Thursday, June 01, 2006
Indian Sloppy Joes
Just as I was about to light the charcoal in the grill to cook hamburgers, the sky suddenly darkened. Lightning flashed, and thunder clapped right nearby. I went back inside, and I took the charcoal with me. Moments later the sky opened up, and I was off to pick up an umbrella-less Margy from the train station. Hamburgers would wait for another day.
Inspiration struck in addition to the lightning.
I wanted a sandwich, I knew that. With my trusty grill ten feet away in the rain, I wasn't about to broil or fry the burgers. I reserve that kind of desperation only for a February snowstorm, and even then I would probably either light the grill or make something else. So... what could I do with this ground beef? Suddenly cumin and coriander and onion and garlic started floating around my head, and I had it: I would make beef keema, I'd throw it on a roll, and we'd have Indian sloppy joes!
With so many terrific cooks and so much great food everywhere, I really don't want to brag, but the sandwiches were even better than I imagined. The fat from the beef along with a shot of tomato paste helped to create a wonderful texture, and the spices and seasonings were bright and vivid. I put the rolls under the broiler so they got crisp/soft. But the perfect final stroke was topping each sandwich with sliced cucumber. Now this conjured some magic. The cukes offered a welcome bit of crunch, and they had a cooling effect that played off the keema's spice beautifully. It was like having a built-in raita, minus the yogurt of course.
The rain poured down, and Margy forgot about her burgers.