Apr 30, 2013

Bombay Sloppy Joes

I love sloppy joes and love to make different variations of it. I rarely use ground beef for sloppy joes. I think because sloppy joes are so saucy, you really don't need to use beef. I always use ground turkey for sloppy joes. Before this recipe, I go back and forth between this recipe and this one. Now this recipe will be a top contender. I don't know why I like sloppy joes so much, I think it's nostalgic.

This sloppy joe recipe comes from Aarti Sequeira. I haven't actually seen her show, but I remember her from the Food Network stars competition. I was rooting for her the whole time because I love how she uses Indian spices and flavors in her cooking. Like the sloppy joes, you can really taste the Indian influence, but it's still very much a sloppy joe. I did have to adjust the spice level in the recipe, I think I pretty much doubled the spices because it didn't have enough umph. Here's the recipe.

Bombay Sloppy Joes
adapted from Aarti Sequeira

For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 serrano chile pepper, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

For the Sloppy Joes:
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Small handful (about 1/4 cup) raisins
Small handful (about 1/4 cup) shelled pistachios
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large white onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 serrano chile pepper (don't chop it unless you like things spicy!)
Kosher salt
2 tsp garam masala (see notes)
1/2 tsp chile powder (see notes)
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup half-and-half
Small handful fresh cilantro (soft stems included)
4 sesame buns

1. Make the sauce: Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and chile pepper and cook until the ginger and garlic brown a little, about 1 minute. Add the garam masala and paprika and cook 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce and 1 cup water, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the sloppy joes: Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the raisins and pistachios and cook, stirring occasionally, until the raisins swell up and the pistachios toast slightly, about 1 minute. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

3. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add the cumin seeds and let sizzle about 10 seconds, then add the onion and bell pepper and cook until softened and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the chile pepper and cook 2 more minutes, seasoning with salt. Add the turkey, breaking up the big lumps, and cook until opaque, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the prepared sauce to the turkey-and-onion mixture in the skillet. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.

5. Remove the whole chile pepper (unless you want to eat it, like my dad does!) and stir in the honey, half-and-half, raisins and pistachios. Taste for seasoning. Add the additional garam masala and chile powder to taste (see notes). Stir in the cilantro right before serving.

6. Toast the buns and fill with the sloppy joe mixture.


  • The original recipe didn't call for the extra garam masala and the chile powder.  I didn't feel like the sloppy joes had enough taste so I added some extras.  



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