Goan Potato Chops

Hello everyone and welcome back. A few days ago, I whipped up another batch of Potato Chops. This is my favorite way to enjoy Savory Mince. For those of you who have never eaten a Potato Chop before, it is a handled, single serve version of Shepherd’s Pie. Ofcourse, this recipe is a tad spicier than the original one, because of the use of Goan spices. As always, you can adjust the spice level to your liking.

If you haven’t had potato chops before, you really should. These little beauties are served up in lots of Goan homes, not just in Goa, but around the world. They are a must at any party or family gathering, in my house at least. I have posted this recipe before, but that was years ago. The recipe is still the same one. I’ve just got some new pictures and I’ve made a little video to show you how I make these potato chops. They are pretty simple to make, but if you’re a visual learner like me, the video will help make the process simpler. So go on over and have a look. Let me know if you have any questions at all. The step by step recipe is just below.

Potato Chops


1/2 a recipe of Beef Mince (Beef mince video recipe here – https://youtu.be/RhSfsw2EC1U ) (You can substitute mutton mince, if you don’t eat beef)
4-5 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp cumin powder
A pinch of turmeric powder (optional)
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1 egg
Bread crumbs / Panko bread crumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying


Make half a portion of beef mince and keep aside. This should come down to room temperature before you proceed with this recipe.


Boil the potatoes only when you are ready to make the chops you need to work when the potatoes are still warm. Cold potatoes make handling difficult.


Peel and mash the potatoes well. Make sure there are no lumps. Add salt to taste, cumin powder, turmeric powder and coriander leaves and using your hands mix well to ensure all the spices and herbs are evenly distributed. Feel free to adjust the quantities of the spices and herbs used to suit your taste.


Take a portion of the mashed potato, the size of a tennis ball, roll into a ball and flatten to form a thick disc on the palm of your hand. Place a spoon of the mince in the center and bring the sides of the potato disc up and over the filling to cover it well. Make sure that no mince is sticking out. If you feel the need to add more potato to it, feel free to do so. The mashed potato merges well. Shape it to form a patty and keep aside. Continue till you’ve used up all the mashed potato.


Crack an egg in a shallow bowl, wide enough to fit the chops. Beat well to incorporate the white and the yolk.


Pour some bread crumbs onto a plate and keep it ready. I have a little assembly line going for this, starting with the chops at one end, followed by the bowl with the beaten egg, the bread crumbs and a plate lined with some absorbent kitchen paper at the other end.


Heat some oil in a pan.


Briefly dip a chop in the egg and turn over, making sure it coats the chop well.


Dredge it through the bread crumbs making sure the potato chop is well coated. This is what will give it a good crunch.


Carefully place in the pan with the heated oil and shallow fry till it takes on a nice golden brown color. Turn and let the other side fry as well till it gets golden brown.


Carefully take it off the pan and repeat till you’ve used up the rest of the potato mix.







NOTE: You don’t need to fry these one at a time, place as many as your pan can accommodate, making sure theres a little space between them to help you turn these over.  


Here’s what it looks like on the inside –




These potato chops are best served hot with some tomato sauce. Any leftovers refrigerate and reheat well.


Enjoy!!!

Homemade Seasoned Taco Meat

With the Holiday season done, I know a lot of us are trying to get back to regular eating habits. We’re trying to eat a little healthier after all the Holiday indulgences. We’ve also had a family wedding in early January, so for us the indulgences have been a little more that usual this time around. Now that I’m back and mostly unpacked and back to business as usual, the focus is on healthier food.

I love trying out new recipes and cuisines. Now I know Mexican food is hardly a new cuisine, but for me, this was a new recipe. My ground beef recipe is a little more involved than this one. I love the simplicity of it. The method was a little different than what I was used to, but by the time this taco meat was ready, it looked and smelt great and tasted fantastic. I can guarantee this tastes so much better than any packaged taco meat that you buy from the store. And you know exactly what has gone into the pot.

You could, as the name suggests, use this in tacos, but since we are trying to eat healthier, we enjoyed this with some iceberg lettuce and a bean salad on the side. Who said healthy eating had to be boring or tasteless. This was healthy and delicious and is going to make quite a few appearances on our dinner table. I do hope you try it out too.

Homemade Seasoned Taco Meat
Recipe from: Premeditated Leftovers


1/2 kg lean ground beef
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 cup water
2 green onions, sliced

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.

