I never thought I would have a child who by the age of 4 (she’ll be 4 in June) calmly and correctly identified wood ticks. I don’t always feel calm when I see ticks! But except for one time in the middle of the night when she found one crawling on her (I think we can thank Delilah, who sleeps on Alex’s bed per Alex’s request for half the night)–that time she did come crying and upset. But she has found the last few that were crawling on me and just matter of factly announced it: “Hey Mommy, you have a tick on you.”
Yes we live in Wood Tick Central, although other than becoming tick blood donors, there is no particular risk here (i.e., no lyme disease and the Rocky Mountain Spotter Fever is from deer ticks). It is an adjustment for a person like me, especially after having lived in the northeast and thinking of ticks as the harbingers of doom. But oh the rewards! We’ve planted wildflower seeds throughout the fields (here’s to hoping they take), the Heritage River Birch we transplanted has some green buds on it so I am hoping he will survive, and we spent the evening down at the creek watching the dogs play tonight. Finnegan in particular is very offended by these trees that grow in or very near to the water. He spent the entire 30 minutes barking wildly and pawing/splashing at a tree root.
Anyhoo, about the title of this post. I don’t speak Hindi or any other Indian dialect so I am not sure what Safaid translates to–but if, as the English sub title implies, it means “white sauce” then I am not sure mine qualifies. As you all might remember from this post, I am not such a huge fan of any cuisine’s white sauces. So I tinkered, but only a little. I browned the onions more than called for and added more ginger and garlic, I used red onions, which turned the sauce more pink, I used some tomato paste, and I added peas, I just could not stop myself. Indian potato dishes always cry out for peas in my mouth.
You all might also remember that I am huge fan of keemas (also spelled kheemas), Indian dishes made with ground meat. They are very easy and so tasty. This one was no different, although I preferred it with some condiments (any chutney would probably work, I used a traditional tamarind-date chutney and a super hot mango relish, both storebought). Alex, John and I all really enjoyed this dish; Sammy was being a 2 year old, which is to say she did not eat much tonight, and that included the salad which she normally devours.
This dish comes from Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Cooking, which I finally acquired at Christmas (one of John’s gifts), and I am embarrassed to admit this is the first time I have used it, although I have other recipes bookmarked. She recommended freezing this dish in particular, and so with us leaving to go out of town soon, I doubled this recipe (as she suggests) and set aside enough for the 2 nights we will be home and froze the rest. Now we will have dinner waiting when we get home, always a relief after a traveling. The recipe as printed below is not doubled.
1-2 T vegetable oil
3 cups thinly sliced onions
1 head garlic, minced
3 inch piece of ginger, minced
1 T tomato paste
1 1/2 lbs ground beef (or lamb)
1 1/2 lbs baby redskin potatoes, cut in half or quartered, depending on size
1 1/4 t black cumin seeds (you can sub 1 t ground cumin if necessary)
1/3 t ground cloves
1/2 t ground cinnamon (cassia)
1/3 t paprika (or use all cayenne)
pinch of cayenne
2/3 cup whole fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk (I used 2% with a drizzle of cream to prevent curdling)
10 oz peas, fresh or frozen
salt to taste
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When it shimmers, add the onions with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, for 15 minutes or until caramelized. Add the ginger and garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 additional minute and then add the ground beef.
Cook the ground beef, breaking up clumps, until loses any pink color and is browning. Add all of the remaining ingredients (Sahni says to add the cumin powder last if you are not using the black cumin seeds). Stir briefly and then add 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 35-45 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.
Add the peas (if they are raw, cook until done–but I always use frozen so I just heat through). Taste for salt. Serve with flatbread or basmati rice (I always do rice, flatbread is mroe traditional but much mroe work) and some hot, sour and sweet chutneys.
Sahni notes that upon thawing and reheating, this dish will thicken when frozen and you may need to thin it with a drizzle of milk.