restaurant style keema matar

Keema matar is not your run of the mill curry. It’s a little different. Ground lamb or beef with peas. Sometimes different is really good. This is one of those times.

It’s not common on restaurant menus. Which is a shame. I’ve seen it once or twice. Discovered it in a restaurant in fact. But it’s rare. Outside the usual formula menus safe zone.

Which is too bad. That’s the problem with Indian restaurants these days. Everyone has all the same dishes. Some do it better than others. But it’s always madras and jalfrezi and butter chicken. Why?

India has one of the most diverse cuisines on the planet. There are literally thousands of dishes. And yet you see the same 20 curries on every single menu. So boring…

Bowl of keema matar from above

Dare to be different – make keema matar

You don’t have to be like them. You have the ability to stand out. Make something new. Make keema matar.

This isn’t hamburger helper. It’s a real curry. Done restaurant style. It has tons of flavour. And peas work so well in curry. Little green bursts of flavour. Up against a rich meaty curry. Balance.

I know it’s a leap of faith. I get that you’ve never even heard of it. But it’s not so far out there. It’s a meat curry. A little drier than some maybe. And it has some peas. Like aloo matar. Not scared of aloo matar, are you?

I’m being too harsh. I know. It just makes me crazy that restaurants can’t mix it up a bit. So I tend to rant about it. Sorry.

It’s outside the formula. Where only those who dare take control. Try keema matar. Try something new. You won’t be sorry.

Keema matar table scene with dal palak and rice from the front.

This is restaurant style cooking

This is a restaurant style curry. Done using all the restaurant techniques. Just exactly like what’s going on in the kitchen when you go out to dinner.

Restaurant style cooking goes fast. Really fast. So be ready. Have everything at hand.

Do your prep. That’s important. Make your curry base and have some heated and ready to go. Pre-cook your keema. Measure out your ingredients.

Have everything ready. Put on an apron or some old clothes. This is going to get messy. A bit of splatter is part of the fun. You are playing Indian chef here.

If you have not read the guide to Indian restaurant technique yet, do it now. This isn’t the same as traditional Indian cooking. So if you haven’t done it before it’s a good idea to read up a bit before you put oil to pan.

Table scene keema matar from above.

Lamb or beef?

You can do this with just about any ground meat. It’s most common with lamb or beef. It’s probably least common with turkey. Even I don’t think I’d like it with turkey. Don’t try that…

Both lamb and beef are good. They are very different though. Lamb tends to be a bit richer. To my palate anyway. Beef is more assertive. In your face.

It’s really up to you. What you like. I like lamb better. My wife likes beef. So we mix it up.

More beef than lamb though. Because keema matar is one of her favourite curries of all. For real. See – I’m not making this up.

Keema matar. For when you don’t want to toe the line. For when you dare to be different. Try it. You’ll see.

Keema matar in a carbon steel bowl with spoon closeup from the front.
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5 from 17 votes

restaurant style keema matar

Keema matar is a dish that needs to be on more restaurant menus. It needs to be on your table too!
Course Main
Cuisine Indian
Keyword keema matar, keema peas, keema with peas
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 756kcal
Author romain | glebekitchen


  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1/2 onion – finely minced
  • 2 tsp garlic ginger paste – recipe link below
  • 1/2 tsp kasoor methi – fenugreek leaves
  • 2 tsp Indian restaurant spice mix – recipe link below
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt remember you added salt to the keema already
  • 2 tsp tomato paste with enough water to dilute to the consistency of pasatta
  • 15 oz curry base – recipe link below
  • 1 cup peas fresh or frozen
  • 12 oz pre-cooked keema – recipe link below
  • juice of 1/4 lemon
  • salt to taste – or not
  • a bit of sliced red chili to garnish – optional


