I love wading into uncharted waters (for me anyway). But, I hate to write about foreign cultures and foods about which I have little understanding. And, though I am wary writing about it, I absolutely love to eat new things. Which means that eventually I will try to write about it, and I beg your patience, your adventurous spirit, and your willingness to share your own insights.
This dish is called Kheema Masala. “Kheema” or “keema” simply means minced meat, and it is widely used in many Indian, Syrian, Pakistani, and other Middle Eastern dishes. It is often lamb or beef, but the type of meat does not alter the name as far as I know. I have used beef, but you could use lamb if you wanted to. My neighbor Linda and I had a chat about how, with a few minor alterations, this reminds her of the Kibby that she would often eat with her family when she was a kid. She still hasn’t brought me any proper Kibby like she keeps telling me she is going to do. (Linda, I’m calling you out here!! Make some Kibby for me!)
The “masala” is about a spice blend called Garam Masala, which I like. The “garam” means hot or spicy, and “masala” means a blend of spices…so “hot spicy blend” is probably a decent stab at a definition. This blend can be conjured up at home if you have an interesting spice collection handy, or it is also carried in many grocery stores. The blends vary depending on the purveyor or family, but they all have similar component spices: cinnamon, coriander, cumin, black pepper, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, chiles, etc. There is a lot of room to play and to substitute here. I have added additional cumin to my recipe, because I like for the cumin to be a bit more assertive in this dish.