Keema (Spiced Ground Meat)

Keema (Spiced Ground Meat)

Though elite, upper-caste Hindus tend to be vegetarian, most Indians eat meat, and many millions of Muslim Indians eat beef. This saucy keema, which can be made with chicken, lamb, beef or a combination of meat, is simple, comforting home cooking — the meat stretched out and made luxurious in a reduction of spiced tomato. It can be dinner with a couple of soft, shiny bread rolls, or a chapati and a dollop of yogurt. A friend of mine even mixes it with spaghetti and a moderate squirt of ketchup. (Don’t judge!) The secret to this version is to take your time: Caramelize the onions properly for a strong foundation, and once you’ve added the beef, simmer it patiently until the sauce is dark and silky, and the fat has split away, risen to the top, and pooled in every nook.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until evenly browned and caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Step 2

    Add the garlic, ginger and green chile to a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped. Add the tomatoes, caramelized onions and any oil from the skillet, and process again until finely chopped. Return the mixture to the skillet and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
  3. Step 3

    Stir in the ground beef. Sprinkle with the chile powder and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally to break up any clumps of meat, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the fat has floated up to the surface, about 30 minutes.
  4. Step 4

    Taste and adjust the salt, then stir in half the fresh herbs. Sprinkle with garam masala and remaining herbs and serve.