Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I am abashed to admit, that I have entirely become the sort of person who leaves off until tomorrow or better still, next week, what I can do today, or could've done yesterday or um... last week as the case may be, if it won't get me sued or jail time.

Yes, I am referring to last week's post where I seemingly left you high and dry with naan and nothing to dunk it into. I could've given both but I've been told time and again, how "wordy" I am, so I thought it best not to try your patience with two recipes in one serpentine post.

And you know, so much in my life is decided by schedules, deadlines, the requirements and considerations of others, that I hope what I do here, remains something personal and dictated only by my whim, or by yours :) So if I split a post into two, or fall off the food blog grid for a bit, I count on you not holding it against me. Judging by the comments and mails that have been streaming in steadily, you do seem a lovely and forgiving lot.

Have I told you lately, how happy I am that you've been reading what I've been writing my heart out about, and writing to me with your thoughts, questions, suggestions and recipe requests, these past 12 months? See, now you've gone and pulled it out of me. Singapore Shiok is abooooout a year old. Have I ever told you how much your company has meant to me on this journey of food and memories? Have I ever mentioned that your curiosity about the nuts and bolts or more fittingly, rice and curry, of my extraordinarily ordinary existence, keeps me tapping on my keyboard and visually documenting every tasty morsel that passes my lips? No? Well, I'm telling you now :)

In typical whimsical fashion, we're having a birthmonth, instead of a birthday because I don't remember the exact day in November so I have no cake, no flaming candle, no giveaway, just the wonderful curried meat dish I promised you last week. It is good though, so good, you may be tempted to strip down and dive into a vat of this stuff. I recommend scooping it into your mouth instead, with the lovely naan from last week. Add a mug of teh tarik and you've got the tastiest trio to tuck into, this side of the equator.

Keema, a Hindi word derived from the Turkish "kiyma", just means "ground meat". I can't tell you how liberating it was to discover that it doesn't denote a specific cooking style, group of spices or even, oh joy, type of meat! Traditionally, throughout south Asia, it is cooked with ground lamb or mutton, the usual bevy of pungent south Asian spices, peas and very often, potatoes. But, hey, ground meat is ground meat. I capitalised on the precise definition and took every ounce of licence I could to whip up a pared down and lightning quick version so I could spend more time drowning my naan in it, then cooking it.

I wasn't there when it happened, but I'm pretty sure cooking was invented because we had to EAT, not the other way around, and because  the charm of raw meat remains as extensive as its shelf life. So, while I do love to cook, given a choice between stove and dining chair, I'd be sitting in that chair, in half a heartbeat, every time. Now as little patience as I have for winding recipes, I will assume you have even less for chatty bloggers, so here's what I promised last week, tout de suite! Bon appetit!

keema - enough for two family meals; told ya, i'd rather eat (leftovers) than cook

Prep 20 mins         Cook 35 mins        Serves 8 - 10

2 sticks cinnamon
6 large green cardamom pods
2 Indian bay leaves (tej patta or malabathrum) - not the bay laurel leaves used in Western cooking
3 large onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated (a cinch on a Microplane)
1 kg (2 lbs) lean ground lamb or beef
5 generous tbsp meat curry powder
100 ml (1/2 cup) thick unflavoured unsweetened yoghurt
5 yellow potatoes, peeled and cubed
700 ml (3 1/2 cups) water
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
200 g (2 cups) thawed frozen baby green peas

Heat 5 tablespoons vegetable oil and when hot, add the cinnamon, cardamon and bay leaves. Stir for about half a minute. Add the onions and garlic and stir over medium heat until fragrant and translucent.

Add the ground meat and turn up heat to maximum. Brown meat,  breaking up any lumps, until crumbly. Sprinkle over curry powder and stir until well mixed and curry fragrance is released.

Add yoghurt and stir in until it evaporates. Add potatoes and stir through. Pour in water and add salt. Stir well and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to minimum, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring now and then to prevent sticking and scorching.

When potato cubes are tender stir in peas and cook for about 3 minutes or until peas are heated right through. Don't overcook peas or they will turn yellow and mushy. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Turn off heat and dish out keema. Serve with rice, baguette, naan or chapati. Scoop some onto the lower half of a split burger bun, slap on some mozzarella cheese, torch or toast cheese until gooey then top with other half of bun. Grab firmly and bite into the spiciest, ooziest, sloppiest sloppy joe of your life.

click here for printable recipe

Before I go, I have one last thing to tell you. This will be the last post I publish personally for a while, as I will be taking a 2 - 3 week break from blogging. You will still see new posts here, as I have lined a few up for scheduled publishing in my absence. If you have any questions for me, please leave them in the comments section and I will answer them soon as I get back or if I manage to get online, during the interim. Even if you don't have questions, as always I would love to read your thoughts or opinions, so feel free to let me know how a recipe turned out, or just say hello :)  Hope you enjoy the stash of goodies I've made. Back soon!


  1. Fantastic shot.. makes me lapar wei :)

    1. Hi Lisa - terimakasih! Lama tak jumpa. Kalau lapar, makan lah ;)

      Hope you and your family are well!

  2. Happy 1st Blogiversary! Didn't realize Singapore Shiok is one year old. Time flies!

    This keema looks really tasty, something my family will enjoy. It's been a while since I last made a dish using curry powder and I am beginning to miss it.

    1. Thanks Biren :) I'm afraid my widely scattered brained has resulted in a slightly unconventional blogiversary LOL Cakap benar dah - dah nyanyok :DDDD

      The keema is surprisingly yummy, despite leaving out local Indian staples like ginger, cumin, cloves, curry leaves etc. So easy and with the roti naan, so umm....... SHIIIIIOK!!! ;)

  3. Happy 1st blogoversary! and happy holiday too!

  4. Happy Belated Blogoversary dear! I know I know...I'm Late.lol. :o) But better than nothing. haha.... What a silly excuse! Honestly, miss you dearly Denise. Hopefully, we will be able to meet someday & chat our heart out.

    1. Never too late Kristy :) Thanks for your wishes and warm sentiments. It's not as easy to get internet access at the moment, so I may take some time to get back to you, but I definitely will read all comments eventually. Hope we do meet, in the not too distant future!

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