Keema Curry is one of the most popular Indian & Pakistani dishes made with ground meat. It is an easy one-pot dish that can be made in just 30 minutes.
Keema or minced meat is cooked with onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and aromatic spices, to make the most flavorful Keema Matar that the whole family will love.
Keema is one of my favorite dishes that is made with mutton. Growing up, this curry made a regular appearance on our Sunday meals. We enjoyed it with roti or paratha.
Although this dish is also a popular street food, Keema Pav, where it is served with savory dinner rolls.
This is my stovetop recipe for keema. If you want a quick pressure cooker recipe, check out my instant pot keema.
Dhaba Style Keema Recipe
This recipe is inspired by the traditional roadside eateries in India, known as dhabas, and features ground mutton cooked with peas and a blend of spices for a hearty and satisfying meal.
I'd say it's a versatile dish that can be eaten any night of the week, as it is easy to make. Its complex flavors, on the other hand, make it elegant enough to serve guests.
Additionally, the dish can be made ahead of time and reheated, making it a convenient option for busy schedules. Combining spices with tender mutton or chicken makes it a satisfying and filling meal. Serve with rice or naan bread for a complete and authentic experience.
What is Keema?
Keema, which is pronounced "kee-mah," is a classic Indian meal in which minced meat is cooked with peas (or potatoes) and aromatic spices in an onion-tomato masala.
The Mughals are said to have brought this keema curry and a lot of other meat dishes to the Indian subcontinent from the Persian region.
Kheema can be made with minced mutton, lamb, beef, turkey, or chicken. They each add a unique taste to the curry. So make keema curry with any minced meat you have on hand.
Why you'll love this Keema Recipe?
✔ It is easy to make in 30 minutes
✔ Great for quick weeknight meals
✔ It is nut-free and gluten-free
✔ It is versatile - enjoy with naan, roti, or as keema pav or Indian sloppy joes.
Ingredients of Keema Matar
Oil: The oil used for cooking Keema Matar is usually vegetable oil or ghee.
Ground meat: Traditionally, keema is made with ground mutton (goat meat). In Pakistan, it is popularly made with ground beef. However, you can use any minced meat to make this dish - chicken, lamb, or turkey.
Whole Spices: You'll need cinnamon, bay leaves, black peppercorns, and cumin seeds. Although you can make keema without the whole spices, they elevate the curry with so much flavor. You can also consider a spice bag if you don't want the whole spices in the curry after it is cooked.
Essentials: Tomatoes, onions, garlic, chili peppers, and ginger are four ingredients used in almost every Indian dish and give it a deeper flavor.
Spices: Kashmiri red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, ground cumin, turmeric, and salt are used as seasonings.
Yogurt: This makes the keema rich and creamy, which tastes great.
Peas: Give the dish a naturally sweet taste and help balance the other flavors. You can surely make keema without the green peas too, but they are always a welcome addition 🙂
Lime juice: adds tanginess to the dish.
Cilantro: Use as garnish to add color and a lovely, fresh taste.
How to make Keema Matar
- Heat a large pan or dutch oven on medium-high heat and add ghee. Add the whole spices (cinnamon, cumin, black peppercorns, bay leaf, and cloves) and saute them for 30 seconds.
- Add onions and green chilies, and saute for 4-5 minutes until they turn golden.
- Then add ginger and garlic, and saute for 2 minutes until the raw smell is gone.
- Add tomatoes and all spices. Saute for 4-5 minutes until the liquid is all dried up and the oil separates.
- Add ground mutton. Mix well with the other ingredients. This is important so the keema does not form lumps.
- Cook the keema for 4-5 minutes until it changes color. Then lower the heat, and cover with a lid for 4-5 minutes. Then cook uncovered until the meat is cooked and the fat separates again. This will take about 10-12 minutes. Stir at regular intervals.
- Add the green peas, yogurt, and water. I used frozen green peas. If adding fresh green peas, add them right after adding and mixing the minced meat, but before cooking it.
- Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add lemon juice and cilantro leaves and mix well.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with naan or dinner rolls (toast them with a bit of butter).
- The cooking time can vary a bit based on the type of minced meat you use. The cooking time in the recipe will work well for lamb or mutton. Chicken or turkey cooks in lesser time. Beef will take a little longer to cook.
- Use Kashmiri red chili powder to give the curry a great color without making it too spicy.
- Don't skip the lime juice at the end; that adds a lovely fresh touch to the curry.
How to Serve Keema Matar
It is a delicious and filling dish that can be served as a main course. My favorite. is to pair it with naan, roti, or paratha. You can also pair it with cumin rice or quinoa for a complete meal.
We like to serve it with a crunchy vegetable salad, such as red onion salad or kachumber salad, along with a raita. Pair with my boondi raita or cucumber raita.
You can also serve it as Indian-style sloppy joes with buttered burger buns. Top with onions, and serve alongside cilantro chutney.
Serve like Indian street food, Keema pav with buttery dinner rolls.