Add the ground beef to the pan and cook the meat till it is browned and no longer pink. This should take about 4-5 minutes.

Now add the onions and tomatoes and cook for about 2-3 minutes or till the onions have started to soften.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the water and the green onions. Stir everything together and saute for a couple of minutes. By now all the spices should have started doing their job and should be fragrant.

Now add the water and bring the pot to a simmer.

Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.

Now uncover the pot and cook the meat uncovered till almost all the liquid has evaporated.

Take the pan off the heat and stir in the green onions.

Enjoy!

Goan Red (Beef) Kheema

I’m back …. after what seems like forever. There have been a few changes around here. First of all, a name change. We are now called “The Aspiring Home Cook” which I think suits me and the site just right. The housekeeping will take a little longer. I am currently working on updating names and links on Facebook and Pinterest. So if you have any of the links saved locally, you will need to replace “myhobbielobbie” with “theaspiringhomecook”. All the pictures before today will still have watermarks with the old name and I hope to replace them eventually. So there will be a few more changes around here.

So there you have it. You now know why I’ve been missing in action around these parts. Up until now, I thought I’d wait to sort everything out before I got back to posting here again. But I couldn’t stay away any longer. I needed to try out new recipes and have someone to tell about them. So I’m back. All this techie business has lead me into a kind of cooking / baking rut lately and I’ve been longing to dig into some interesting food again.

So after a little bit of looking around, I think I’ve found some of my mojo again. I found this really good recipe for a curried beef mince, Goan style. This recipe is very different in technique from my usual recipe. I was a little skeptical when I started reading through it because of the major differences. But its the differences that convinced me to try it out. I was glad I did. There are a couple more steps involved in this recipe but it results in a very flavorful beef kheema. The red masala comes through making the resulting dish a warming shade of red, perfect for these cooler autumn days. I hope you try this recipe out when you have a hankering for some good homemade Goan / Indian food.

Goan Red (Beef) Kheema
Recipe from: Delicious Memories with Alves Fernandes

500g Beef mince
1 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
Juice of 1 lime
2 medium potatoes, cut into cubes
1 tbsp cooking oil (sunflower, vegetable, groundnut, olive – whatever you use for your day to day cooking)
2 onions, finely chopped
2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
1 fresh green / red chillies, slit
1-2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
2 tbsp vinegar
Salt, to taste
A pinch of sugar

Grind to a paste
5 dry red Kashmiri chillies (or any mild variety)
2-3 large cloves of garlic
1″ ginger
1 1/2″ cinnamon
2 cardamom pods
32 black peppercorns (I know it seems like a lot, but its not)
15 cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 teaspoon white poppy seeds (khuskhus)
1 tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsp vinegar
Water, as needed

Marinade the raw beef mince with salt, ginger garlic paste, juice of 1/2 a lime and mix thoroughly. Keep aside.

Grind all the ingredients listed under ‘grind to a paste’ to a fine paste and keep aside.

Bring the marinaded mince and 1 cup of water to a boil. Simmer till the mince is cooked about 3/4 of the way.

Heat the oil in another large pan.

Saute the onion. till they have turned translucent.

Add the tomatoes and cook till it has softened.

Add the ground spices and let it fry for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add the potatoes and stir well to coat them in the spices.

Add the boiled mince to the pot and stir through. Let it cook for about a minute, then add the remaining stock that the mince boiled in.

Add about a cup of water to the blender in which the spices were ground and swirl around to get any remaining masala (spice paste) and continue cooking.

After about 5 minutes, add the slit red / green chilly and the remaining lime juice (juice of 1/2 a lime).

Let it cook till the potatoes are tender. Just before the potatoes are cooked, add salt (to taste) and a pinch of sugar.

Cook till the potatoes are cooked and the gravy is the consistency you like. I like mine to be more on the thicker side.

Check for salt and sourness and add more as needed.

Turn off the heat.

Sprinkle chopped coriander over the top and serve hot.

Serve with some boiled rice, pulao, chapatis or even your favorite bread.

Goan Meatball Curry

After what seems like ages, I’m finally back. And it’s good to be back. I was away for a month and spent Christmas with our family in Mumbai, followed by a mandatory trip to Goa and a short stopover at Panchgani. Those of you that follow me on Instagram would have seen some of my pictures there. Those of you that don’t, I would love it if you could join me. I’m on IG as @vaztrisha – Do stop by and say ‘Hi’.

