Kheema Matar – Minced lamb curry with peas

Kheema matar

It can sometimes be a challenge to think of interesting things to do with minced meat – there’s only so many times you can make spag bol or chilli. Keema matar is a lovely, deeply flavoured North Indian dry curry dish that’s traditionally served with Indian breads – pooris and parathas – but goes just as nicely with a simple bit of rice.

It takes under an hour to make and uses just one pan – perfect for a midweek dinner. Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients – I bet you have half the stuff in your cupboard anyway and if you don’t then buying them will be a good investment for future Indian-food-making.

The Ingredients
Serves 3

1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4/5 cloves garlic, chopped
500g minced lamb (beef with do in a pinch)
A 1 inch cube of ginger, peeled and grated
As many or as few chillis as you like
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds (I put the seeds in a plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin. The smell is strangely lemon-y. Very aromatic.)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
250ml water
175g peas (frozen are fine)
A generous handful of fresh coriander (cilantro, for my American friends), choppped
About 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garem masala
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

The Cooking

First do your prep – chop all the things that need chopping, and bash up all the spices. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, put the spices in a plastic bag and bash it with a heavy implement. Most satisfactory.

Heat the oil in a wide frying pan over a medium flame. When hot, add the onions and cook for 5-7 minutes or so until they’re starting to turn brown. Don’t worry about under or over cooking them too much, this dish is quite forgiving. Add the garlic and fry for one more minute, giving it a bit of a shake and stir so it doesn’t burn.

Now add the minced meat, ginger, chillis, ground coriander seeds, cumin and cayenne. Give it a good stir – it is my (entirely unproved) belief that if you can get the spices in contact with the meat before it’s browned, they cook and meld together better. It’s like they stick together, becoming better friends for having gone through the frying process as one.

Fry for about 5 minutes or so on a fairly high heat, breaking up any lumps as you go. Don’t stir it too much, it’s nice when it catches on the pan a little and adds a bit of texture.

When it’s nice and brown, add 150ml water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and leave it to simmer for 30 minutes. Check it every now and then and use the power of your brain to assess whether it’s too dry and needs more water or it’s fine. Taste often – chef’s perks!

Now add the peas, coriander, salt, garem masala, lemon juice and 75ml water. Mix it all in and bring it back to a simmer – cook until the peas are done (about 5 minutes). Taste it. Add more salt if you feel it needs it.

Serve with bread/rice/dhal. Congratulate yourself on how brilliant it tastes.

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36 Responses to “Kheema Matar – Minced lamb curry with peas”

  1. bigsky Says:

    Mmm, that looks good.

    I often stare at packets of mince, bereft of inspiration. But no more. I shall try this soon. I want to try and make bobotie too.

  2. Ange Says:

    mmmm does sound delicious

  3. Ann Says:

    I had to use ground ginger and I didn’t have any cayenne but it was REALLY nice!! This site is now in my favourites and I am going to try some more recipes.


  4. 101things Says:

    I’m pleased it went so well for you!

  5. Hunter Cashdollar Says:

    Going to try to make this tonight. Hunter Cashdollar

  6. Lesley Says:

    hi, drawn to look at recipe as have been making a version of this for many years (found recipe in dodgy cookbook years back, now a very stained recipe). just to add a suggestion…recipe i use is almost identical but suggests adding diced potatoes at the 30min simmering stage and a swirl of natural yoghurt at the end. the potatoes give it a nice added texture and bulk (great for leftovers!!!) and the creamy yog can be a nice counterpoint to the spices. Love the way you write up your recipes!!!

  7. travelingfaery Says:

    Funny you should say about the potatoes, I’ve jsut added them independently and then read your posting! It worked really well.

  8. Sass Says:

    Really nice if you double the spice quantity and include spuds at 30min simmer stage, then carrot and cauliflower towards the end of the simmer (before the peas). Just makes it a healthier more balanced meal.

  9. Jeena Says:

    Hi there, I like your blog! Nice recipe it looks yummy 🙂 Feel free to visit my blog too 🙂

    Click here for jeenas food recipe blog 🙂

  10. Britain's Best Dish « 101 Things Every Cook Should Cook Says:

    […] have decided to do a kheema shepherd’s pie, which is basically a combination of my kheema mattar and shepherd’s pie. I’ve practiced the dish a few times and made a few alterations and I think […]

  11. Brandy Says:

    I’m going to have to make this for my husband very soon as we both adore Indian food and he has always said he knew there was a curry made with mince and i never believed him.

  12. Steph Says:

    I’m going to try this without peas and not sure what instead..! Possibly tomatoes and some yogurt. Mmm. Have done the ‘normal’ version before and it definitely is good and very extendable for unexpected guests.

  13. Admin Says:

    lovely dish i tried and it worked well.
    btw the search function doesnt work on ur blog? i cant seem to be able to type anything inthe search box.

  14. 101things Says:

    Glad the kheema worked well for you.

    I’m not sure why you can’t use the search function, it’s working fine for me. I’ll look into it.

