There’s a bloody long list of ingredients for this dish. But it’s worth it. Trust me. Dishoom is a magical Bombay-style cafe in London that I’ve written about twice before. Once, to share a smashing recipe for potatoes and another time to share an elusive rose gin cocktail recipe.
The recipe I’m sharing today from Dishoom is for a sort of Indian Sloppy Joe. It’s finely minced lambed cooked with a whole bunch of spices, served on a buttered potato roll with slices of red onion and lime. The flavors are spicy and smoky; peppery and exotic yet the presentation is so familiar and comforting. On the menu, it’s listed as Keema Pau but the most common spelling I’ve seen is Keema Pav. Pav refers to the fluffy white bread that the minced lamb is served on. It’s a very particular type of Mumbai/Bombay-style bread.
If you’re looking for Keema Pav in New York City, try Fido’s cafe in Jersey City. You can try and find pav rolls from an indian bakery but I found that Martin’s potato rolls make an excellent pav substitute.
This recipe didn’t actually come from Dishoom, but rather a composite of copycat recipes I found online and my own memories and trials and errors. It’s not a quick and easy dish, that’s for sure. But it is 100% worth it.
Dishoom’s Keema Pav
Adapted from the BBC.
Serves 4 people (makes about 12 sliders)
2 tablespoons + 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons ground coriander (yes, it’s a lot trust me on this one)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
¾ lb. fresh ground lamb (spring for the good stuff)
1 teaspoon salt (I always cook with Maldon)
1 ½ tablespoons flour
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro + more for garnish
3 scallions, chopped (about ¼ cup)
10 fresh mint leaves, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
¼ cup frozen peas
½ cup full fat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 small tomato, chopped into 1/8 inch cubes
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons butter
½ red onion
8 lime wedges to serve
- Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven or frying pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions for about 5 minutes, until just browned.
- Add the mined garlic and ginger along with 1 tablespoon coriander. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the ground lamb and cook for another 5-10 minutes so that the lamb is fully cooked and some of the water evaporates.
- Slice the red onion into paper-thin slices and set aside with the lime wedges and extra cilantro to serve.
- Add the flour and remaining 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil and stir in the yogurt.
- Add the scallions, mint, cilantro and peas to the mix and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and the bay leaf and turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 5-10 MORE minutes.
- Toast the potato rolls and butter them immediately. Serve the ground lamb mixture on each roll like you would a Sloppy Joe. Top with red onions and a squeeze of lime.
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