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5 from 7 votes

Bombay Sloppy Joes

Since this is an Indian-inspired dish, the original recipe calls for ground turkey (since beef is not eaten). If using turkey, be sure to get turkey thigh meat. Ground beef is excellent in the recipe and you can even use soy ground "meat" crumbles for a delicious vegan option. The sauce can be made a day ahead.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Calories: 560kcal
Author: Sally Humeniuk


  • For the Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Serrano chile pepper, seeded and minced, include some seeds or all if you want more kick
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 15- ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • For the Sloppy Joes:
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper,, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 Serrano chile pepper don't chop it unless you want it really spicy!
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 pound ground beef, may use turkey or plant-based "meat"
  • Small handful fresh cilantro


Make the sauce

  • Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and Serrano pepper and cook about 1 minute. stirring consistently while ginger and garlic lightly brown. 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. Simmer, uncovered 15 minutes.

Prepare the sloppy joes

  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive 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 raisins and pistachios to a small plate and set aside for now.
  • Using medium heat again, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive 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 Serrano pepper and cook 2 more minutes, adding the teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Add the meat, breaking up the big lumps, and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the prepared sauce to the meat and onion mixture in the skillet. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cook uncovered until the sauce reduces and thickens, about 12-15 minutes.
  • You may serve the Sloppy Joes at this point, but after the sauce has thickened, I like to add about 3 tablespoons of water back in (just a good splash), then put a lid on the Sloppy Joe mixture, leave on low heat with the Serrano pepper still in the mix, and let cook another 10-20 minutes longer. This only enhances and deepens all the flavors.
  • Remove the Serrano pepper. Stir in the raisins and pistachios. Taste for seasoning. Stir in the cilantro right before serving.
  • Toast buns or rye bread and fill with the Sloppy Joe mixture.


  • I like to use my mini food processor to chop the onion and red bell pepper. Chop to minced size pieces, but don't puree. I mince the garlic and ginger by hand.
  • Our favorite way to serve these Sloppy Joes is on soft, toasted Brioche buns. No condiments are necessary, but you may like some red onion slices for some extra crunch and sweet onion flavor.


Calories: 560kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 25g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 1261mg | Potassium: 888mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1567IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 4mg