Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lentils with minced meat (Dal Kheema)

I am not sure if the topic of death would interest anyone - but yesterday I had an interesting conversation about death and the soul and what happens after we die with a colleague of mine.  I know many would cringe just at the thought of death.  Many like to avoid the topic or thinking about it altogether.  But then is it that scary after all?  When someone dies, why do we cry?  Is it because we would miss the company of the person who has just passed away?  So in a way, are we not crying for ourselves rather than for the person who has gone?  Based on our beliefs we can deduct that the person who has passed on has gone to a better place or we can believe that nothing exists after death and it was the end.  I like to believe in the former – that after we die, our soul continues to live on.  This is more hopeful approach than the latter.  I know there could be many others who believe in the concept of heaven and hell, or re-incarnation or so many other things – as long as our belief gives us hope that there is something else after death rather than just “death being the end”, we would always strive to be better people on this earth because we know that our actions here would have consequences some place else.  How often have you heard someone on their deathbed repent the good things they could have done.  But then again we are still alive and it is never too late to begin the good work.  I could continue on this topic and what I think about the soul, but I will keep that for a later time.  

In the past few months I have heard of several friends and relatives losing their near and dear ones.  I have seen people dealing with their grief in different ways.  For some talking about it helps, for others praying for the progress of the soul of the deceased and for yet others drowning their sorrows in alcohol.   It is not easy losing someone we love – we are bound to cry and feel sad – but end of the day we cope.  We rebound.  We hope.  

Preparation Time: 1 hour
Serves: 5

500 grams lean minced  meat
1 cup Bengal Gram Dal
225 grams red onions
10 grams garlic
10 grams ginger
1 large tomato
55 grams fresh coconut
5 grams poppy seeds
2 cloves
2 long sticks cinnamon
10 grams coriander seeds
2 dried red chillies
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
5 grams tamarind
Salt to taste


  1. Wash Bengal gram dal and soak for one hour in 2 cups water. 
  2. Soak the tamarind in ½ cup hot water and remove the juice and keep aside. 
  3. Roast and grind together the coriander, cumin and red chillies and mix with the turmeric powder.  Keep aside. 
  4. Grind together the ginger and garlic and keep aside. 
  5. Grind separately the coconut and poppy seeds and keep aside. 
  6. Chop onions and tomatoes and keep aside. 
  7. Heat oil in a vessel and when hot, add the cinnamon and cloves and then add the onions. 
  8. Fry onions till golden, about 5 minutes. 
  9. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for another 2 minutes. 
  10. Now add the ground coriander, cumin and chillies and the minced meat and fry till the meat is brown on all sides. 
  11. Add the chopped tomato and cover and keep on low flame for 10 minutes. 
  12. Now add the Bengal Gram Dal along with the water it was soaked in and keep covered and cook for another 20 minutes on low flame. 
  13. Now add the coconut-poppy seed mixture and simmer for another 10 minutes on low flame. 
  14. The tamarind juice can now be added and simmer for a further 2 minutes. 
  15. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice.

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