Some people always keep a bag of frozen peas in the freezer to suppress bruises or aches and pains.
Me? I keep one for last-minute additions to salads, soups, stews, pastas, and more.
They are nearly as good as fresh, easier to prep (there’s none involved), and are available year-round.
They add bright color, subtle sweetness, and gentle texture to so many dishes, including this one.
“Spiced Lamb with Peas (Kheema Muttar)” is from the cookbook, “Indian in 7” (Kyle, 2019), of which I received a review copy.
It’s by Monisha Bharadwaj, a chef and food historian, who runs an Indian cooking school in London, Cooking with Monisha.
As the name implies, the book is all about recipes for that take seven ingredients or fewer. Bharadwaj does take a few liberties with that, though. Cooking oil isn’t included in the official count. And some recipes call for simple sauces or pastes from a different recipe in the book.
Even so, these are definitely home-cook friendly dishes that are a breeze to make. Take a taste of “Curried Parsnips and Carrots,” “Tandoori-Style Baked Chicken Tikka,” “Lamb-Stuffed Flatbread,” and “Orange and Semolina Pudding with Saffron.”
Have those peas in the freezer? Then, all you need is some ground lamb, an onion, a few chilies, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, ground turmeric, and some garam masala to stir-fry this dish in mere minutes.
It’s a meaty mixture redolent of earthy, grassy, and spicy notes that’s so comforting to tuck into.
Serve it with flatbread or fluffy rice with plain yogurt on the side and a garnish of cilantro. Bharadwaj says it’s also fabulous stuffed into a baked potato or wrapped in a sheet of puff pastry, then baked till golden crisp. I think it would be amazing in an omelet, too.
Ground beef can stand in for the lamb. And corn, diced red and green peppers or sliced mushrooms can be substituted for the peas. Well, if you absolutely must keep that bag in the freezer for other purposes.
Spiced Ground Lamb with Peas (Kheema Muttar)
For ginger-garlic paste:
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, skin scraped off and flesh chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, peeled and chopped
For rest of dish:
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 fresh green chilies, finely chopped (seeds and all)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound, 5 ounces boneless lamb, ground
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
Make the ginger-garlic paste: Smash together ginger and garlic in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
Warm 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil in a heavy-based saucepan or wok. Add the onion and fry on high heat until it starts to change color, then reduce heat and fry for a further 4 to 5 minutes until soft.
Add 2 teaspoons of ginger-garlic paste and the chilies, and fry for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste, then cook until the oil separates, adding a few tablespoons of cold water to prevent the mixture from sticking.
Add the ground lamb, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you go until it is all loose and separate. Keep cooking on high heat, stirring regularly, until the lamb has all turned from pink to brown.
Add the peas, turmeric, garam masala, and some salt to taste and mix well. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the lamb is done, about 10 minutes. Serve hot.
Adapted from “Indian in 7” by Monisha Bharadwaj
Another Monisha Bharadwaj Recipe to Enjoy: Crisp Garlic Shrimp (Kolmi Fry)