Sloppy and healthy, but oh so flavorful, Indian turkey sloppy Joes will make both kids and adults happy. Use any ground meat you love, or tofu crumbles, and serve on hot toasted buns for added flavor and crunch.
Gather the sauce ingredients and place a glass with a couple of tablespoons of water by the stove.
In a saucepan over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the ginger, garlic, and chili. Sauté for a minute or two until they no longer smell raw.
Add the garam masala, Kashmiri chili powder or paprika, and black pepper. Cook for 30 to 60 seconds to bloom the spices. If they begin to stick, add a tablespoon or two of water.
Stir in the tomato sauce and water. Over medium-high heat, bring the sauce to a boil, then turn down to medium-low. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes so the mixture thickens.
Cook the Meat
Gather the ingredients for the ground meat or tofu.
While the sauce is cooking, in a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle for a minute or two until they are fragrant and a shade darker. Stir in the onions, bell pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the onions, begin to brown along the edges. Add the Serrano chili and cook for a minute.
Add the turkey, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir to break the meat into crumbles and brown evenly. It will take about 5 minutes to sauté the meat until it is cooked through.
Pour the tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce (if using) into the ground meat mixture and stir together. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Immediately turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes, so the flavors meld together and the sauce thickens.
Add the sugar, and taste the sloppy Joes for enough salt, pepper, and possibly a bit of acid from lemon juice or vinegar. You are looking for a balance of flavors. Heavily spiced food tends to need more salt; don't oversalt, but don't under salt or the flavor will be flat.
Garnish with any or all of the suggestions above and enjoy! The turkey sloppy Joes will be good on the day it is made, but it will be even better the next day
Garam masala can be either the usualNorth Indian garam masala or Kerala garam masala or your favorite curry powder. You can also do a quick substitute with this combination: 1/2 tsp coriander, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 ground cardamom, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, and a big pinch of cloves.
I have kept the amount of oil in the recipe to a minimum. To keep the spices or meat from sticking to the bottom of the pan, keep a glass of water by the stove, and add a tablespoon as needed.
If you want flavor from green chili but not too much heat, make two 1-inch slits down either side of the chili and add in as suggested. The slits keep the chili from bursting open while cooking and scattering the seeds. Remove before serving.
If you don't have half and half, use half heavy cream and half milk.
If you want a vegetarian dish, use tofu and replace the half and half with coconut milk.