Make a wrap with the keema. Add some greens, red onions, and cheese, if you like, in the wrap.
As you can see, there are many ways to enjoy this Kheema curry, making it perfect for meal prep. Make it once, and enjoy it for the whole week.
Variations to Try
Add veggies: You can add a lot of great flavors and nutrition by adding veggies when making keema. Bell peppers, potatoes, spinach, or kale leaves, are all great choices.
Use your choice of meat: You can make keema with any minced meat you like or have on hand. Chicken or mutton keema is more popular, but you can make keema with ground turkey, beef, or lamb. That said, my favorite is mutton keema.
Keema Aloo: Instead of peas, you can use potatoes to make Keema Aloo, a popular dish.
How to Store Keema?
Let the keema cool completely. Then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Keema also freezes well. You can store it in small portions in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months.
Transfer to the refrigerator overnight to thaw. Then reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add a little water to adjust the consistency.
You can use any ground meat, such as beef, lamb, chicken, or turkey. However, traditionally, keema curry is made with lamb or mutton.
The keema matar can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Certainly! It's a great dish for making ahead. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of water, and enjoy!
More Recipes You'll Love
- 1 pound Ground Mutton or lamb, chicken
- 3 tablespoon Ghee or Oil
- 1 ¼ cup Yellow onion finely diced
- 1 Green Chili Pepper finely diced
- 5 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 ½ teaspoon Ginger grated
- 1 ½ cup Tomato finely chopped
- ½ cup Green peas frozen
- 2 tablespoon Plain Yogurt full-fat
- ¼ cup Water
- ½ teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1 teaspoon Lime or Lemon juice
- Cilantro to garnish
- 1 teaspoon Coriander powder (Dhaniya powder)
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cumin (Jeera powder)
- ½ teaspoon Ground Turmeric (Haldi powder)
- 1 teaspoon Salt adjust to taste
- 1 stick Cinnamon (Dalchini) about 1.5 inch
- 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds (Jeera)
- ½ teaspoon Black Peppercorns optional
- 1 Bay leaf (Tej Patta)
- Heat medium size pan on medium-high heat and add ghee in it. Add all the whole spices and saute them for 30 seconds.
- Add onions, green chilies, saute for 4-5 minutes until they turn golden. Add ginger, garlic, and saute for 2 minutes until the raw smell is gone
- Add tomatoes and all spices. Saute for 4-5 minutes until the liquid is all dried up and the oil starts to separate.
- Add ground mutton. Mix well with the other ingredients. This is important, so the keema does not form lumps.
- Cook till the keema for 4-5 minutes until it changes color. Then lower heat, cover with a lid for 4-5 minutes. Then cook uncovered till the meat is cooked through and fat separates once again. This will take about 10-12 minutes. Stir at regular intervals.
- Add the green peas, yogurt, and water. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add lemon juice, cilantro leaves and mix well.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with naan or dinner rolls (toast them with a little butter).
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.
Donald Wright says
The recipe was absolutely delicious! (I used ground lamb, lime rather than lemon, and a serrano chili, seeds and all, for the green chili pepper. I did depart a bit from the recipe in that I used frozen corn rather than frozen peas.) I loved the combination of spicy and sweet flavors!
But I had two questions about the instructions:
1) When should you add the garam masala? I ended up adding it fairly late when I noticed that the instructions hadn't yet mentioned it. That is, in Step 1, you add the whole spices; and in Step 3 you add "all spices," which seemed to indicate the 5 spices listed under the heading "Spices" in the list of ingredients. If the garam masala should be added in Step 3 along with "all spices," shouldn't it also be listed under "Spices" in the ingredients? But it isn't; it's listed between the water and the lime or lemon juice; and the instructions don't otherwise mention the garam masala.
2) How much cilantro should be added to the keema in Step 7, roughly? (Cilantro is listed among the Ingredients only as a garnish, and then used accordingly in Step 8.) I just threw in a handful, but I'd rather have a recommendation of how much might be appropriate.
DJ, Spokane Valley says
Hi, I love your recipes. I almost didn't copy this one when I saw the statement "keema is made with ground mutton (goat meat)" Not that I don't like goat, I just have no idea where to buy it here in Spokane. I noticed though that later in the recipe it mentioned sheep so I'm guessing the mention of goat was just a typo. I am curious though, is goat a common meat in your culture like it is in some others. I've only found it in Latin markets or restaurants. Your family is blessed to enjoy the meals you post. Thank you for sharing with us.
Meeta Arora says
Hello - yes, in India, we usually make this keema curry with goat meat called mutton. We can find it in the bay area at Pakistani stores that sell meat. Goat meat is more tender than lamb once cooked. I hope you give it a try. But you can sure make this curry with other ground meats too.
Guddy Singh says
The best Keema Recipe will try n think of you thanks for sharing !!
Piping Pot Curry says
Hi Guddy - Glad you found the recipe helpful! Enjoy cooking it. 🙂