I can’t wait to share more about the trip with you. However, that wonderful trip ended with an anti-climatic couple of days of jet lag followed by 2 weeks of a cold, stubborn cough and a couple of days of a fever. Am I glad that’s over. I hate being unwell mostly, because that means I cannot be up and about cooking and enjoying the simple pleasures of life. But I’m well and truly glad to be back.

One of the first few things I cooked up after getting back on my feet is my beloved Mama’s Meatball Curry. I’ve always loved this curry right from the time I was a little girl. This time when I went to Mumbai, I knew I had to learn this recipe from her. See this is the thing with her recipes, she can whip them up with her eyes closed, but ask her to tell you how she makes it and she may leave out a thing or two, not intentionally of course. So this time around, I got into the kitchen and watched her make it. Yes, I watched her, like a hawk πŸ˜‰  And I’m happy to report that I got the recipe down and made the curry today and I was really pleased with how it turned out. Ofcourse, nothing can beat the food my Mother makes (even though I follow her recipes to the T, her food always turns out better), but this came pretty close, I tell ya.

This recipe is a little more intricate than most of the recipes I share here, but it is really easy. There are two parts to it – one is making the meatballs and the second is making the curry itself. This curry is full of flavor and goes really well with either plain steamed rice or this fragrant Peas Pulao. If you’re not in the mood for rice, it goes well with some Goan bread (Poee) or dinner rolls too.

Goan Meatball Curry


For the Meatballs – 
1/2 kg beef mince (ground beef)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1-2 green or red chillies, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2-1 tsp red chilly powder
1 egg
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce (optional, though it does add good flavor)

Mix all the ingredients together.

Form the meatballs and set aside.

For the curry – 
1 small onion, finely chopped
6 curry leaves
2 tbsp oil
Salt, to taste
Tamarind, to taste (Soak tamarind in warm water to form a pulp)
Fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped
1 large potato, peeled and cut into large cubes

Grind to a fine, smooth paste (masala) using a little water –
8 Kashmiri chillies (dry red chillies, mildly spiced, but used for its vibrant color)
4 Bedki chillies (dry red chillies, spicy)
3 large cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin seeds
6 cloves
10 black pepper corns
2″ cinnamon
1/3 tsp turmeric powder
1 tomato

Heat the oil in a pan and carefully drop the curry leaves in.

Add the onion and saute on a medium high heat till the onions are translucent.

Add the masala and continue sauteeing for a few minutes till the raw smell of the masala goes and the oil starts to seperate.

Add salt, to taste.

Add water to get it to the desired consistency, depending on how thick or thin you’d like the gravy. Keep in mind that the gravy does thicken a little as it cooks. Err on the side of less, you can always add more water as you need.

Gently place the meatballs in the gravy.

Place the potato cubes in the gravy without smashing the meatballs.

Once the gravy comes to a boil, turn the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and let the curry cook.

After about 15 minutes, check to see if done.

Check and add more salt, if needed.

Add tamarind pulp to taste.

Once ready, garnish with some fresh coriander and serve hot.

 Enjoy!!!

**Note: You will be able to find Kashmiri chillies in most Indian shops in Sydney and a few of them carry the Bedki / bedgi variety. If you can’t get your hands on them, substitute with any dry red chillies you have on hand. You may then need to adjust the number of dry red chillies used, to regulate the spice level to your liking.

Potato Chops

Most of you have heard of lamb chops, pork chops etc. but I’m pretty sure you’re wondering what on earth is a Potato Chop. Its one of my favorite little treats. I usually make these at quite a few dinners and parties. My mum used to make these for our birthday parties and other gatherings and I tell you these are simply the best. To give you a gist of it, its like a cottage / shepherd’s pie that you can almost call finger food, except that its a little larger than finger food but you get the picture. It is also the perfect way to use up any leftover beef mince (only you might want to make sure you don’t use any pieces of potatoes that may be in the mince). If I’m making some mince just to make the chops, I leave out the potatoes, because the mince is stuffed in a pocket of mashed potato anyway.

They taste best if served hot with some tomato ketchup. They also keep well, refrigerated. All you do, is pop them in a pan, cover and let it heat through on a low flame before serving. These chops are a good option to consider as travel food for a road trip.The crumb coating gives this a nice crunchy exterior.

