This recipe is truly an adaptation on the ‘American’ Sloppy Joe and has a refreshing Indian twist to it! As many of you may know, it is not common to find beef in India because of the religious connotations (in Hinduism, which is widely practiced in India, cows are considered holy, and therefore it is not kosher to eat them!) 🙂
I make this recipe with both beef and lamb, but have included lamb as the primary meat source just out of respect since I am calling this an ‘Indian’ recipe. But you can even make it with ground turkey or chicken with outstanding results! I think it is lovely with beef and lamb (the red meat flavors really make you believe you are eating a true sloppy joe!), but either way is great.
Some might argue that my recipe here is a simple Indian ‘kheema’ recipe without the potatoes and peas, however I do think that this recipe tastes very different than Kheema. Try it out and let me know what you think! My husband gave it two thumbs up, and in my books, that means that it’s a keeper! 😉
PS – he loves his spice, but if you are not interested in a high spice profile, omit the red chili flakes and/or the green chilies! You can always add more later if you want (or even top your burger with some Sriracha sauce!)
Yields: 4 sloppy joes!
Spicy Tomato Sauce:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger (or ginger powder)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 thin green chilis, seeded and finely minced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 (12 or 15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup toasted cashews
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (or powder)
1 teaspoon ground all-spice powder
1/2 large white onion, finely sliced
1 bell pepper (color of your choice!), seeds and membrane removed, finely diced
3 green chilis (seeds intact if you want it spicy) chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 pound ground lamb (or beef or turkey or even chicken!)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup half-and-half
Small handful chopped fresh cilantro (soft stems included)
4 hamburger buns
Garnish: thinly sliced red onion & freshly chopped cilantro
For the spicy tomato sauce:
Heat the vegetable oil in your saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic and chopped green chili. Saute slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Now add the garam masala and paprika and sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Keep warm.
For the lamb filling:
Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet and add the cumin seeds (or cumin powder) and all-spice and cook for about 20-30 Now add chopped onions and bell pepper, stirring occasionally until softened and starting to brown. Add the chili pepper. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Add salt, ground lamb, Worcestershire, cilantro, & black pepper. Using a wooden spoon, break up the lamb and incorporate all ingredients well. Let it cook for about 5-7 minutes until the meat is no longer pink and browned. Continue to use the wooden spoon to break up the beef into smaller pieces.
Now add the honey, half-and-half, and toasted cashews, stirring throughly. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired. Take pan off of heat and set aside.
Assembling your burgers:
Toast the hamburger buns on a preheated grill pan or on a skillet. Fill with the meat mixture, top with the spicy tomato sauce and serve. My favorite way to serve this burger is to garnish with fresh red onion for a bit of crunch and fresh cilantro.
Wine Pairing: A full-bodied Zinfandel or Pinot Noir is perfect with this spicy, red meat dish!…or a SWEET MANGO LASSI! 😉