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Lamb Keema Recipe

Lamb Keema recipe
Lamb Keema with Pilau Rice

(Skip the blurb)

To find a good Keema Recipe is not that difficult but still it seems that it is not a recipe that is cooked often enough. Keema (or kheema or qeema) simply means minced meat and is a traditional meat dish of northern India and Pakistan.

My first wife's grandmother was brought up in India (Bihar I believe) and this is the recipe that she passed on. This was always known as "nan's curry" but it was actually a pretty accurate keema recipe. And this is a typical 'homestyle' dish

There are lots of keema recipes around, and all the variations in spices that you will find are all ok - it's a very versatile dish, you can make using lamb, goat or beef mince, and you can really play about with using the spices that you like. It really simple to make, has lots of garlic and spice (though it doesn't need to be burning hot), it's full of good earthy flavours and you are very likely to have all the ingredient to hand.

Keema can be served as a simple mince stew but can also be used to make kebabs, to fill samosas and to make keema naan.

Basic Ingredients

1lb (450gm) minced lamb
1 large or 2 medium onions
5 cloves garlic
1 inch (2.5cm) root ginger
4 ripe plum tomatoes or 1 400gm tin of tomatoes
2 medium potatoes
A handful of peas
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
2 tablespoons fresh cream
Oil for frying

5 teaspoons coriander seeds
4 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 inch (2.5cm) cinnamon stick
6 cloves
8 black peppercorns
teaspoon asafetida
1 teaspoon garam masala

Notes on Ingredients

Meat. You really can use any type of minced meat in this even chicken.

Potatoes and peas. - you can use either or both - with peas the dish is often called keema matar - I often use both. You can use fresh or frozen peas.

Yoghurt and cream. Again these are both optional (keema recipes really are very versatile). If you use both you will get a lovely rich creamy finish.

Chillis. This dish soaks up all the spices and even the chillis quite well. I have often made this and thought I have put too many chillis in and then found it quite mild. You can use about 3 or 4 'normal' chilllis without causing too much offence.

Oil. I always use ghee or unsalted butter for this but other oils are ok.

Spices. Use lots of coriander and cumin, other spices are optional and you can experiment with fenugreek, fennel or anything else that you think you might like.

Lamb Keema recipe
Lamb Keema

Basic Method

Peel and finely chop the onion
Peel and mash the garlic and ginger
Finely chop the chillis
Peel the potatoes and dice.
Heat a dry frying pan and roast the coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns; allow to cool and grind to a fine powder.

Heat the oil and fry the onions, garlic, ginger and chilli until the onions are soft
Put in the ground spices, the asafetida and fry for 2 more minutes, stirring the spices in.
Add the mince and fry until brown stirring all the time
Put in the tomatoes, diced potatoes and peas
Add the yoghurt, stir in and the turn down the heat to simmer.
Simmer for about 1 hour.
Add the cream, and the garam masala and cook for about 5 more minutes and then turn out into a bowl

Notes on Method

Keema recipes always look quite easy and they really are. I sometimes use a slow cooker for the main simmering bit; this avoids the need to check that it is not boiling dry and you can leave it for quite a while without spoiling the dish. If you do this make sure that the potatoes are cooked before you transfer to the slow cooker (for some reason known only to the potatoes themselves, they never cook in a slow cooker).

I usually eat this with some sort of bread; either paratha or naan but it is equally good with rice. This keema recipe will feed at least four adults even with just a naan or rice. 

Anything left over can be used to make stuffed parathas or samosas.

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