir into the onions--cook for about 1 minute, stirring, until fragrant.
- Add the ground beef with a pinch of salt and stir into the onions. Keep cooking, stirring occasionally, until the beef id browned.
- Add the kale and cover with a lid for 15 seconds. Then stir the kale into the dish. Add the pineapple chunks and add about half of the juice. Stir, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cover. Let cook for 15 minutes to meld the flavors.
- Add chopped fresh mint, 2 tablespoons of lime or lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of garam masala. Taste for additional salt, garam masala (up to 1 teaspoon probably), pineapple juice and lemon or lime juice. Serve with Basmati rice.