Atul Kochhar is one of the world’s top Indian Chefs and Restauranteurs. He was the first chef in the UK to be awarded a Michelin Star for Indian cuisine at Tamarind. He sailed world famous Benares restaurant into Michelin star status and is currently the Executive Chef of Indian fine-dining restaurant, Kanishka, based in Mayfair, London. He is bringing a whole new style of Indian cooking to the city, introducing the flavours of the region of North East India’s ‘Seven Sister States’.
As an International and UK nationwide TV personality, he has been featured on popular programs such as Million Dollar Menu and Saturday Kitchen and now he has teamed up with Parson’s Nose.
Lamb Sloppy Joes
Here’s an example of street food from Mumbai at its best. The city is the most cosmopolitan in India, and its cooking has absorbed the influences of the Parsees, the British and the Portuguese – they have all left their mark. I haven’t been able to pin down exactly which culture gave keema paus to Mumbai, but I suspect the Portuguese or British. As a younger person, I loved this because it was heavily laced with spices and butter, but, alas, as time goes by I shy away from it. I just don’t enjoy that heavy food anymore, and tend to make my own version with less fat. This version does include added butter for richness, but not as much as I would have once used.
Pau is the generic Hindi word for ‘bread’. You might be able to buy individual buns called paus at an Indian food shop, but otherwise soft hamburger buns are ideal. You can also replace the lamb mince with beef mince, if you like.
3cm piece of fresh ginger
4 green cardamom pods
1 black cardamom pod
2 garlic cloves
1½ red onions
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 dried bay leaf
1 star anise
4cm piece of cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon Onion Paste (page 218)
300g lamb mince
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons garam masala
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
8 tablespoons canned chopped tomatoes
fresh coriander sprigs
a large knob of butter, about 15g,
plus extra for buttering the buns
4 paus or soft hamburger buns, to serve
1 tomato, to serve
Remove the butter from the fridge for it to become spreadable and assemble all the ingredients and equipment before you begin. You need 2 large sauté or frying pans, both of which are non-stick.
Peel and finely chop the ginger. Lightly crush the green and black cardamom pods to release the seeds. Peel and thinly slice the garlic cloves. Peel, halve and thinly slice the onions and set aside the slices from half an onion for serving.
Heat the vegetable oil over a medium-high heat in one of the sauté pans. Add the cardamom pods and the seeds, the bay leaf, star anise and the cinnamon stick, and stir for 30 seconds to flavour the oil. Add the onion paste and stir it into the oil for 30 seconds. Add the slices from one onion, the ginger, garlic and a pinch of salt, and continue stirring, until the onion is softened, but not coloured.
Add the lamb mince to the pan, turn up the heat and stir continuously for about 5 minutes to break up the meat and brown it. It should be virtually cooked at this point.
Reduce the heat to low, stir in the ground coriander, cumin, garam masala and the turmeric, and stir for 30 seconds to cook the spices. Watch closely so they do not burn. Stir in the canned tomatoes and leave the mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally. Watch closely so the meat doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan, but you do want it to brown nicely. If the mince does catch on the bottom of the pan, however, stir in a little water to release the crusty bits, which will add flavour. You just want to make sure you’re not stirring in any burnt bits.
Meanwhile, rinse the coriander sprigs. Set 4 aside for garnishing and chop enough leaves to make about 2 tablespoons. Squeeze 1 tablespoon of juice from the lemon half.
Stir three-quarters of the chopped coriander and all the lemon juice into the lamb, then add the butter and stir as it melts. Adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary, and leave the mixture to continue simmering while you fry the buns.
Open the paus or hamburger buns. Heat about 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in the other pan. Lightly butter the split sides of each bun. Put 1 or 2 split buns in the pan and toast on the buttered sides. Toast the remaining breads, adding a little extra oil to the pan, as necessary.
Thinly slice the tomato. Mix the reserved onion and tomato slices together to make a salad for serving, just like street vendors in Mumbai do.
Place the opened buns on plates and divide the lamb mixture among them. Top with the onion and tomato salad and garnish each with a coriander leaf.