Saturday, July 18, 2015

Keema Gobi - Shredded Cabbage & Minced Meat

Keema Gobi
Mum was a working, single mother of eight. She has been my mentor all my life and inspires me in the kitchen, my home and in my day-to-day life. I believe that even though she's busy with the challenges in the next world, she is by my side just as she was when she was here.

When we were growing up in Darjeeling, India, week days flew by in a hive of activity of going to school, doing our homework and socializing with friends. Weekends were very special because Mum would do the cooking and even though we were on a tight budget, we ate very well. The pressure cooker was our friend and went everywhere with us. We spent the winters in Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) and our pressure cooker accompanied us on our close-to 24-hour train journey. Life could not go on without that essential tool in the kitchen.

So many dishes come to mind when I think of Mum in the kitchen. She was very adventurous and made complex (Lobster Thermidor) and labour-intensive (Yakhni Pulao) recipes, all of which we were eager to assist with and loved. 

This is a deconstruction of a recipe she made with cabbage stuffed with minced meat. She would cut a head of cabbage in half and remove part of the inside which she chopped up and cooked with the minced meat. She would cook the meat and chopped cabbage with spices, onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes and stuff the cabbage halves with the cooked meat, tie the whole head of cabbage with kitchen twine and brown it in the pressure cooker in hot oil. The pressure cooker would then be heated to full pressure and the contents cooked without any water for 10-15 minutes. The resulting slices of cabbage were something to behold, our home was filled with tantalizing aromas and it was so delicious to eat!

I took the lazy person's way out and simply shredded the cabbage and cooked it along with the minced meat in the pressure cooker. Still delicious and evoked so many memories of Mum and our idyllic childhood.

1 head of cabbage, cut in 4 wedges and shredded
1 lb. minced beef, lamb or chicken
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 tsp. shah jeera/cumin seeds
1 large onion, diced
1 Tbsp. ginger paste
1 Tbsp. garlic paste
3 medium tomatoes, diced
2 serrano peppers, optionally deseeded & minced
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. Kashmiri mirch/paprika/chili power or to taste
1 bunch cilantro stems and leaves, chopped
salt to taste

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat and sputter cinnamon, star anise & shah jeera.
  2. Add onions and stir-fry until translucent.
  3. Stir in ginger & garlic pastes, tomatoes, peppers, garam masala and paprika.
  4. Fry until oil resurfaces and add minced meat.
  5. Cook meat until is browned, add cilantro and salt to taste.
  6. Add the shredded cabbage and give it a good stir.
  7. Cover the pressure cooker and bring to full pressure, reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove cooker from heat and allow pressure to fully dissipate.
  9. Stir again and transfer to a serving dish.
Serve with steamed basmati/jasmine rice or Indian bread. 

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