Dhungaar e keema, Smoked Indian lamb mince “Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”
Ruth Reichl

Dhungaar-e-Keema  or Smoked Indian Lamb Mince is a quintessential recipe from the Indian subcontinent, one that is as simple as it is flavourful. The recipe is quite basic, the underlining key words characteristically ‘andaaz‘ and ‘bhuno‘, terms very familiar to how we cook in this region. Andaaz referring to eyeballing ingredients, and bhuno, ‘the quintessential stirring and roasting’ that gives Indian cuisine its essential character. Kebab spice mix Be it kebabs, kormas, bhuna gosht or then keema like this, the spice mixes are generally region specific. This Dhungaar-e-Keema or Smoked Lamb Mince is minimally adapted from an old one from @ My Tamarind Kitchen, a blog written by Scotland based Sumayya.It’s an old familiar recipe, one that has roots across this region, North India and Pakistan. It’s strange how similar the culinary vocabulary and cooking methods are. Dhungaar e keema, Smoked Indian lamb mince My mother and her friends, who I owe a lot of my initial recipe repertoire to, always had the same two favourite words, ‘andaaz’ and ‘bhuno’. The  story was the same with my aunts who I used to pursue relentlessly in an attempt hone my abysmal cooking skills. These words were firmly rooted in the North Indian cooking lingo of the past, a reflection of how recipes have evolved down the ages. We’re down to measures now – teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, grams, ounces in cookbooks, yet ‘andaaz ‘or eyeballing in Indian cooking still rules the kitchen!Spices for a smoked Indian lamb minceFor recipes other than baking I still pretty much eyeball what goes in, merrily tasting and tossing as I stir. Andaaz is my way to go too. No better way to cook I’d say, though maybe not the ideal ‘cookbook’ for newcomers on the scene, or for people alien to a particular cuisine. The good thing is that I am an obsessive ‘picture taker’ for steps of cooking, and especially when cooking with spices as they keep me fascinated. As a result of that, I usually know how the recipe has progressed and what went it.

Spices for a smoked Indian lamb mince

Dhungaar e keema, Smoked Indian lamb mince 1000 2This time was of course no different even though I followed Sumayyas recipe pretty much. The steps were familiar since most of our curries follow the same pattern. The only thing different about her recipe was that no powdered spices were included, something that I found quite interesting. I don’t think I’ve cooked often with only a smattering of whole spices and not even a single teaspoon of coriander powder or turmeric.

The Masala Dabba / Indian Spice Box

The Masala Dabba / Indian Spice BoxI did add a few whole spices of my own though. Star anise for one. A new found love for a spice I barely cared for. Shooting for our Masala Dabba series I fell in love with it because of the way it looked. So I included it in a sangria, then in a panna cotta. Then one trip into the heart of South India to Karaikudi,and I was sold on it. It’s quite an integral part of Chettinad cuisine, often thrown in in wild abandon, the aromas filling the air the minute star anise hits hot oil.

Sunset, Chidambaram Vilas, Karaikudi, Chettinad, South India

Karaikudi, Chettinad, South India

Chilies from KaraikudiAlso in went bay leaves, a gift from the garden of my mother’s friend who lives in the UK, but grew up here in India. She carried a bag for us, for me especially, since she knows how fond we are of her recipes, a lot of them inspired from Pakistan. Bay leavesShe influenced a lot of my recipe and cooking processes when I had just got married, gingerly stepping into the kitchen for the first time. The rest of course is history …  the recipe follows!Dhungaar e keema, Smoked Indian lamb mince

