Keema Matar is a popular Indian and Pakistani recipe made with ground beef and green peas. It is an easy one pot recipe that can be made in under 30 minutes and is perfect served with naan or basmati rice. Add a fresh salad like this Kachumber Salad to make it into a complete meal.
About this Recipe
Keema (pronounced as 'kee-mah') is an Urdu word that translates to ground or minced meat. It can be made with any meat such as beef, mutton, chicken or even turkey. Some people also make this recipe with ground lamb.
Keema Matar is made with keema cooked in a base of tomatoes, onions, and spices. It is a sem-dry curry and can be made with lots of variations. My favorite version is this Keema, but you can also make it with potatoes to make Keema Aloo. Sometimes qeema is also made with other vegetables such as green bell pepper.
Why this Recipe Works
- 30-Minute Recipe: This keema is made in just one pot, and can be ready in under 30 minutes. In my book, this makes it perfect for a busy weeknight.
- Make Ahead and Freeze: If you have a very busy schedule, this keema matar can be easily made in advance and frozen for future use.
- Lots of Fresh Herbs: I use fresh mint leaves and coriander leaves, plus green chilies to make this keema full of flavor. This also counteracts and helps to balance if your ground meat has a strong odour (especially common for lamb keema).
- My Magic Ingredients: I like to call these two ingredients my magic ingredients because they add a wonderful flavor to the recipe. These are dried fenugreek leaves (sukhi methi) and butter. They round up the flavors of the recipe so well. I also add them to my Keema recipe!
- Oil: I like to use any neutral flavored oil for this recipe, but you can also cook this keema in ghee.
- Onions: As with most Indian recipes, this recipe calls for red onion. You can however use white onions as well. I like to use finely chopped onions in that I chop in my trusty chopper. You can chop by hand as well.
- Whole Spices: While lots of keema recipes will call for a number of whole spices, I only add bay leaves. This makes the process relatively simple, and you won't accidentally bite on a green cardamom or whole black peppercorn.
- Keema (Ground Beef): I use beef mince for this recipe, but it can be made with any ground meat of your choice such as chicken or lamb.
- Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes are best here, but in a pinch, you can use crushed tomatoes.
- Peas: You can use fresh or frozen peas. I like to use frozen peas for convenience.
- Ginger and Garlic: You can use fresh, or the jarred kind. It honestly doesn't make much of a difference in terms of flavor.
- Aromatics: you will need coriander powder, garam masala powder, Kashmiri lal mirch, lal mirch powder, turmeric powder and red chili flakes. Additionally, you will need salt to season the dish.
- Herbs & Green Chilies: I like to use what I call the green trio: fresh mint leaves, cilantro and green chilies. If you would like your keema to be mild, then you can skip the green chilies.
- Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds a bright flavor to the keema.
- Dried Fenugreek Leaves: This is also known as sukhi methi and adds a delicious savoriness to the recipe.
- Butter: Just to make it extra yummy!
How to Make Keema Matar
- Start by sauteing the bay leaves in oil in a large pot or pan for a few seconds.
- Now add the chopped onion, and cook until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the keema and cook on high-heat for 5-6 minutes until it changes color.
- Now add the ginger garlic paste and cook for another 1-2 minutes until it's cooked and the raw smell is gone.
- Add the spices and cook for about 7 minutes, while stirring frequently. Once the keema has browned and you can see the oil separating from the curry, move on to the next step.
- Add the tomatoes, mix and lower the flame. Cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice in between.
- Remove the lid. The tomatoes should be cooked by now, and you can once again see the oil separating and coming to the surface.
- Add the peas, and cook on high heat for 10-15 minutes until the excess moisture is gone and the peas are cooked.
- Now add the chopped herbs, green chilies, and fresh lemon juice. Stir well until combined.
- Add the dried fenugreek leaves and butter and cover the pot. Let it steam for a couple of minutes.
- Remove the lid, top with sliced ginger (optional), and serve with roti or rice.
For best flavors use ground meat that is not lean. The more fat the keema has, the juicier it will be.
Sometimes, keema can have a bit of odor, especially mutton keema and lamb keema. To overcome this, you can wash the keema in water by placing it in a colander.
To get a really good flavor, I suggest cooking the ground beef on high heat for 15 minutes to get good browning and develop an intense flavor. This also helps combat the odor issue.
In Urdu and Hindi, Keema means mince. It can refer to any type of ground meat.
You can store the cooked dish in the fridge for up to 3-4 days in the fridge. You can also freeze it for one month.
You can wash it by placing it in a colander and running over it for 1-2 times. Drain well, and use as directed in the recipe.
Serving Suggestions for Keema Matar
This dish is so versatile and can be served in many ways. Here are a few suggestions:
Complete your meal by pairing your keema with matar pulao, daal and this kachumber salad. You can even add in a mint raita if you like! If you want to have a whole meal, then you can also add this achari chicken!
If you want to serve this keema matar as is then I suggest serving it with basmati rice, or jeera rice. You can also go the flatbread route, and serve it with roti, naan or paratha.
- 1/2 cup oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 small onion chopped
- 500 grams keema
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1 teaspoon kashmiri lal mirch
- 1 teaspoon lal mirch powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 green chillies
- 1 handful of coriander
- 1 handful mint
- 1/2 inch ginger julienned
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon kasuri methi
- 1 teaspoon butter
- Heat oil in a large pot or pan. Add the bay leaves and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add the chopped onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent.
- Add the keema and cook on medium high heat for 4-5 minutes until the color changes.
- Now add the ginger garlic paste and cook for 1-2 minutes, while stirring.
- Add the spices and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the spices are cooked and you can see the oil coming to the surface.
- Now add the crushed tomatoes and mix. Lower the flame to medium low and cover the pot. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice between cooking.
- Once the tomatoes are cooked and the oil has separated from the keema, remove the lid and add the peas. Cooking on high heat for 10-15 minutes until all excess moisture is gone and the peas are cooked.
- Add the chopped coriander, green chillies, and lemon juice and give it a mix. Add the kasuri methi and butter, and cover the pot. Let it steam for 1-2 minutes. Remove the lid, top with the sliced ginger and serve immediately with basmati rice, naan or roti.
- Oil: Use any neutral flavored oil, or ghee.
- Whole spices: I only use bay leaves in this recipe, but you can also add in green cardamom, cumin seeds, black peppercorns and a stick or two of cinnamon if desired. You can also omit any whole spices, and the keema will still turn out delicious.
- Onion: Use any kind onion: red, brown or white.
- Keema: Use any ground meat of your choice. Cooking times will vary a bit according to the kind of meat your are using. For beef and mutton, I suggest using mince with higher fat content for a juicier results.
- Ginger and Garlic Paste: You can use homemade or jarred.
- Powdered spices: You can adjust the amount of red chili powder and omit the red chili flakes if you want to keep the spice levels down.
- Tomatoes: I highly recommend using fresh tomatoes here, but in a pinch you can use a can of crushed tomatoes. If you don't have any tomatoes on hand, you can also add 1/2 cup of yogurt.
- Fresh herbs: Fresh mint and coriander add a bright freshness to this recipe, so they are highly recommended.
- Green chilies: Indian green chili or Thai green chili are good for this recipe.
- Fresh lemon juice: An optional ingredient, but adds a bright freshness to the recipe.
- Kasuri Methi (Dried Fenugreek Leaves): often used in keema recipes, it adds a delicious savoriness to the recipe. It. is optional, but highly recommended.
- Butter: Not a traditional ingredient but adds a depth of flavor.