Kheema is a spicy North Indian (Punjabi) dish with distinct Mughal origins and influences. The Mughals invaded India in the early 15th century and were thought to have originated from Persia (modern day Iran).
Kheema is a rich aromatic dish traditionally made with ground meat (usually lamb) and aromatic spices. This is a completely vegetarian version made with cauliflower. My Gobi Kheema has always been a family favorite in my house; I hope it will also be a favorite in yours.
GOBI KHEEMA (Spicy Minced Cauliflower)
1 medium cauliflower
1 large onion, finely diced
3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1.5 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
2 medium size tomatoes, finely chopped
2-3 small green Thai chilies, split in half lengthwise
1 large tsp garam masala
2 large tsp ground cumin powder
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1 large tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chili powder (to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 large tbsp of good quality tomato paste
˝ cup of water
1 cup of green peas (frozen are fine, but just thaw them)
3-4 tbsp of oil (vegetable or canola)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
Remove the rough outer leaves of the cauliflower and grate into very fine small pieces. Alternatively, this could also be done in a food processor. Set aside until needed.
In a large deep skillet on medium high heat, add the oil. Then add the onions and sauté for a few minutes until slightly browned. Next add the ginger, garlic and chilies. Fry for a few minutes and add in the spices (garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, red chili powder, salt and pepper). Stir well to combine and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then add in the grated cauliflower and mix well to combine. Let the cauliflower cook and brown just slightly. Next, add the tomatoes along with the tomato paste and the water. Then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Lastly, add the thawed green peas and mix well to combine. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves and serve with fresh chapatis and fragrant Basmati rice.
Feel free to add your favorite vegetable or combination of vegetables to this dish. Such as corn kernels, baby corn, any color of bell peppers, spinach, edamame, zucchini, carrots…
You could also add a cup of crumbled paneer to the dish, just add it along with the cauliflower.
You could also serve the gobi kheema as an appetizer using lettuce cups (such as butter lettuce or radicchio lettuce).