I would say that I am a live to eat person, that all changed last week though when for the first time ever I experienced eat to live when I had the privilege of being able to walk the stunning West Highland Way. Running along the west coast of Scotland the mountains, lochs, sunshine and autumn colours were pretty perfect not withstanding bruised toes. We had an average walking day of around 15 miles in 6 hours, I’d prepared nutritious snacks and we had three proper meals a day, we were definitely approaching this sensibly.
However nothing prepared me for the hunger that took over on the evening of the third day, granted by far the toughest with a lot of scrambling and expending energy for a 5ft 2, 53 year old. Once we finally arrived at the cosy dining area where we were staying that evening, I was overcome by hunger so intense the very modest ten minute wait for freshly cooked food was an eternity and I managed to inhale my huge portion with barely a breath. To my total shock I woke at 4.30 in the morning with my belly crying deafeningly for more. The next four days I consumed cooked breakfasts, hearty packed lunches and rib sticking dinners with several snacks for good measure. This was a novel experience for me, having lived a sedentary modern life, my challenge has always been eyes way too big for my calorific requirements.
Don’t get me wrong I loved being able to consume all that delicious food knowing my body needed the fuel, however 98 miles of trekking gives plenty of time for contemplation. I was taken back to childhood memories of Uncles in my Punjabi family village, up at dawn eating a full meal at day break before heading off to the field, refueled by my Aunts during the day and then again at home after a full days labour. I used to watch these tall and rangy men with amazement, how could they eat so much so quickly, why did my Aunts have to cook all day for them, how was there never anything left? I didn’t know I was witnessing the human body as nature intended, constantly being refueled to do the work that needed doing.
We know our diets need to reflect modern lives but we yearn for the calorie laden, nutritious and tasty recipes of arguably more active previous generations. This is a simple family dish loved by Punjabis that with a few adaptions has stood the test of time. Traditionally Keema was made with rich lamb or protein laden beef, when I’m not walking I often make it with lighter, turkey or chicken mince and soy mince or quorn works well to suit vegans.
Suitable for home freezing
If you’re short of time we offer Keema recipe kits with our hand made spice blend to speed things up, just click on the link at the bottom of the email to purchase.
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp light vegetable oil
¾ tsp ground coriander
¾ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala + ½ tsp extra
½ tsp chilli or to taste
Salt to taste
350g good quality minced lamb (see note below)
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
150g of fresh or defrosted peas
In a medium frying pan, sweat the onion, garlic and ginger in the vegetable oil for a few minutes until they soften.
Add the coriander, cumin, 1 tsp of the garam masala and the chilli and salt to taste. Stir well for a minute or two to toast the spices and mix them through the onions, garlic and ginger.
Add the lamb, turn up the heat and stir constantly to break up and brown the meat. Then add the tomatoes and peas and simmer for 15 minutes, until the tomatoes start to break up and the peas are cooked through.
Sprinkle the remaining ½ tsp of garam masala over the Keema before serving.
Enjoy with naan breads and fresh chutney.
Note: you can substitute minced beef, turkey, chicken or a vegan alternative for lamb if you prefer.