Today’s recipes are built around basic recipe using that stalwart of the British kitchen, minced beef (a.ka. “ground beef” or “hamburger”).
A word about using spices: mix the spices first in a small bowl (I use the dish from a microwave egg poacher – designed to hold 1 egg). Add a bit of water to make a paste and leave until you need to use them (this will stop the spices burning so easily).
To cook rice: use ¼ cup of rice per person (or double if your DH is as big an eater as mine). Combine the rice with twice as much boiling water – so 2 cups water to 1 cup rice – bring back to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes for white rice/basmati, up to 40 minutes for brown, or until all the water is absorbed.
All variations serve 4-6.
Basic Beef Mixture
250g minced (ground) beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 aubergine (eggplant) - see method, below
100-200g mushrooms, sliced
1-2 carrots, grated
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 beef stock cube
1x400g can chopped tomatoes
¼ cup split red lentils (optional)
1. Chop the prickly end off the aubergine, prick it with a fork a few times and zap in the microwave for 10 minutes.
2. Dry fry beef until brown. Add the onion and the garlic and fry until they're soft. Add the mushrooms and fry until the "water" has evaporated.
3. Stir in spices if using (see below). Fry until the aroma rises.
4. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato puree, carrot and stock cube (in that order).
5. Add additional ingredients as listed per individual recipes.
6. Cut the cooked aubergine in half, scrape out the pulp with a spoon (careful it is hot!), then chop the pulp until it has the consistency of mush.
7. Stir the aubergine into the sauce. If using lentils, add together with 1 cup hot water (sauce should be very runny at this stage).
8. Bring to boil and simmer until you can't see the aubergine, the lentils are dissolving and the sauce is very thick. Serve as directed, below.
I don’t usually add lentils in a Chilli. Serve with rice.
1 teaspoon ground chilli or to taste (I like a medium heat)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
2 x 400g cans cooked kidney beans or black beans
1 cup sweetcorn (optional)
Good with mango chutney. Serve with rice.
1 teaspoon ground chilli
1 teaspoon Nigella seeds (also called “black mustard seeds” or Kalonji)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric (careful it stains)
1 tablespoon tamarind puree (gives a sweet/sour flavour)
1 cup frozen peas
Serve on Spaghetti. Good in lasagne.
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon soft dark molasses sugar/muscovado sugar
1 glass red wine