Cooking | Dhungaar-e-Keema or Smoked Lamb Mince
Print Recipe
Dhungaar-e-Keema or Smoked Indian Lamb Mince is a quintessential recipe from the Indian subcontinent, one that is as simple as it is flavourful. The recipe is quite basic, the underlining key words characteristically ‘andaaz‘ and ‘bhuno‘, terms very familiar to how we cook in this region. Andaaz referring to eyeballing ingredients, and bhuno, the quintessential 'stirring and roasting’ that gives Indian cuisine its essential character.
Servings Prep Time
4 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Cooking | Dhungaar-e-Keema or Smoked Lamb Mince
Print Recipe
Dhungaar-e-Keema or Smoked Indian Lamb Mince is a quintessential recipe from the Indian subcontinent, one that is as simple as it is flavourful. The recipe is quite basic, the underlining key words characteristically ‘andaaz‘ and ‘bhuno‘, terms very familiar to how we cook in this region. Andaaz referring to eyeballing ingredients, and bhuno, the quintessential 'stirring and roasting’ that gives Indian cuisine its essential character.
Servings Prep Time
4 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Whole garam masala
  1. Heat some ghee/clarified butter in a heavy bottom and add the khara masala/whole spices and saute until fragrant. Throw in the chopped onions and stir fry until light golden brown on the edges. Add the ginger garlic and saute for a further 2-3 minutes, until the raw smell has disappeared.
  2. Now add all the chopped tomatoes and roast well until almost dry, then add the mince. Stir in well to mix, then roast over high heat until the meat is no longer pink. Season with salt.
  3. Then add the yogurt, stirring constantly to roast/bhuno until the yogurt has been absorbed and is no longer white. Cover the wok/pan with a tight fitting lid, reduce heat to lowest, allowing the mince to slow cook in it's own juices.
  4. Check once in a while to make sure it isn't catching the bottom, giving it a quick stir. A heavy bottom good quality pan really works well here. cook until the liquid has evaporated and the colour is nice and reddish brown. As Sumayya says, 'bhuno-ing the keema is key!'
  5. Add loads of fresh chopped coriander and green chilies. Cover and allow to dam for a about 5 minutes, then turn off heat and let it stand. I f you wish to smoke the mince, please see instructions below.
  6. Smoking the Keema: Light up a piece of coal over the gas fire. Make a tiny bowl with an aluminium foil. Place the hot burning coal in it and quickly drizzle a few drops of melted ghee/clarified butter over it. The coal will begin smoking immediately. Tightly shut the lid and leave for about 15-30 minutes.
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“It is the food which you furnish to your mind that determines the whole character of your life.”
Emmet Fox

Kadhi  indian yogurt curryKadhi {Indian vegetarian yogurt curry}. Ask me to pick my favourite Indian curry, and chances are that kadhi will be the first thing that comes to my mind. It is the best comfort food ever, leaves me deeply satiated, fills me with nostalgia right from the aromas that rise from the first tempering. As the flavours of aesofoetida and curry leaves dance wildly in the summer air, I am transported to the air cooled house of Sheela Aunty, my mothers friend from Delhi University.

tadka spicesShe passed away several years ago, but a large part of our growing up unfolded under her wings. It is rare for even a few days to go by when we don’t exclaim like her, and then dissolve into giggles. Large-hearted, earnest, easily shocked, far too loving, the best collection of crisp summer sarees, jewellery to make the heart sing {after all she was born into one of Delhi’s leading jewelers families}, too humble, a great Indian vegetarian cook, she left a deep impact on us.

Kadhi  Indian yogurt curryI wasn’t foodily aware or obsessed at the time she was around and still rue the fact that I didn’t get a chance to chase her with paper and pencil to record recipes …I did that a lot {A LOT} after I got married in the mid 1990’s. Pages and pages were filled and I am glad I managed some. Aesofoetida was introduced into our rather differently spiced house thanks to her.

Spice Market, Khari Baoli, Old Delhi Spices became a fascination, hing or aesofoetida ‘the spice’ I fell in love with. I have grown to love the spice, not very well known in the West, very popular with Indian vegetarian food, and extremely popular down in South India too. Surprisingly enough, you see influences of the spice in non-vegetarian cuisine in Kashmir too! {One of my favourite haunts is Khari Baoli, Old Delhi to visit the spice market seen above. That was at the Lumia shoot 2 days ago}

Kadhi  indian yogurt curry tadkaNo tadka or tempering is complete without this magical ingredient, the nostalgia lingers on. So that morning when I looked at the Hamilton Beach MultiBlend Blender and Chopper on my kitchen counter, I didn’t have to think of what to make for lunch. With buttermilk and homemade yogurt in the fridge, I knew it was time for my favourite summer curry.

Kadhi  Indian yogurt curry Sometimes it seems like a bit of work, the pakoras or dumplings actually but in time I have cut the work out for me. Blenders the way to go for curry always, and the Hamilton Beach Multiblender did the job to perfection. In seconds. It also cut the work out when it came to making pakoras, or the dumplings. A friend whatsapped me the other day to say she was waiting for my review as she wanted to know how the onions got cut in the bender. A 100% good I have to say! Finer than I could ever manage, and within seconds. I love that there are two separate jars, complete with blades etc which allow you to multitask!