  15. QuasarDrake Says:

    Hi. I hope you don’t mind this long post. I have made this dish many times from several recipes and I find that you are missing several usual ingredients. Most notable are tomatoes or tomato paste and yogurt. Also cloves and cardamoms (both usually added whole). I usually brown off the onion (I use a lot – I like it) then add whole garam masala (my own blend cinnamon, clove, cardamom, fennel seed – generally 1 2″ piece of cinnamon 3-5 cardamom, 4-6 cloves a few fennel and 2-3 whole bay leaves). I brown off the spices for about a minute then add ground coriander and cumin and red (hot) pepper(and salt), give a quick stir then add ginger and 3-5 toes garlic put thru a microplane, another stir then add the minced (ground) meat. After the meat browns with the spices I add one of the following: a14 oz can diced tomatoes, 2-3 Tbsp tomato paste or 2-3 medium fresh tomatoes finely chopped, along with 1/2 cup thick plain yogurt. I also add about 1 1/2 cups each sliced button mushrooms and diced potatoes at this point along with about a cup of water. I add frozen peas after the potatoes are done and finish off with with a good teaspoon of ground garam masala and about 1/3 cup yogurt and 3-4 TBsp chopped cilantro. If I can I top it with fresh diced tomato and cilantro mixedwith a little minced onion. I realize this greatly increases the complexity – there is a lot more to chop for one thing, but you can use bottled ginger/garlic paste and (here in the U.S. at least) frozen southern style hash browns for potatoes and pre-sliced mushrooms and pre-chopped onion from the market or freezer. Using such pre-prepped ingredients makes the whole dish come together much faster and I really like the extra vegetables. One last idea – I have succesfully used Ro-tel canned tomatoes with green chiles in this dish. (canned tomatoes with green chiles are common in the southern U.S. don’t know about elsewhere) The idea of making a shepard’s pie from this fascinates me – I bet it would be wonderful. One last thing – if you make it with whole spices you need, as a cook, to take the time to pick out as many as you can when it is done and WARN people that there may be remnants of whole spices in the dish! (it can be extremely unpleasant to bite down on a whole clove or cardamom) Do try adding the extra spices at least – they really pep it up. Go easy on the clove or it can overpower the dish. Sorry this is so long just my 25 cents. 🙂

    • BADCOCK Says:

      Go easy with that jaw jaw. You should relax a little more. Try deep fried chocolate bar with whole chillies in a chana flour batter. Sleep down this real great recipe. Try

  16. 101things Says:

    Hi QuasarDrake

    Thanks for your recipe! As with many traditional recipes, there are many variations on kheema. The above is only my version and I accept that there are many other recipes out there with differing ingredients.

    And often, when I make kheema, I change the ingredients around. Sometimes I do put in tomatoes, or some cardamoms or whetever I have lying around. It’s not a hard and fast recipe. Mine never are. 🙂

  17. Larry Graham Says:

    I just made this as my friend’s Mum always offers it when I go around to their house…. it was great!.. not too dissimilar to her’s
    I served it with some Roti bread and a can of lager 🙂
    Thanks for the recipe!

  18. Norma Says:

    It is just what I have been looking for, I am glad that it is made without tomatoes.

  19. Umer Says:

    I have tried it, it was best………….

  20. fabian Says:

    if you add the spices before the meat browns it seals the spices givin it more flavour, and have proven it after tryin both methods while cookin at the local soup kitchen

    • Jane Says:

      Absolutely agree, I use this method in most dishes to release the fragrance of the herbs and spice just before adding the meat.

  21. A Poker and Potluck Date « Wonderbread Curry Says:

    […] sleeves and started chopping onions and garlic.    The last time we made lasagna, I had leftover Keema Matar, which made its way into the simmering vegetable sauce.  Wanting to recreate that Indian-infused […]

  22. BADCOCK Says:

    Thanks a bunch.

  23. Dave Says:

    This was a most enjoyable recipe. Get it made!!

  24. spam! Says:

    Mujhe keema matar itna pasand hai yaar!
    aap ko ye samaj bhi nahi aana.

    aap jao, squirrel kao.

  25. minced lamb recipe Says:

    […] Kheema Matar – Minced lamb curry with peas В« 101 Things Every Cook … Jun 17, 2006 … 500g minced lamb (beef with do in a pinch) …. Thanks for your recipe! As with many traditional … […]

  26. david Says:

    i am going to try with scoth bonnet chillis
    will let you know

  27. david Says:

    i am going to try with scoth bonnet chillis and beef mince
    will let you know

  28. Mike Says:

    I tried this substituting each ingredient for a pint of Guinness.
    dest bish i have ever made
    Thank you

  29. Charleyuk Says:

    My husband who hails from Pakistan cooks this for me all the time! I love it! So so happy I’ve found the recipe! Now I can surprise him with it! Thankyou! 🙂

  30. Sonja: thinking thin! Says:

    Outstanding! the gravy was dripping from my fingers as i scooped up mouthfuls with chipati. Thank you!

  31. Adele Borg Says:

    Very happy with the end result, easy and a very tasty dish, will try it again adding potatoes and other vegetables, definately a recipe that i would keep.

  32. Joel Says:

    Why does everyone always want to mess with a classic ? Add potatoes and its no longer kheema matar, which when made properly can’t be improved.

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