Blog 7: Magical Mince Meals in Minutes
Mince is the great standby, isn’t it? Some people call it “poor man’s steak” but I think mince gets a bad rap! Maybe it depends on the butcher or supermarket you buy from because the truth is, you don’t really know what cuts go into mince unless you see it happen. It could contain small amounts of offal but there’s really no harm at all in offal, except you may not like the flavour. If you really want to be sure, you can make friends with your butcher, point out the cuts you want minced and ask them to do it for you while you wait. That way, you’ll be in control of the fat content too.
In supermarkets, you can usually buy a couple of different grades of mince with the higher grades containing less fat. I prefer mine with fat for flavour and moistness, and sometimes I’ll even buy from the organic butcher where all the beef comes from pasture-fed animals.
Mince, versatile mince
The beautiful thing about minced meat is that it’s so versatile! Meals made with mince are also great because they’re suitable for all ages. Your toddler will love the texture and so will your elderly or unwell Mum or Dad who may not cope with chewing a steak. Mince is comfort food. It’s easy to consume, full of iron and protein and lends itself to so many different ideas in all types of cuisines. Some use beef, others use lamb but minced meat can be chicken, pork, goat or turkey too according to preference, dietary restrictions or cultural beliefs and you can pretty much interchange the different meats in whatever recipe you’re cooking.
Look how mince is used across the world!
- Australia – Sausage rolls, meat pies, savoury mince jaffles.
- Italy – Stuffed capsicums, bolognese, lasagne, spaghetti and meatballs.
- China – San choy bau, pot stickers, stir fry.
- India – Curries, keema,
- UK – Shepherd’s pie, scotch eggs, lamb cobbler.
- USA – Meat loaf, cheeseburgers.
- Greece – Moussaka, pastitsio
- South America – Tacos, enchiladas, nachos, chilli.
- Spain – Empanadas, picadillo.
- Middle East – Kibbeh, beef shakshuka, kiymale pide (Turkish pizza), koftas, gozleme, meatball tagine.
- Sweden – Swedish meatballs.
- Vietnam – Pork meatballs.
- Thailand – Larb, phat kaphrao.
Massaman Kofta Curry
Koftas are meatballs mixed with spices and onions and are served in South Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Greece in an array of variations. This recipe is made with massaman curry paste and coconut cream so it leans heavily towards Thai cuisine.
- 500 g pork, beef or lamb mince
- 1 tbsp Latasha’s Kitchen Thai Massaman Curry Paste
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- ½ cup cooked rice
- Salt and pepper
- Oil for frying
- ½ brown onion, sliced
- 1 x 400 ml can coconut cream
- Put all ingredients (but only half the curry paste) into a mixing bowl then with your hands, mix through until well combined.
- Take some of the meat, about the size of a golf ball and roll it around in your hands then form into a sausage shape. Place each kofta onto a plate.
- Heat some oil in a fry pan and gently place the koftas in to fry. Turn when brown to cook evenly on each side. Fry the sliced onion alongside the koftas.
- Add the other half tablespoon of curry paste and warm through to release the aromas.
- When the koftas are browned all over, add coconut cream to the pan. Stir to cover the koftas and turn the heat down to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Serve over rice, quinoa or noodles or with steamed vegetables, naan or roti. Garnish with coriander.
The koftas will be tender, succulent and beautifully flavoured and you can mop up all that glorious gravy with bread or naan or simply make a bowl with your choice of rice or noodles.
- If you want a less ‘saucy’ result, you can add less coconut cream. That way, you can use the koftas on flatbreads instead and add some thinly sliced capsicum, carrot, onion and cucumber. Wrap them up and pack for school lunches, work lunches or a very tasty picnic meal.
- You can do away with the coconut cream altogether and barbecue or char-grill the koftas and serve with a salad or on flatbread with raita or plain natural yoghurt.
Latasha’s Kitchen Thai Massaman Curry Paste
Trust Latasha to pack so much flavour into a little jar! Her Thai Massaman Curry Paste boasts all the authentic ingredients of any traditional massaman. It contains tamarind, chilli, lemongrass, ginger, turmeric and garlic as well as intense shrimp paste, balanced out with fresh tomatoes. There are loads more ingredients so be sure to check it out and you’ll get an idea of the deep tastes you can bring to your kitchen table, courtesy of a single tablespoon!