Monday, 22 December 2014

Meatloaf for the Holidays

I think of school the most around Christmas. I went to a convent and Christmas has always had a special connotation. The month of December was by far the most fun at school - fun activities, acting in Christmas plays, carol singing and crib designing competitions, Christmas party at school and of course the annual day function a couple of days before Christmas and then the holidays. Come December and text books took a backseat for once. What I love about Christmas the most. The Tree. And Santa Claus. You have no clue how much I cried the day I discovered there was...well I don't like saying it still. 

Once I played Santa Claus in high school, on our annual day function, in front of a couple fo thousand strong audience. I was the emcee for the evening too, and at the end of the programme I had to dash to the green room and wiggle into a Santa suit in record time. And minutes later there I was making a fool out of myself on stage doing crazy Santa steps, or what I thought would be crazy Santa steps, before I jumped off the stage and ran into the audience, hollering out to them. A couple of kids broke into hysterical tears, the parents were the only ones amused. My performance was a super hit. 

That evening as a teenager I wasn't really psyched to be playing Santa Claus. I mean come one, I was chosen for that role because I was round! And I could act of course (give the woman some credit). I mean a sixteen year old girl DOES NOT want to play Santa. Not that I have anything against Santa though. Anyway, so somehow I made through the evening's embarrassment, came home and stopped eating. Only for a day. Then I decided it was not worth it, so went back to eating. 

Talking of eating, how would you like a spicy meatloaf on your breakfast table this Christmas. Or may be the day after! I made this chicken meatloaf  today which I think will feature on my Christmas brunch this year. I have added a desi twist to it by adding a few spices like cumin and cinnamon and some fresh coriander leaves and topped it with a simple sweet and salty tomato sauce. I loved it on its own and between bread. I think you will like it too! 



Minced Chicken - 1 kg
Breadcrumbs - 1 cup (200 g approximately)
Finely chopped onions - 1/2 cup (packed)
Minced garlic - 1 tbsp
Grated carrot - 1/2 cup
Finely chopped parsley - 2 tbsp
Finely chopped cilantro - 4 tbsp
Nutmeg powder - 3/4  tsp
Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Coarsely ground peppercorns - 2 -3 tbsp
Red chili powder -  1/2 tsp
Butter - 50 g
+ more Butter for greasing the pan
Salt to taste
Egg - 1 large

For the tomato sauce
Tomato puree - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Sugar - 2 tbsp
Chili flakes - 1 tbsp
White oil - 2 tsp


In a mixer pulse the ground chicken to a fine mince.

In a pan heat 50 g butter. Add half the nutmeg Add the finely chopped onions, lightly saute. Add the grated carrots and minced garlic ad saute until soft. Take of heat and keep.

In a bowl mix  mince chicken and breadcrumbs, working the two to form a uniform mix. Add the sauteed oninion-garlic-carrot mix, remaining nutmeg powder, cinnamon, cumin, ground peppercorns and
Red chili powder one by one. Add salt to taste.

Finally beat the egg lightly and add to the mixture. Mix well with hands or a spatula, the former always better.

Heat the oven at 180 degree centigrade.

Grease a loaf tin well with butter. Pour the meat mixture into the loaf tin and spread it out uniformly. Bake at 180 degrees for 55-60 minutes.

In the meantime whisk together the tomato puree, oil, salt and sugar to taste and chili flakes.

Bring out the loaf tin and pour the sauce over the meat loaf, spreading it with a spatula. Return to oven and bake for another 15 minutes.

Serve with salad or soup, some bread on the side may be. My favourite - a meatloaf sandwich.

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