Pickled red chillies is a favourite with many UP wallahs and we like it with daal chawal, with parathas and with just anything we are eating. Recently a dear friend loved it with her curd rice and then I also tried it that way, only to be charmed all over again by this humble traditional pickle that this laal mirch ka bharva achar is.
This recent tryst with one of my favourite pickles reminded me of a paneer curry I had at Shangri-La Hotel recently, the curry was cooked with a hint of the same red chilly pickle. I had planned to cook the curry with minced meat and now it was impossible to resist the recipe. We both loved this hot keema curry that had chillies of three types making the chilly flavours deep and potent. With a light raita and fluffy khameeri rotis this curry was just out of this world.
I make another keema curry with green chillies and loads of garlic and that one is totally a different thing. That lasun mirch wala keema is a creamy and mild curry with prominent aromas of garlic and chillies but this achari mirch wala keema is hot and robust. Using ghee for cooking makes it tastier as flavours are well rounded up with a bit of fat. I used just a tbsp of ghee but even that makes a good difference.
mutton mince (keema) 300 gm
finely diced onions 1/2 cup
chopped garlic 2 tbsp
broken dry red chillies (choose hot or mild, or skip if you can;t handle too hot) 2-3
minced ginger 1 tbsp
everyday curry powder 2 tsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
ghee 1 tbsp
salt to taste (3/4 tsp)
fresh red chillies (pickling variety) 2
hung curd 2 tbsp
bharva mirch ka achar 1 inch piece
Heat the ghee in a pan (kadhai) and tip in the chopped ginger and garlic. Fry these till they get aromatic and then add the chopped onion, fry them too till they are pinkish brown.
Add the spice powders and mix them well. Add the mutton mince (the keema), salt and stir fry till the keema gets almost cooked. It takes about 10-12 minutes.
Half length wise, deseed and slice the fresh red chillies and add to the cooking mixture. Add the hung curd and mix well. Bhuno (stir fry) till the mixture gets almost dry, it takes about 5 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup of water, cover and simmer the curry for 5 minutes. Adjust consistency by adding a little more water of required, check seasoning and serve hot.
It doesn't need any garnish but you can use slivered bell peppers if you wish. Even chopped coriander greens are not required but you can add them for another dimension in flavours.
You can add a little magaz paste (melon seeds paste) to this curry if you want it a bit creamy and the heat milder. Magaz paste also increases the volume of the curry so much so that an added 2-3 tbsp of magaz paste will result in an extra cup of the curry with same ingredients.
You might like to have a squirt of lime juice if you are not having any raita with this curry. Otherwise this curry just needs a good fluffy khameeri roti or a soft roomali roti and a light cucumber raita or may be a raw tomato salsa type salad.