Hamilton Beach Multiblender chopped onionsI’ve been doing a lot more with the multiblender. Grinding oats as I develop recipes for Fit Foodie.

oatmealWhisking up delicious smoothies inspired by Aditya on Instagram. #CreateFearlessly is a great hashtag to carry. Goes in line with the ‘Good Thinking’ that spells out the Hamilton Beach line of products! ‘Really Good Thinking’. I’m loving it.

Papaya Yogurt SmoothieDid I tell you we’re not the only ones who are in love with papaya and smoothies this summer? There’s a little someone who shares every papaya that is cut in the kitchen. She makes a meal of quarter at least before it gets to the blender!

Coco & PapayaThen there is someone else smitten with the blender. The lad wakes up every morning in a somnambulent state and glides into the kitchen to make himself a frozen strawberry almond smoothie. Goes on to slurp his way through, enjoying it to the last drop, then even washes up the blender! On Mother’s Day, he  burst into my room with a tall {and really really good} glass of Guava+Strawberry+Lychee Smoothie that he conjured up for me.Guava, Strawberry, Lychee SmoothieHonestly, this is one kitchen companion I am enjoying fearlessly! There have been glasses of cold coffee, mango shakes, papaya flax seed smoothies, 3 batches of kadhi, buttermilk lassi, pineapple apricot coolers, watermelon strawberry delights, aam panna … and plenty more this last month.

Cold coffee

Smoothies etc

aam pannaThe upside is having one kid enjoying it even more. The downside? Yes there is one! The daughter has now threatened to take the Hamilton Beach MultiBlender back with her when she goes back to uni after the vacations. #CreateFearlessly might well reach the battleground between the two kids!


Recipe: Kadhi {Indian vegetarian yogurt curry} 
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Summary: A quintessential Indian vegetarian yogurt based curry, which can be found adapted to regional taste. This is my version and it is fragrant, addictive and finger licking good. The Hamilton Beach Multiblender makes it the quickest curry I have made in ages! Serve this gluten free dish with boiled rice or even parathas.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

  • For the curry
  • 300g yogurt, home made or store bought
  • 250ml buttermilk
  • 1 heaped tbsp besan {chickpea flour}
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/8 -1/4 tsp hing {aesofoetida}
  • 1 tsp salt
  • First tempering
  • 1 1/2 tsp ghee {clarified butter}, or oil
  • Pinch hing {aesofoetida}
  • 2-3 whole red chillies
  • Few sprigs fresh currypatta
  • 1/2 tsp whole zeera {cumin seeds}
  • 1tsp sarson {whole mustard seeds}
  • 1/4 tsp whole methi seeds {fenugreek seeds}
  • Second tempering
  • 1 tsp ghee {clarified butter}
  • pinch hing
  • 2-3 whole red chillies, broken
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh curry patta
  • 1/2 tsp sarson {whole mustard seeds}
  • Pakoras {dumplings}
  • 3/4 cup besan
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch baking soda
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 green chilies, broken into 2-3
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander/curry patta, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup oil for frying {else shallow fry }


  1. For the curry
  2. Place all ingredients in the blender, and process for 30 seconds until well blended. Reserve.
  3. First tempering
  4. Keep all the ingredients ready as listed. They need to go in rapidly, one after the other, to avoid them getting burnt. The fenugreek is the last and tends to get a little bitter on over browning, so take care.
  5. Heat 1 1/2 tsp ghee in a deep heavy bottom pan, and add the ingredients as listed, ending with the methi seeds/fenugreek.
  6. Immediately pour in the blended yogurt mixture. Keep over high flame until it comes to a boil, stirring often, else it will overflow {and make you weep}.
  7. Once it comes to a boil, simmer for about 30 minutes until fragrant and cooked, stirring once in a while. Keep an eye on it on and off and it tends to come up to the rim of the pan.
  8. Pakoras
  9. Put the onions, green chilies and fresh coriander in the small blender. Chop for 30 seconds, stir, chop again to desired size.
  10. Place ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Stir in enough water to make a thickish batter of dropping consistency. Whisk well with hand to aerate the batter.
  11. Heat oil and gently drop in spoonfuls. If the batter is very thick, the pakoras will be hard. Experiment with one pakora first to check.
  12. Fry over medium heat until they turn golden on one side, then gently turn and fry the other side. Don’t overcrowd the pan.
  13. Drain from oil, blot over kitchen towels, and slide into hot kadhi/curry. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes so that the pakoras get nice and soft.
  14. Final tempering {Optional. I sometimes skip this as the first tempering flavours the kadhi well}
  15. Heat ghee in a small tadka pan {frying pan}. Throw in all the ingredients. Once they sizzle and splutter, get aromatic, take off heat and pour over kadhi.
  16. Serve with boiled rice {with a side of papads if you like}


