Saturday, January 12, 2008

Pakistani Kima

Gone are the days of plain old spaghetti and red sauce. No more spaghetti that is white and limp and pasty, plastered with red sauce with no texture, flavour, or spice, resembling the tomato less than it reminds you of caulk or grout. Replace that with beautiful Pakistani Kima: fragrant, colourful, slightly spicy, set atop steaming brown or red rice.

I made this dish for myself and my roommate and we ate off of it for four meals, a few of those meals consisting of two hearty helpings each. This will freeze well and reheats beautifully for those long days at the office or in the library. The flavours of the curry, cinnamon, and ginger mingle and develop as it chills out in your fridge.

As this was my first time with Kima I followed the recipe directly from the More with Less cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre. Having just celebrated its 25th birthday, I received the anniversary edition of this cookbook from my future sister-in-law for Christmas. The first 20 pages are packed full of helpful tips to cut down on your grocery bill by taking simple steps to learn the basics of a frugal kitchen: buying in bulk, making your own sauces, balancing meat consumption with environment-friendly and socially-conscious use of alternative proteins such as soybeans, and lentils. More with Less has impressed me deeply on my first read-through; it was originally published in 1976, making the author's eye to social responsibility through setting our own kitchens "in order" quite progressive. And, with an emphasis on the joyful and grateful attitude with which we should approach food-making and food-sharing, this cookbook reminds us that even the kitchen cannot escape our theology; if we truly believe that we are to feed the hungry, we have to start by feeding our friends and family real food. I'm eager to experiment with other ways of revolutionizing my kitchen: making your own bisquick, substituting natural sweeteners in high-sugar recipes, and buying supplies such as flour, grains, and spices in bulk a few times a year.

May your kitchen truly be the heart of your home!

- ODG.

Pakistani Kima (serves 6)

Sauté in a skillet:
3 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, minced
When the mixture turns fragrant, add:
1 pound of lean ground beef
Brown it well. Then add your spices directly to the hot oil in the bottom of the pan to "open" them up:
1 Tbsp yellow curry powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
dash each cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric (all ground)
Once that's all stirred in, add:
2 cups cooked tomatoes (2 small or 1 large can diced tomatoes, with their juice!)
2 diced potatoes (I used two large russets and it was a little potato heavy, but very hearty)
2 cups frozen peas or green beans
Cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Serve over brown or red rice.

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