  • Combine Indian restaurant spice mix, kasoor methi, chili powder and salt in a small bowl.
  • Dilute the tomato paste with enough water to get to the consistency of passata.
  • Heat your frying pan (don’t use non-stick) briefly over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp vegetable oil. Use all the oil specified. It’s important.
  • When the oil starts to shimmer add the onion and cook until translucent.
  • Stir in the garlic ginger paste. Cook it, stirring constantly, until it stops sputtering.
  • Turn down the heat and add the spice mix. This is the critical step. Stir it constantly for 30 seconds. If it starts to darken lift the pan off the heat. You want the spice mix to cook in the oil but not burn.
  • Turn the heat up to medium high. Add the diluted tomato paste and stir until bubbles form (the oil will likely separate). This takes around 30 seconds to one minute depending on the heat.
  • Add 3 oz of curry base. Stir until bubbles form (little craters really), around 30 seconds. Watch the edges of the pan. The curry can stick here.
  • Now add 6 oz of curry base and stir briefly. Let it cook until the bubbles form again. This takes 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the rest of the curry base and let cook until the bubbles form. Turn the heat down to low and add the pre-cooked keema.
  • Let the curry simmer for about 5 minutes. If it gets too thick add a bit more curry base. Don’t add water.
  • Add the peas (thawed if using frozen) and cook another 2-3 minutes to warm the peas through.
  • Stir in the lemon juice, taste and adjust salt and lemon to taste.
  • Garnish with sliced red chili if you like.


The recipe for curry base is here.
The recipe for indian restaurant spice mix is here
The recipe for garlic ginger paste is here.
The recipe for beef or lamb keema is here.
If you haven’t read about Indian restaurant technique yet, do that before you start cooking.
Have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go.
If you are making multiple curries, have your curry base warming in a pot on the stove. If you are just making one, microwave it to warm it up right before you start cooking.
Indian restaurants pre-cook their meat so it’s ready for service. This recipe assumes the same. To pre-cook chicken, simply simmer it with a bit of curry powder and salt in chicken stock for about 10-15 minutes – until it’s barely cooked.
To pre-cook lamb or beef, do the same but plan for 1 to 1/2 hours for lamb and 2 hours or more for beef. You are making stew meat so you are braising until tender. You will need to keep an eye on the level of the stock. For beef use beef stock.


Serving: 2servings | Calories: 756kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 124mg | Sodium: 1516mg | Potassium: 931mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1325IU | Vitamin C: 46.9mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 5.2mg

34 thoughts on “restaurant style keema matar”

  1. Hi Romain, I’ve made many of your recipes now and without doubt all are fabulous, thank you.

    One question, my husband and I are just about to go on our annual health kick so am checking calories, carbs etc … when you breakdown the nutritional content at the end of the recipe, which is fab by the way, is it per serving or for the completed dish?

    Thanks again, Debbie (UK)

    • You are very, very welcome. The calories are per serving so if the recipe says serves 2 the values are for 1/2 the total recipe. That said, I provide nutritional values for information purposes only and make no representation that it is accurate. Please see the nutritional disclaimer at the bottom of the page. Glebekitchen isn’t really about diet food other than the fact it’s a zero dessert zone. But at least there’s no desserts to tempt you with:-)

      Good luck on your health kick. I’m on one myself at the moment…

    • Yes. I usually tweak the spices to work a little better with the hotel gravy but it will work with the spice mix as is. Leave out the tomato paste and add liquid to get to the desired consistency (I’d start with about 1/4 cup). And follow hotel style cooking technique. Don’t fry the gravy as described in the recipe as it restaurant style.

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Romain, yet another instant classic! Sooo good. I cannot believe that I have not known about Keema Matar before now. Like there was this big piece of my culinary puzzle missing; I just didn’t know it. But this also makes me glad as surely there are more to pieces to be discovered, and I know many of them are here on Glebekitchen!

    Ps. I’m praying that you will make a hotel style Keema Matar version in the future.

    • Very happy to hear there are still a few surprises left here for you to discover. I’ll put hotel keema matar on the list. It’s one of my wife’s favourite dishes so I don’t think she will be upset at having to eat more!

