Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Lunch Couple -- Kheema Kabab Rolls

I have been having lunch with my husband for a few months now. And as I concoct our noonday repast I reminisce. This June is magical for us, for it thirty years since we tied the knot. Where did the years go?? And the ten years before, when we dated?? A maze of memories, some distant, most still vivid. I recall those heady days, when love was a passionate potion. A time when we dared to live large, without fearing consequences of our actions or the wrath of our parents!!  A blur of beach trips, cutting class to watch movie classics like The Graduate and Woodstock(our first date), coffee under the profuse fuschia arbor at Samovar, samosas at Chiquita, housie at Catholic Gymkhana and of course the disco!!! Donna Summer reigned supreme! That carefree life seems an eon away!

As I start making the kebabs for lunch, we recollect bits of our life that loom large in our collective memories. We talk of life on Carmichael Road was back in Bombay and that we were in the same place thirty years on. Where family remembered with hilarity, the goings-on,  that sunny June morning thirty years ago. The small funny idiosyncrasies of that day that now seem trivial and less stressful. I bring out the scrapbook of pictures I have cobbled together. A picture book that takes us back to 1974 when we first started dating, and then back to present day!  It is truly a labor of love, filled with pictures of family, people and places we have encountered over the years!  

The ground beef or kheema as it is called in Hindi, is well kneaded, redolent with spices, green chilies, cilantro and lime juice. I fashion it into long flat kebabs, making them easier to pan fry. I slice onions, dust them with cayenne and spritz them with some lime juice. Thin slices of seedless cucumber and a salad mix wait it out on a plate. Sizzling sounds emanate from the kitchen as the kebabs brown. I warm a couple of rotis or parathas. The plate is filled with all things loved dearly by Glenn....namely, meat, roti, marinated onions.... only assembly required!!! And of course his dutiful wife does that!

Makes 4

1 pound Ground Beef
1/2 Onion
2 green Chiles
1/2 cup Cilantro
1 teaspoon Garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon Chile powder
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
1/2 Lime
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Oil to fry kebabs
4 premade Rotis, Parathas or whole wheat Tortillas
Salad mix, prepackaged 
Onions, sliced, dusted with Cayenne pepper and spritzed with Lime juice
Cucumber, thinly sliced

Place ground beef in a bowl and gently break up the meat with a fork.

Cut the onion into very small dice. Alternately you can grate the onion. Add to beef.

Slice the green chiles into thin slivers. 

Chop cilantro finely. 

Add green chiles and cilantro to beef along with all the spices, salt and juice of 1/2 lime.

Mix well, kneading the meat so it becomes a little pasty. 

Let the meat sit for 1/2 hour.

Shape into long flat kebabs, 5 to 6 inches long and 1 inch wide.

Heat oil in a nonstick pan. 

Add kebabs gently and brown on one side for 3 to 5 minutes.  Turn over and continue browning for a few minutes more. do this very carefully. Drain on a paper towel. 

Assemble rolls by heating the parathas or tortillas till warm. Place roti on a plate. Top with salad mix. Arrange kebabs over salad. Pile onions and cucumbers on kebabs. Roll the bread to close and fasten a toothpick to keep it closed. Or hold in your hands and take a bite!!


I used beef, but any ground meat can be substituted.

Turn the kebabs gently as the kebabs tend to break as there is no egg to bind them together. Don't sweat if they break as you can rearrange them on the roti. Mine broke but tasted fine in the roll!

We eat the kebabs warm, but you could make this a wrap and eat it at room temperature if needed. It would be hard to rewarm with the lettuce mix.

We eat our rolls, a  two handed meal, the messy drippings scattering onto our plates. Eating lunch with G is literally wandering down a new path. It's usually a bowl of salad by myself. But then I like the newness of the situation. Like everything new, it will pass, but now I like that we sit together, gentle breezes blowing in the kitchen, the sounds of summer trickling through the window, green lawn grasses swaying in the light wind. A roll in our hands and our lives wrapped up in a neat bow.