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“Barbecue should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
Albert Einstein

Grill In with herby Italian chicken Summer’s here and with it fun, healthier and lighter food. Did I forget the D word? Delicious too! There’s been quite a shift in the way I look at food, develop recipes, serve it up etc. The grains have gone whole, the sugars are less refined, usually natural or brown, and the oils are cold pressed or then clarified butter. Natural homemade white butter too. If you look at things, it’s actually a lifestyle change, teenie step by step, and it’s interesting to see how things can change bit by bit.

Eat healthyWith developing healthy and tasty recipes for Fit Foodie, to drinking more water, upping the protein and walking the extra mile with the GOQii campaign, this year couldn’t have begun on a better note. It isn’t about losing weight and the eternal calorie count. I’ve learnt as time goes by that holistic is better, that lifestyles are better when balanced, that changes don’t happen overnight.

Baby mustard greens stir fryAll this aligns with my food philosophy, being a locavore and eating seasonal. With the temperature rising, I thought I’d buy a sandwich grill. Online browsing is the best option for housebound me these days as I have work going on at home. landing up at the recently launched Home Store section of one of my favourite haunts, I was blown away by the choice.

Outdoor grill, FlipkartSO MUCH CHOICE! I almost forgot what I had landed up for…. my imagination took flight. Beginning from singular thoughts of a sandwich press, the boundaries expanded and how! I shifted gears and knew I now wanted a grilling something. Oh yes, good thought now that I was also cutting back carbs. I wanted a grill! So I set off and OH DEAR! Faced with more choice, online shopping has never been better. My search for grills threw up more temptation by way of the header ‘Barbeque & Grills’. Such fun. The prices are quite reasonable too from under Rs 1000 to about Rs 5000, I found enough choice for my kitchen and home. I have never seen so many colours too.

enamelware charcoal grill, flipkart So it was definitely this I zeroed in on an enamelware charcoal grill. Such a compact fun design, with the option of no legs {counter top}, half stand or stand on wheels, couldn’t have asked for more. Time to toss coins. Which colour? Red blue, green, white, yellow, black? Good heavens! Asked the lad at home because I oscillated between black and red. White he said with conviction, so white it was!Grill In with herby Italian chicken

An outdoor grill in summer is fun, fun, fun. This one is so convenient to use and compact too. The store {can mention Flipkart} is very prompt with updates and delivers expertly. Unpacking it, I loved the packaging and the thought behind the product. Such fun… I ave myself a pat on the back for such a great choice!

Grill In with herby Italian chicken
So here we go. A simple herby lime barbeque chicken to inaugurate my latest online indulgence. You must go and check out the range available. There are some great discounts available that you possibly won’t find in store. Oh, and don’t forget to tell me what you went looking for, and what you eventually bought. Were you strong willed, or weak willed distracted like me, hopping from one page to another, spoilt for choice?

Grill In with herby Italian chicken And I bought another something. You know my love for stoneware and black Manipur pottery. I was pleasantly surprised to see quite an extensive range of this online. To add to my collection, I bought this beautiful flat rectangular serving dish. Was a perfect fit to serve the skewers on. They’ve got an enviable range. For those who cannot make it to Dilli Haat, this is the place to go.

[print_this]Recipe: Herby Lime Grilled Chicken
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Summary: A simple herby Italian chicken which is bursting with tangy, fresh flavour. The smokiness from grilling adds special earthiness to the flavours. Use the same marinade for cottage cheese, or maybe button mushrooms. The cooking time will reduce the same.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

  • 500g boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp dried Italian herbs
  • 1 tbsp Ranch buttermilk dressing {optional}
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano
  • Salt to taste
  • Bell peppers and onions


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together marinade ingredients. Stir in chicken pieces and mix well. Leave to marinade for 2 hours, or better, overnight.
  2. Skewer chicken pieces alternatively with bell peppers and onions.
  3. Fire up the grill. Grill for 7-8 minutes approx each side, as per manufacturer instructions.
  4. Serve hot with a salad on the side.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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