I know. There are so many vegetarian Indian dishes so why did I make a vegetarian version of a meat dish? It just seemed like a good substitution—I like how nearly any recipe calling for minced meat can be altered with a lentil replacement. But they’ve got to be the small lentils such as black lentils, lentil verites or puy lentils. And you know what? This veggie/vegan keema turned out delicious. And there you have it.
Make this as a side dish of a larger Indian meal or have it on its own as part of a simple dinner. My day flew by so no fanciness at our table tonight. Dinner will be this gorgeous lentil keema, leftover rice from last night, roasted potato wedges with cumin and steamed broccoli.
Ingredients for lentil keema
Serves 2 or 4 as a side dish
3tbs tbs coconut oil (or ghee)
1/2 large onion, diced
1 large tomato, choppped
1 green chili, deseeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
2 tbs chopped cashews or cashew meal
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp mild chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
seeds from one cardamom pod
pinch of coriander seeds
piece of a cinnamon stick (break off a small piece)
1 1/2 cups cooked lentils (or a bit more)
about 1 cup of water
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup peas
3 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
1) Put the cloves, cardamom seeds, coriander seeds and sea salt into a pestle and mortar and pulverize.
2) Heat up the coconut oil or ghee in a heavy-bottomed frying pan and toss in all the vegetables except the peas and cilantro.
3) Fry gently for about 10 minutes and then add in all the spices and fry another minute.
4) Add some or all of the water and lentils and cook gently another 10 minutes. Keema should be a bit dry so watch the water so that it is absorbed but everything doesn’t completely dry up and burn.
5) Taste and add a little more salt and pepper if needed.
6) Lastly add the peas and cilantro and cook gently just another minute or two to heat up. Reserve some of the fresh cilantro for garnish.