Recipe: Indian Meat Loaf

The most logical way to make use of my husband's over-abundance of Indian spices would be to make some sort of Indian dish. But that particular evening I was feeling not so logical (thanks, perhaps, to the consumption of a glass of a very full-bodied petite sirah). I wanted Indian food. But I also wanted meat loaf. So I made...yes, you guessed it.

It turns out I am hardly the first person to experiment with this form of fusion cooking. Although I had made regular meat loaf enough to be able to wing the recipe, I was uncertain as to the specific proportions of South Asian spices I should incorporate in my loaf o' meat.

The first recipe I checked out looked delicious, but the instructions totally intimidated me I was missing a few of the key ingredients.

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Ultimately, and rather appropriately, I fused a few different recipes together and hoped for the best. Here's my hybrid version:

Indian Meat Loaf

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 16 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 pounds ground beef (85% lean)
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (or, if you have 'em, pappadum crumbs)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss in diced white onions and saute until soft and golden brown.

Add in coriander and garam masala. Stir constantly for two minutes. Add in ketchup, diced tomatoes and pepper.

Keep stirring and bring mixture to a boil. Allow to thicken slightly, about 9 minutes. allowing the mixture to thicken slightly, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine beaten eggs, beef, and bread crumbs. Spoon in tomato and onion mixture and combine thoroughly. Form into one very large loaf (or two smaller loaves) and placed on foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake 45-60 minutes.

What emerged after roughly an hour of baking was a sizzling, slightly cracked mound of meat speckled with tomato chunks that looked rather bland and unappetizing (hence, no picture). This plain-Jane exterior, however belied a juicy beef bursting with sweetness and autumnal spices. I had been worried my choice of lean beef rather than chuck would make for a dryer, less rich loaf, but with the addition of the eggs and sauteed onions, the meat lacking nothing in fatty flavor.

Because I am a ketchup addict, I garnished my slice of Indian meat loaf with just a dollop of Heinz. Next time, though, I'm making some curry ketchup and maybe a side of mashed chickpeas.

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