Potato Chops


1/2 a recipe of Beef Mince (You can substitute mutton mince, if you don’t eat beef)
4-5 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp cumin powder
A pinch of turmeric powder (optional)
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1 egg
Bread crumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying

Make half a portion of beef mince and keep aside. This should come down to room temperature before you proceed with this recipe.

Boil the potatoes only when you are ready to make the chops you need to work when the potatoes are still warm. Cold potatoes make handling difficult.

Peel and mash the potatoes well. Make sure there are no lumps. Add salt to taste, cumin powder, turmeric powder and coriander leaves and using your hands mix well to ensure all the spices and herbs are evenly distributed. Feel free to adjust the quantities of the spices and herbs used to suit your taste.

Take a portion of the mashed potato, the size of a tennis ball, roll into a ball and flatten to form a thick disc on the palm of your hand. Place a spoon of the mince in the center and bring the sides of the potato disc up and over the filling to cover it well. Make sure that no mince is sticking out. If you feel the need to add more potato to it, feel free to do so. The mashed potato merges well. Shape it to form a patty and keep aside. Continue till you’ve used up all the mashed potato.

Crack an egg in a shallow bowl, wide enough to fit the chops. Beat well to incorporate the white and the yolk.

Pour some bread crumbs onto a plate and keep it ready. I have a little assembly line going for this, starting with the chops at one end, followed by the bowl with the beaten egg, the bread crumbs and a plate lined with some absorbent kitchen paper at the other end.

Heat some oil in a pan.

Briefly dip a chop in the egg and turn over, making sure it coats the chop well.

Dredge it through the bread crumbs making sure the potato chop is well coated. This is what will give it a good crunch.

Carefully place in the pan with the heated oil and shallow fry till it takes on a nice golden brown color. Turn and let the other side fry as well till it gets golden brown.

Carefully take it off the pan and place on some kitchen paper to drain out any excess oil.

NOTE: You don’t need to fry these one at a time, place as many as your pan can accommodate, making sure theres a little space between them to help you turn these over.  


Here’s what it looks like on the inside –

Enjoy!!!

This recipe is linked to –
What’s Cookin’ in the Kitchen
Feed Me Tweet Me Follow Me Home
Friday Potluck
Fat Camp Friday

Shepherd’s Pie

We had a crazy weekend. It started out with the regular weekend chores like laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning – you know how it works, right? and before we knew it, we found ourselves scrambling to save some trees in our area from being cut. We did manage to put a halt to the original plan of chopping down 13 great, big trees that are atleast 30 years old. I say this with so much authority because the trees have been in their spots as far back as I can remember. I’m pretty sure they are much older than me. We had a local newspaper report the incident and are hoping that this will help us preserve the remaining tree cover in the area. You can check out the article here.

Anyway, things got better from there. We spent Sunday with family at my brother-in-law’s place. The guys had a blast. They played carrom after years and played for quite a few hours, while I spent time with my sister-in-law and neices (you remember them – Faith & Shania – from my second post). After a delightful morning and lunch with them, we headed home.

I was exhausted but I still wanted to make something for dinner that night.At first, I wanted to make some Moussaka. I’ve made that a couple of times before, and my husband and I simply love it. Then I started having second thoughts as the recipe calls for a lot of frying and with the temperatures and humidity levels being sky-high in Mumbai at the moment, I didn’t think I could endure all that frying. So as I was sifting through my collection of recipes, I stumbled upon a recipe for Shepherd’s Pie that I’d bookmarked some time ago and decided to give it a go.  The original recipe calls for lamb mince but since I only had beef mince in the house, I made the switch. Well some folks say that Shepherd’s Pie is strictly made using lamb mince and if you do happen u switch the meat like I did, then what you’ve made is some Cottage Pie. Either way, I must say, this recipe did not disappoint. I used the recipe found in Nita Mehta’s – The Best of Mutton. All you do is make some mashed potato and a simple mince. Place the mince in a baking dish and smear the mashed potato over to make a nice layer. Bake @ 170ΒΊC for about 20 minutes. In less than an hour, we sat down to a hearty, warm and scrumptious dinner. This, served with a lovely fresh salad, is really yummy. 

Give it a go and you won’t be disappointed.

Note to Self: Next time, get pictures before wolfing down delicious food. πŸ™‚