In this A-Z Challenge, Journey Through Telangana Cuisine, I am doing Q for Qimah. This was one of the tough letters to work with and I could not think of a vegetable, fruit or a dish in Telugu that starts with Q. The only ingredient I could think of is qimah or qeema.
Going by sounds, I decided to do Q for qimah (khyma) or qeema (kheema). Qimah is ground meat and vundalu are balls. These vundalu are prepared with mutton qimah and I used ground goat meat. As with many tough letters, I had qurbani ka meetha but you know the story, as I am doing only Telugu dishes, I had to look for other options.
Qimah vundalu is another recipe which makes me nostalgic, taking me down the memory lane. When growing up, these vundalu were a must on Dasara and on New Year’s Eve. Over the years that changed as easier recipes were discovered and these vundalu remained in my memories. I do not remember the last time these were prepared back home.
All I remember about these vundalu is that meat is cooked with spices, brought to room temperature, ground to paste, shaped into balls and then deep fried. I also remember the frustration on my aunts’ and mom’s faces when the vundalu fell apart when deep frying. This was not often but did happen sometimes. I prepared these from a mental note of the recipe I had made years and years ago, when I was a little kid. I might have missed a few ingredients from the original preparation. Fortunately, vundalu came out perfect without falling apart, though some vundalu cracked.
If you are looking for juicy qimah vundalu like my husband did, then these are not the ones. Since the meat is precooked and then deep fried, vundalu will be a bit dry. In fact, from my recollection these are suppose to be dry and were fried dark brown, unlike mine. I did not want to deep fry for too long, though it took almost 3-5 minutes of deep frying per batch, on medium - medium high flame.
One thing to remember when making these is that the meat needs to be cooked until all the juices/liquids released are evaporated. If there is any moisture or too much moisture, vundalu could fall apart when deep frying. An egg and fried gram are used to bind the meat and act as binding agents. I used only egg white as I felt one full egg would be too much for the quantity of ground meat I used. If using more meat, then use whole egg.
Yields: 20 vundallu, depending on the size
- 1.2 lbs. Qimah (Khyma/kheema) ~ Ground Goat Meat
- 3 tsp. Or 1 tbsp. Chili Powder (adjust to taste)
- 1 tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 tsp. Coriander Powder
- Few drops of water
- About 2 tsp. Oil
- 1 tsp. Garam Masala (I used homemade masala and if using store bought, use less)
- 3 tbsp. Putnalu ~ Roasted Chana Dal
- 1 Egg White
- Oil for deep frying
- Wash ground meat and squeeze out as much water as possible.
- In a saucepan take washed qimah, chili powder, salt, coriander powder and oil. Mix everything, sprinkle very little water, cover and cook until meat is almost cooked, about 75 - 80%.
- Remove the cover and continue cooking until it is fully cooked and all the moisture evaporates. If too much juice/loquid is released when cooking qimah, uncover when it is 50% cooked, and cook until done.
- Remove from fire and let cool.
- Powder putnalu and keep aside.
- Once the meat cools, taste and adjust spices according.
- Transfer to food processor, add putnalu powder, garam masala powder and the egg white. Process until all the ingredients are blended.
- Transfer to a bowl or a plate and mix/knead to make sure all the spices and powders are well blended into ground meat.
- Shape the meat mixture into small balls. If the meat is sticky, apply some oil to hand and shape the balls.
- Heat oil for deep frying. When oil is hot, gradually drop qimah vundalu into oil and fry on medium - medium high flame until the vundalu are light brown, turning them often. Depending on how wide your pan is, can fry at least 5-6 vundalu at a time.
- Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Fry remaining qimah vundalu.
- Serve qimah vundalu with some mint chutney though I prefer these without any chutney or a dip.
- Cook meat until all the juices are evaporated. This is crucial else qimah vundalu / balls could fall apart when deep frying.
- For juicy vundalu, do not precook the meat. Grind together all the ingredients except oil for deep frying, shape into qimah vundalu and deep fry.
- I used egg white as I felt that would be sufficient to bind 1.2 lbs of meat. If using more meat, even the yolk can be added.
So far in this A-Z Journey Through Telangana Cuisine,
A for Attu Tunukala Koora
B for Biyyapattlu
C for Chegodi
D for Dondakaya Barada
E for Ellipaya Karam
F for Fenugreek (Menthi) Aaku Pesaru Pappu Koora
G for Garela Pulusu
H for Hyacinth Beans (Anapakaya) Annam
I for Iguru, Goru Chikkudukaya Iguru
J for Jonna Rotte
K for Kudumulu
L for Laddu
M for Makka Gudaalu
N for Nethichamili Muddalu
O for Odappalu
P for Pappu & Pachi Pulusu
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Mireille Roc (@ChefMireille) says
you have an amazing memory if you can remember this recipe from childhood - must be awesome with a delish chutney
Nice pick and twist for the letter,perfectly shaped balls.Lovely clicks and presentation.
sapana behl says
Beautiful set up and very nice presentation.Must have been a tasty snack.
Smruti | Herbivore Cucina says
Perfect pick for Q, I loved the way you got perfect rounds there. And the rustic bowls are totally amazing!!
Those qimah vundalu look just perfect Usha.
Priya Suresh says
Lovely choice for Q and these keema balls looks astonishing, feel like munching some rite now.
Nice choice for letter Q Usha, I make keema Undalu but never added putnalu. They must have tasted delicious. Will try next time:)
Suma Gandlur says
Q is one of the difficult alphabets if you strictly stick to Telugu cuisine and nice word play there. Love those bowls and the setting.
Gayathri Kumar says
That is a nice twist on the name Usha. Love the look of the vundalu. I remember tasting this when I was a kid but I never learnt to cook meat. You have presented it beautifully..
Beautiful setup. Love it always and I learn too. 🙂 Great share would love to prepare it with soy granules.
I loved the composition of the pics, and the roundels are so well made ! am sure the meat can be subbed with TVP / Soya with an addition of mashed potatoes
So beautifully done Usha..and a wonderful twist too...I have seen my folks making these vundalu and I have made these couple of times as well...so I know these are much loved by the non veg...good choice on the alphabet..
Sounds like a yummy dish..never tried Vundalu but would love to eat. I love keemah or qimah:)
Alana Mautone (@RamblinGarden) says
Interesting - I have not had goat meat ever, although I have eaten (young) lamb many times. Thank you for this glimpse into a style of eating I am not that familiar with. My husband, who is the family cook, will be interested in the technique.