    • Guess I’m going to have to that then. I think I have more keema recipes on this blog than any other one thing but that’s OK. I love keema!

    • By volume. All liquids on glebekitchen are by volume. 2 cups is close enough. I have a six ounce ladle and it’s two and half ladles. That’s how I came up with 15 oz.

    • I’m delighted to hear that! Thank you for saying so. I’ll keep trying to come up with more to get into your top 10!

  3. 5 stars
    OK. Third recipe I’ve cooked of yours that kicked a**. Just wondering why you include water for simmering and then state “use the curry base, not water” in the directions.

  4. Having now tried it with lamb too, I cannot choose a favorite! I added a bit more cumin to the lamb one and garnished with fresh mint, with a little bit of mint sauce on the side. I knew I was going for the second helping before I even finished my first one.

    Planning to add this to my rotation, such a tasty way to include lamb. I’ve always been a fan of ground meat and in my college days remember going to the market and getting fresh grass-fed lamb, coming back to my dorm and just pan-frying it in its own fat with salt and pepper. Simple, but still so incredibly good. Making it with Indian spices puts a totally new spin on it, and I’m all for tasty variety. Thanks for yet another great recipe! I plan to make a lot more from the restaurant-style section and beyond. Your French curried carrot soup is on our menu tonight!

    • I am on the side of lamb personally. But my wife prefers beef so we switch back and forth.

      Your touches sound absolutely delicious! And you are right. Good lamb, salt and pepper is just good living!

      Glad to hear you are branching out from the Indian recipes. I’ve always loved that particular soup.

  5. 5 stars
    Made this today (with beef) and the kitchen smelled wonderful. Tasted amazing! One thing I messed up was I overedid it a bit with salt, but that’s my bad – I was less precise with measurements there. Somehow I end up buying salt containers with too-small openings or lids that are hard to get off, so then after trying to maneuver a spoon inside and failing I just eyeball the amount. My boyfriend though thought it was salted perfectly and said this was one of the best beef dishes he’s ever had! Thank you.

    One question – when you cook keema, what do you do with whole spices that are put in oil in the beginning? Are they discarded after keema is done or do you grind black cardamom and chiles?

    • So glad you liked it! I just leave the whole spices in my keema and eat around them. You can remove them if you like.

  6. Second recipe from Glebe Kitchen and another winner! The pre-cooked Keema is delicious on it’s own let alone after completing the full curry, fantastic thank you Romain! You’ve almost inspired me to make samosas with this filling but pastry isn’t my forte 🙂 for now I’m off to choose the next dish to cook…keep them coming!

  7. 5 stars

    I just want to say THANK YOU. I have loved Indian food forever. I have an Indian name but I am not Indian. Your no-nonsense friendly tone has made an entire world of cuisine available to me and after 5 of your recipes and a 6th (Malai Kofta that I made using your restaurant style) I feel like I have the cheat codes to amazing food. Thank you. Seriously, everything has turned out amazing and all that was required was for me to slowly assemble the pieces (curry base, ginger garlic paste, ALL the spices) and then be comfortable paying attention with that high heat and a little splatter. So good.

    • You are so welcome. And it’s really great to hear you are starting to make your own dishes based on the techniques you’ve learned. There’s no stopping you now!!!

    • Hard Spices (Bubble)
      Ginger Garlic (Sputter)
      Powder Spices (Careful!)
      Base 1,2… (Heat/Stir)
      Meat/Veggie/Cheese Stuff (Exhale)
      Cream and/or Garnish (Magic Complete)

  8. 5 stars
    Cooked up a batch of Keema Matar (lamb) this evening…another fabulous curry, never had this before and loved every mouthful…it’s that good no leftovers lol! Thanks for another super recipe.

  9. HI,I would appreciate If you can provide me the makhani curry base veg curry base mutton or chicken masala well actuall recipie for chicken,muttonand prawn curry base as well all 3 briyani reciepies. Thanks.

    • That’s quite a list. I don’t know when I’ll be able to get to all these requests but I will keep them in mind!

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