Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sloppy Bombay Joes

I'm a Food Network addict.  Little Adam has yet to be sat down in front of a cartoon or Yo Gabba Gabba, but he's seen his fair share of Barefoot Contessa and Top Chef.  I even got Jimi into the competitive cooking shows, which is pretty amazing for an 11 year old.  So, when The Next Food Network Star show started this season, I was glued.  And happily, my favorite contestant, Aarti Sequeira, a sweet natured Indian woman who reminded me a lot of my friend Loilene, won the show.  Her prize is her own show on The Food Network.  So I set my DVR.

This recipe is from her first show.  I love Indian food.  So, an entire show about taking an Indian twist on familiar foods is awesome.  I don't normally make sloppy joes, but I know they are always an easy hit with the boys.  Jimi isn't fond of Indian food, he claims, so I tested them out on Abe.  He really liked them.  And there's a funny story that comes with that.

I normally don't eat what I cook at home since I'm the only vegetarian.  I'll eat the sides or just the salad- no biggie.  This time, I wanted to try Aarti's recipe.  So I decided to make 1/2 of it with ground beef and 1/2 with veggie crumbles.  Abe's made it clear in the past that veggie crumbles are pretty much yuck, so I never use them.  Dinner was a hit and I packed up the leftovers in separate, but similar tupperware.  The next day I realized that Abe had taken the veggie crumble one, leaving me with the beef.  That evening, I asked him how lunch was and he raved about how great it was and how he shared it with a friend who loved it too.  So much for how gross veggie crumb

If you're familiar with Indian food, you will love this.  If you're not, it's a nice way to get introduced to some new flavors.  Garam masala is one of the lead spice combos and can be found in the international section of the grocery store or any Indian/Middle Eastern market.   It can be made with ground turkey, beef or veggie crumbles.

This recipe is from Aarti Party on The Food Network.


Sloppy Bombay Joes
Serves 4-6

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 serrano chile, seeded and finely minced (save the other half for the turkey)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water


  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (if you using veggie crumble or something very lean, add more) 
  • Small handful shelled pistachios, about 1/4 cup (I couldn't find this, so I omitted) 
  • Small handful raisins, about 1/4 cup 
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds 
  • 1/2 large white onion, finely diced 
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and membrane removed, finely diced  
  • 1/2 serrano chile, seeds intact (don't chop it up unless you like things spicy!) 
  • Kosher salt
  •  1 pound ground turkey (or beef or veggie crumble) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey 
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half 
  • Small handful chopped fresh cilantro (soft stems included) 
  • 4 to 6 hamburger buns 
Begin by making the sauce: Warm the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, until it shimmers. Add the ginger, garlic and serrano pepper. Saute until the ginger and garlic brown a little. Add the garam masala and paprika and saute for 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile for the turkey, in large skillet, warm 2 tablespoons of oil. When shimmering, add the pistachios and raisins. Cook until the raisins swell up and the pistachios toast slightly. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Return the pan to medium heat, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of oil, and warm until shimmering. Add the cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle for about 10 seconds, or until some of the sizzling subsides. Stir in the onions and bell pepper; saute until softened and starting to brown. Add the serrano pepper. Saute for another couple of minutes, seasoning with a little salt. Stir in the turkey, breaking up the big lumps. Cook until opaque, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, your sauce should be ready. Pour the sauce into the skillet with the turkey. Stir and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.
Once the turkey is cooked and the sauce has thickened a little, remove the serrano pepper. Add the honey, half-and-half, pistachios and raisins. Stir through and taste for seasoning. Before serving, garnish with fresh cilantro.

Toast the buns, fill with the turkey mixture and serve.

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