Keema is a delicious way to spice up ground lamb or beef. If you want to add some big Indian flavour to ground meat this is how.
Keema means ground meat in Hindi. It can be any ground meat. Lamb, beef, goat or even chicken.
So it probably doesn’t help that this recipe is named the way it is. Not so precise. But I didn’t name it. I just cook it.
Think hamburger helper done right. Beef or lamb with a nice dose of spice. Just enough to make sure it’s perfect when you use it in a curry. Or as a filling to some crazy tasty Indian appetizers.
Keema is incredibly versatile
You can serve keema straight up with Indian flatbreads. It’s a dry curry so it works. Makes a fun meal. A little spiced lamb and some cucumber salad on a paratha. That’s good living.
Or use it as an ingredient in dishes like aloo keema or keema matar. Mixed with spinach. As a filling for killer samosas. Getting the idea? So many ways to use it.
You could even use it as pre-cooked meat in most of the Indian restaurant style recipes on this blog. Keema madras or jalfrezi. Maybe not conventional. But tasty. Very, very tasty.
Jalfrezi really works well. Could become a thing. Peppers and onions mixed with savoury ground meat. Like an Indian twist on chili. Totally different flavours though.
Don’t bring it to a chili cook off. People won’t understand. Their loss…
Restaurant style technique
This is an easy recipe. But there’s a couple of things to keep in mind. Be ready with your prep. Have everything ready before you start cooking.
Measure out your spices. Have all the ingredients by the stove. It goes fast. So be ready.
Blooming the spices is key. To Indian cooking in general. And to this recipe as well. Blooming spices just means frying the spices in oil.
Something wonderful happens when you do that. Everything opens up. You know the aroma you smell when you walk past an Indian restaurant? That’s what happens when you bloom spices.
So don’t skimp on the oil. You need it to keep the spices from burning. Frying spices is not the same thing as scraping burnt spices in a dry pan. You don’t ever want to try that. So add enough oil. Trust me on that.
Lamb or beef
This recipe works well with beef or lamb. I like lamb better. But go with what you like.
Lamb is a little richer tasting. More complex. Beef is just in your face delicious. Don’t make it with lean beef though. You need a bit of extra fat for flavour. Nobody wants dry, crumbly keema.
Whatever you choose, try not to break it up too much. Little chunks is way better than micro-grains.
How’s that for a description? Micro-grains of meat. Not appetizing sounding is it? I think I’ve made my point. Chunks good. Micro-grains. Not so much.
Spice your keema properly
This recipe is written to be used in another dish. As an ingredient. For samosas. Or in a curry. It’s a little under spiced to stand on its own.
If you’re using it straight up you need to up the spice. Maybe add some chili powder. Wake it up. That’s covered in the notes. Just up the quantities and you’re good to go.
You can take it even further if you want. Toss in a little green chili along with the garlic ginger paste. Cilantro. Diced fresh tomatoes.
Nobody will come to arrest you. The keema police are busy elsewhere. Do what works for you.
Have fun with this recipe. It’s hard to go wrong. So make it your own. You may surprise yourself.
lamb or beef keema
- 12 oz minced beef or lamb
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 bay leaf – Indian tej patta if you can get it
- 1 black cardamom – whole, split
- 1-2 kashmiri chilies
- 2 inch piece cassia bark – cinnamon stick
- 2 tsp garlic ginger paste – recipe link below
- 1/2 tsp kasoor methi – fenugreek leaves
- 2 tsp madras curry powder e.g Lalah’s brand
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp tomato paste – diluted with water to the consistency of pasatta
- 2/3 cup water
- Pre-heat your skillet over medium heat.
- Add the oil. Once it starts to shimmer add the bay, cardamom, kashmiri chilies and cassia bark. Cook until little bubbles form around the spices – about 30 seconds.
- Add the garlic ginger paste and cook until the sizzling subsides.
- Reduce heat to medium low and stir in the kasoor methi, madras curry powder and salt. This is called blooming the spices and it's absolute magic. You should do this every time you cook Indian.
- Cook, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds.
- Mix in the tomato paste, stir to combine and cook about 30 seconds.
- Add the beef or lamb, breaking up any big chunks and cook until all the meat is brown. If you are using it as a filling (e.g. samosas) break it up completely. If you are serving it in a curry consider leaving the chunks a little bigger. It's a small thing but it does make a difference.
- Add the water and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes until cooked through. The curry should be dry again. Almost all the liquid will have evaporated by this point.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the keema from the pan leaving most of the fat behind. Much easier than trying to spoon fat out of the pan with keema in the way.
- Taste and adjust for salt if needed.
19 thoughts on “lamb or beef keema”
Romain, I’ve been enjoying your recipes for a couple of years now and the experiences keeps getting better and better. Amazing!!!! Next on my list is to try making hotel gravy and we’ll see where that leads. Big fan, thank you
Delighted to hear that. I hope you love hotel style as much as I do!
Good on its own; great in Keema Matar! Just do it!
id love to make keema naan. how would you recommend i do this?
heat the naan like a pita and slice one side to fill it or…..?
If you are actually making naan then my understanding is the keema is sealed into the raw dough and rolled then cooked in a tandoor. I haven’t actually tried this as I am more of a chapati/paratha lover but there are recipes out there that show you how.
I am looking forward to giving this a try. Unfortunately, I can not get Kashmiri chilies where I am, but I do have Kashmiri chili powder. Can you suggest an amount of the chili powder to replace each chili? Or do you recommend something else? I am in Mexico, so I have access to Mexican chilies.
I’m jealous. You have the most amazing chili selection in the world!
I’d bet de Arbol would work. Worst case, just leave them out. Hope you enjoy it whatever you decide.
Can’t wait to try this one. I’ve been making Keema for years but I don’t use peas. Instead, I use garbanzo beans and chopped hard boiled eggs. Gonna try that with this recipe.
Hope you like it. I love chickpeas/garbanzo beans and keema too. Going to try your chopped hardboiled egg idea next time I make it. Sounds awesome.
I’m pinning and making!Love this recipe.easy and simple .i will definitely try it. One of our families favorite dinners! So easy and it tastes delicious! Thanks for a great recipe!
Loving your recipes and have tried most of the Indian ones so far apart from the keema ones. Not a bad one yet, yummy every one!
My question is this … is there a way to ‘upscale’ the base keema and then would it be possib to freeze it in batches for future use in the other recipes?
Thank you for the kind words! I think that would work. Might want to cook in batches of maybe double the base recipe rather than put a huge amount in the pot at once. Don’t use previously frozen meat though. Freezing twice is never a good idea.
Hello, I am new to Indian Cooking and I found your website by chance, fantastic thank you.
In reference to this recipe it states in the Instruction line 3. Stir in the kasoor methi, spice mix and salt – in following the recipe and other recipes the spice mix refers to the Indian Restaurant Spice mix as the spice mix but here it doesn’t. Am I to presume it is referring it to the Madras Curry powder as the spice mix as the Instructions doesn’t mention when to use the Madras curry powder. I may be confusing things but to a new cook I need to be hand held – sorry….
Mark, I see how that would be confusing and I have clarified it above. Thanks for pointing it out. Have fun cooking!
Yum! This looks amazing, never heard of keema before.
So glad you discovered it. Keema is easy and it has many uses.
beautiful – came across your site recently and am inspired with the techniques. made this today and was spot on – great spice mix etc – thanks for the post
Glad you liked it!