Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Keema Alu

I'm not quite sure how, but I almost lost an eye eating this dish. I was sitting at my table, flipping through the Joy of Cooking looking for some dessert possibilities, when my right eye got a little allergy-related itch, as is pretty usual for this time of year when the brown cloud of dust and doom settles over Phoenix. I took off my glasses to rub my eye and was greeted with a searing pain which caused me to immediately tear uncontrollably, and I stupidly kept rubbing my eye a little more before sprinting five feet over to the skin and splasing the coldest water you can get from a Phoenix tap into my puffy-feeling eyeball. This made it feel worse, and I couldn't even open my eye enough to see out of it (you take all the vision you can get when you're almost legally blind without glasses), so I washed my hands with soap and water to hopefully get whatever jalapeno pepper remnants were on my hands off while shutting my eye as tightly as I could, and continued splashing. My shirt sleeves were soaked at this point, so I took off my shirt and stuck my whole head in the sink, trying to run the water directly into my eye. I've known people who've had pepper-related issues (mostly genitalia-related, but there were some eye problems) before so I wasn't afraid of going blind or anything, but holy motherfucker! It hurt! The running water didn't seem to do much, so I went to the freezer, got an ice cube, and jammed that onto my eye, which actually did seem to make it burn less. After alternating that with the running water for five minutes, I returned to my now-lukewarm meal and finished eating.

Lesson learned: wash your hands really well after you deal with hot peppers. I thought I had, but apparently I missed a spot. I guess it takes this sort of accident to make someone an obsessive-compulsive hand washing freak.

The keema alu (hey! look at the cool Indian food glossary here! It means ground meat and potatoes) was the second Indian dish I've made from Joy of Cooking and while it's not quite as good as the Cauliflower and Potato Curry, it's definitely an easy, solid midweek meal. The only problem I ran into was the liquid never cooking off like the recipe said it should; I don't know if I put in too much tomato juice or if the beef was simply more fatty than it should have been. I used 15% ground beef from Whole Foods since it was on sale for $3.49/lb; the 7% ground beef was considerably more expensive at $7.99/lb (ow! half the fat, twice the price!). Anyhow, I fished it all out of the pot with a slotted spoon and that was that. The other minor problem was not opening the ziplock bag for my giant 20-lb bag of rice correctly... it doesn't have a functioning zip-lock anymore and is held closed by painter's tape. Oops. And finally, I only got rid of 3/4 lb of potatoes. I still have a crapload of potatoes to figure out how to use. Maybe I should just make a potato gun.

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