This easy keema recipe is a weeknight staple in most Pakistani homes. My keema recipe is a basic recipe that you can make on its own or with the addition of peas, potatoes and or spinach.
This recipe comes together fast making it an absolute must in your menu rotation. Coupled with Daal and rice, it is the ultimate Pakistani comfort food! The best thing is that it is meal prep friendly so I often make a whole batch and then use leftovers to make beef quesadillas for the boys, add it atop my salad greens as protein and even freeze some for a future meal! An absolute win for a working mom!
Why you should make my keema recipe
- My keema recipe is multi purpose! You can eat it the traditional way, with naan or rice one day and use leftovers for stuffing in quesadillas, mixing with some pasta to make keema spaghetti or even use it to stuff bell peppers (capsicums) or tomatoes like my mother did for parties back when I was growing up.
- Oh and one more very important reason is because my best resident critic, my son, approves of it! If you have a young adult at home, you know how hard they can be to please!
What you will need
Oil – I like to use neutral avocado oil but you can use olive oil, just please don’t use processed, genetically engineered seed oils like
Aromatics – Onion, garlic, ginger,
Spices – Fenugreek seeds are optional but I find they give an added layer of flavor. Red chili powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder.
Ground beef – I use lean ground beef (80/20 ratio)
Tomato – These are diced so as to incorporate and cook quickly.
Green chiles – Any will work but I like Serrano best for its heat.
How to make keema
You will begin by browning onions on medium high heat till they are golden. Then add the ginger and garlic and saute before adding the ground beef. Stir and break up the keema as you go. Add the spices and stir to incorporate. Add the tomatoes and green chilies. At this point you will lower the heat and cover the pan to let everything cook up. After 20 minutes uncover the pan and dry out the keema on high heat, stirring constantly so as to avoid burning the keema. Once the moisture dries up and oil rises to the top, the keema is ready. Garnish with some chopped cilantro and a drizzle of lemon juice. A sprinkle of garam masala or my Roasted Cumin – Coriander Masala (posted on my Quick and Easy Chicken Haleem recipe) will up level this dish but that is completely optional!
Tips and variations
- I use lean ground beef (80/20) but full fat ground beef can be used as well.
- If you decide to add potatoes, spinach or peas, do that when adding the tomatoes and green chili. Potatoes cut into small 1 inch cubes will cook faster while bigger pieces will take longer.
- Chicken cooks faster (about 10-15 minutes) and may need more spices so adjust the red chili powder, cumin powder and coriander powder accordingly. Add 1/4 teaspoon more and see how you like it.
How to serve keema curry
Traditionally keema is eaten with roti (flat bread), chawal (white rice) and throw in some good ol daal and you have the Pakistani version of comfort food!
But because I avoid gluten and try to limit my consumption of grains, I like to eat it
- in romaine lettuce cups;
- stuffed inside zucchini or bell pepper ;
- atop some roasted spaghetti squash much like the keema spaghetti my mom used to make when I was little.
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Pakistani Keema Recipe
- 4 tablespoons oil
- ½ medium onion diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 2 teaspoons red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4-5 fenugreek seeds
- 1 medium tomato chopped
- 1 green chili pepper chopped
- Chopped cilantro
- Lemon juice
- Take a medium sized wok/pot and on medium high heat fry the onions till golden brown. Stir constantly and do not let them burn.
- Add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for about 30 seconds.
- Add the beef and stir to combine making sure to break it up as you stir as it tends to clump.
- Once the beef is well combined, add all the spices and stir some more.
- Add the tomatoes and green chili and stir before lowering the flame and covering the pot. Let the tomatoes wilt for about 15-20 minutes.
- Once the tomatoes have softened, uncover the pot and increase the heat to high all while stirring the keema with quick movements so that the water dries and the oil rises to the top.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and a drizzle of lemon juice.
- I use lean ground beef (80/20) but you can use regular ground beef as well.
- I don't wash my ground beef but you can if you wish.
- This recipe can be adapted to ground chicken meat as well but just taste test the spices as chicken meat tends to be a bit bland compared to beef.