One of my favorite ethnic comfort foods is keema mattar, a scrumptious Pakistani/North Indian dish starring ground meat and peas. This is my adaptation of Shahnaz Ahmad’s recipe from One Big Table, a fabulous cookbook I recommend to anyone who likes something interesting on their plate.
2 lb. ground meat (I used beef, lamb is very commonly used, and I suspect you could
even use soy crumbles to decent effect with a little oil added for the initial step)
1 large onion, finely-chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cayenne
¼ c. oil
2 c. peas (I just use frozen peas, thawed)
2 plum tomatoes, finely-chopped
1 serrano pepper, finely-chopped (I always de-seed peppers, too, to reduce the heat level)
1 ½ tsp. grated ginger
1½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
Chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish (cilantro’s more authentic, but not for me)
Mix meat, onion, garlic, salt, cayenne, and turmeric together and cook on medium-high in a heavy pot, breaking up to create a fine texture. Cover and cook on medium-low for 15-20 minutes. Add oil and cook another 5 minutes, stirring. Add peas, tomatoes, serrano, and ginger. Cover and cook 5-7 minutes. Add cumin and coriander. Serve, over rice or with naan or bhatura, garnished with cilantro or parsley. A side of raita is nice to have on hand and I like a cucumber salad with it, too. Chop up a mango for an easy dessert. Serves 6-8.