Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mincing My Words

Nowt like a bowl o mince when you fancy a lil somethin-somethin - know what I mean? Ask any small child what they want to eat for dinner, and once you've fended off the usual chance-their-arm attempts to get sweets, cake, biccies, chocolate and ice-cream out of you, chances are they'll request a mince-based creation. And why not - it's nice and manageable in terms of shape and texture, it usually comes with a yummy sauce on it that makes it nice and squidgy, and it can also make veggies taste un-objectionable to those who refuse to eat things that are not either brown or white in colour. In the main, mince will crop up as part of an Italian dish, generally with a strongly tomato-y vibe - spag bol, lasagne and meatballs being the most obvious examples, as well as that Irish mammy staple the shepard's pie, chilli, and the inexplicably trendy burger (I do love a good burger, but is it really such a revelation that one can *gasp* make them oneself? And they are *OHEMGEE* nice and cheap? Don't get me started on the epidemic of self-consciously 'funky' burger restaurants either. Though I will quickly add that I love Jo Burger. Ok, rant over.). I must say, the rash of 'lets all get down with mince as a cheap n cheerful foodstuff' recipes that appeared when the recession was in its early days grew tiresome rather quickly, and I was at a loss, myself, to come up with a new way of making it interesting, so in my own bid to lower my grocery bills I chose to go down the route of eating more veggie-based food. Then along came Nigella's Kitchen to rock my greedy, face-stuffing little world and introduce me to a fabulous substance of radioactively unnatural bright colour called Gochugang in her Korean Keema recipe. Apparently this is originally an Indian dish, and the word keema simply means minced meat, but Nigella adapts it here to make her own speedy creation with this SUPER Korean hot pepper paste. Any excuse, frankly, to wander through the aisles of the incomprehensibly marked packaging in the Asian supermarket. I'm not the brightest spark when it comes to figuring out what's what in those places, so it took me a while, but eventually I managed to get my mitts on this tub of wonderousness. Right in time to make a spicy Sunday night bowl of pure comfort. 

Check out the colour of this stuff - that can NOT be good for you! That red gloop is two tablespoons of gochujang, floating in two tablespoons of soy sauce and one tablespoon of rice wine along with one tablespoon of honey. 

That lot gets whipped together in order to get all squidged up with the mince. Now, Nigella uses turkey mince in her recipe, but I used minced beef. I'm sure that the minced turkey is a leaner option, but to be perfectly honest, if you're choosing to put something that colour into your body that won't be of huge concern to you on this occasion. The sauce and the mince get to know each other more intimately for about five minutes while the rest of proceedings get underway. 

Redeem yourself with a little green action; bright lil peasies shining out at you from all of that meatiness will make it feel like less of a meat-n-additives stodge-fest.

First into the pan is 125g of petits pois and six chopped spring onions.

The meat and sauce follows about four minutes later, and it all gets nicely smooshed together as the mince browns. Swirl two tablespoons of rice wine around the bowl that the sauce was in to get every last bit of it out of there. Give it another minute or so, and then it's good to go, perched on top of a lovely fluffy mound of rice.

Couldn't. Be. Simpler. And eating it is pretty easy too.


  1. I did a Sushi class on tuesday and we used that hot chilli paste .. it was yum! I'm def gonna hit the asian market and get some .. and then try your recipe too.. love the blog, just discovered it!

  2. No way! Share your sushi recipe! I have been meaning to find more uses for that paste, it is amazing...even though it is a highly unnatural colour...I'm kinda glad I can't read the ingredients list!!! Thank you so much for your kind words re the blog x