This all-purpose keema recipe is delicious in its own right but also works as pre-cooked keema for curries.
If you like a good keema curry as much as I do, you simply have to try this keema recipe.
It is basic but there are a number of ways you can spice it up should you wish too. I use this keema recipe as a base for my restaurant style keema curries but it can be an amazing curry in its own right.
As no chillies or hot ground spices are used, it’s the perfect keema recipe for adding to keema curries or perhaps making up your own curry,
Try my chicken tikka masala, for example and substitute the keema for the chicken or make it a chicken tikka keema masala. The possibilities are endless.
Why pre-cook keema for restaurant style curries?
At Indian restaurants, the keema is usually prepared ahead of time. Just like the chicken and lamb tikka needs to be pre-cooked, keema benefits from pre-cooking.
In this recipe, whole spices are used for flavour. These are later removed so that when you make your curry house style keema, there aren’t any bits in it.
Although whole spices are loved in India, in the west, most people don’t like biting into a cardamom pod.
These as well as the other whole spices do add a nice flavour though.
If serving a keema as a main without adding it to another curry, I often use this recipe.
Make this keema recipe your own…
Although I used this simple keema recipe as a main ingredient in my restaurant style keema curries, it is a delicious and authentic curry just as it is.
You will notice that I don’t add any hot spices or chillies to the curry. This is so that I can use it in the mildest curries as well as spicier options.
If you want to make this keema recipe and serve it as is, that’s fine too! It is an authentic keema recipe. If I were to serve it like that, I would add chopped chillies to taste when I fry the onions.
I would also add some Kashmiri chilli powder to taste and perhaps fresh or frozen peas and depending on use, I might add more stock for a saucier keema.
In this keema recipe I used beef mince with a 80/20% meat to fat mix.
Most restaurant style keemas are made with lamb mince but you could also use chicken, turkey, venison… Whatever you like.
You could also use leaner meat. 80/20% meat to fat ratio is not important.
Following are step by step photos of this keema recipe…
If you like this keema recipe, you might like to try some of these authentic Indian favourites…
- 3 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil or seasoned oil (see page 8)
- 2 Indian bay leaves (cassia leaves)
- 7.5cm (3in) piece of cinnamon stick or cassia bark
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 4 green cardamom pods, lightly bruised
- 1⁄2 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
- 1 tbsp mixed powder
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1⁄2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 500g (1lb 2oz) minced lamb, beef or chicken
- About 200ml (generous 3⁄4 cup) spice stock or water
- 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
- 3 tbsp finely chopped coriander(cilantro)
- Salt, to taste
- Heat the oil over a medium–high heat until small bubbles appear, then add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds and cardamom pods and mix them around in the oil.
- After about 30 seconds the oil will become fragrant and you will hear the spices begin to crackle. When this happens, toss in the onion and give it a good stir.
- Fry until soft and translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and ginger paste and let it sizzle for another minute or so, then add the ground spices and tomato purée followed by the minced meat. You’ll know you’re doing something right because your kitchen will smell so good.
- Allow the minced meat to cook through then pour in the spice stock or water and simmer over a low heat for about 20 minutes. You may need to add a little more water while the ingredients all get to know each other. The finished keema should be moist but not saucy, and if you’d like to cook it for longer for a more intense flavour, add more water accordingly to prevent it from drying out.
- Remove the bay leaves, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. Stir in the dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi), coriander (cilantro) and season with salt. You’ll probably find it tastes great, so be careful not to snack on it before making your keema curry or using it in your samosas! I find this quite difficult at times.