Aloo Kheema and Vegetable Pulao
(Spicy ground beef with potato and seasoned rice)
Aloo Kheema is the easiest of the Pakistani dishes to learn to make and about the fastest to prepare. Pair the kheema dish with the seasoned rice, Pullao, and you can have an authentic Pakistani/Indian dinner on the table in less than 45 minutes. I use whole spices in my recipe so I know I am not inadvertently adding gluten to my dishes. There are several sources for ground gluten free spices that you may want to use for the Turmeric and Paprika. I use Spicely Organic Spices which are gluten free.
Aloo Kheema (Spicy ground beef with potato)
2 lbs. ground beef lean
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tbsp. garlic ginger paste
2 black cardomen pods
4 green cardomen pods
½ tsp. cumin seeds
½ tsp. black onion seeds
½ tsp. coriander seeds
4 whole cloves
2 inch stick of cinnamon, broken into smaller pieces
10 black peppercorns
1 tbsp. turmeric
2 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1-2 jalapenos (or to taste), whole
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
½ cup plain yogurt
3 medium potatoes, cubed
Small palm full of dried Methi leaves (add at very end)
Soften chopped onion in several tablespoons of olive oil and add in ground beef, stir onion into meat and allow meat to turn light brown. Add spices, jalapenos, and garlic-ginger paste. Continue to cook and stir till all ingredients are incorporated and meat is completely browned.
Add in tomatoes, yogurt and enough water to cover the meat. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 20 minutes. Then add potatoes and cook, covered, till tender. Turn up heat and boil off any additional water remaining.
Add methi leaves and stir completely.
Garnish the final dish with some fresh onion, tomatoes, and diced ginger.
Vegetable Pulao (Seasoned rice with vegetables)
3 cups Basmati rice, washed and soaked
1 medium onion, chopped
3 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 stick cinnamon
3 cardomen pods
½ tsp. fennel seed
½ tsp. cumin seed
½ tsp. black cumin seed
3 pieces whole mace
½ tsp. ajwain
1 black cardomen pod
3 whole dried red chilies
6-8 ounces Frozen mixed vegetables
Rinse the rice in several changes of water and then cover and soak till ready to cook.
Cook onion over medium high heat in several tablespoons of olive oil till the onion is a light golden brown. Add in whole spices and bouillon cubes and cook about a minute. Add 1 cup water and simmer until bouillon cubes are dissolved and onions are soft. Mixture should be a dark golden brown color.
At this point remove from heat and add in rice spreading in an even layer over the onion mixture.
To determine the quantity of water to add, I use a method taught to me which gives me great results every time. Add the water to the rice until you have enough water above the layer of rice so that when you stick your finger into the rice (clean finger, please) and rest it on the rice, the water level will reach to the crease of the first knuckle on the first finger. You may want to take several measurements this way making sure that the rice is spread evenly in the pan when measuring the water quantity. If you don’t feel comfortable with this method of measuring, then the rice typically takes a 1 to 2 measure of rice to water, so for 3 cups rice use 6 cups of water but do not soak before cooking, just rinse and drain well.
Add in the vegetables and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook till tender about 20 minutes.
I serve this with a side of salad and a yogurt based chutney of mint or basil.
Again I use whole spices so I avoid the possibility of gluten contamination. When you plate the dishes, pull out the large pieces of spices that you see. If you do not like whole spices, then feel free to use ground in the same quantities.