Tempt the troops on Thursday with this spiced-up version of an old family favourite.
750g lamb mince
2 tbs curry powder
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
270g (1 1/3 cups) basmati rice
1L (4 cups) chicken stock
1 x 400g can brown lentils, rinsed, drained
2 garlic cloves, crushed
375ml (1 1/2 cups) passata (tomato pasta sauce)
Fresh coriander sprigs, to serve
Natural yoghurt, to serve
Combine the mince, half the curry powder and half the ginger in a bowl. Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls.
Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add half the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, for 4 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat with the remaining meatballs.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the rice. Add three-quarters of stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, for 12 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Use a fork to separate the grains. Stir in the lentils.
Add garlic, remaining curry powder and remaining ginger to the frying pan. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the passata, remaining stock and meatballs, and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens and the meatballs are cooked through.
Divide the rice mixture and meatballs among serving dishes. Top with the coriander and serve with yoghurt.
Fish and tomato curry with lentil pilaf:
Omit the coriander. Replace mince with 600g firm white fish fillets (such as ling), cut into 4cm pieces. Reduce curry powder to 1 tbs curry powder.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add curry powder, ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the passata and one-quarter of stock and simmer, stirring, for 15 minutes or until sauce thickens. Add the fish and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the fish flakes when tested with a fork.
Serve with the pilaf and yoghurt.
Moroccan beef meatballs with couscous:
Omit the cumin seeds and lentils. Replace the lamb mince with 750g beef mince. Replace the curry powder with 2 tbs Moroccan spice mix. Replace rice with 260g (1 1/3 cups) couscous. Bring stock to the boil.
Place couscous in a large heatproof bowl. Stir in the oil and stock. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes or until liquid has absorbed. Use a fork to separate the grains. Serve with the meatballs and yoghurt.
Veal and rosemary bolognaise with risoni:
Omit the curry powder, cumin seeds, ginger, lentils and yoghurt. Replace the lamb mince with 750g veal mince. Replace rice with 270g (1 1/3 cups) risoni. Replace coriander with 3 sprigs fresh rosemary.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add mince and garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps, for 5 minutes or until the mince changes colour. Add the passata, one-quarter of the stock, rosemary and 125ml (1/2 cup) red wine. Season with salt and pepper.
Simmer for 25 minutes or until the sauce thickens. In step 3, cook the risoni, uncovered, in the remaining stock for 15 minutes or until al dente. Divide the mince mixture and risoni among serving bowls. Top with finely grated parmesan to serve.
Good Taste - January 2008
Recipe by Alison Adams