Easy Instant Pot Keema (Ground Beef Curry)
This Instant Pot Keema (Ground Beef Curry) is THE keema recipe you’ve been waiting for. It’s quick and easy to prepare and full of traditional Pakistani & Indian flavor. It requires simple ingredients and has no whole spices to bite into, which makes it incredibly versatile and kid-friendly. Use it for filling, topping, and much more. This recipe also includes instructions on how to adapt it to the stovetop.
“My husband and I couldn’t get enough of this keema! I was really excited to use leftovers in tacos or sandwiches the next day but we didn’t have enough left lol. So good!”Esha
What is Keema?
Keema, or spiced minced/ground meat, is a staple food in the Indian Subcontinent. Being Pakistani and Punjabi, I’ve grown up on ground beef and it’s one of my favorite meats. The techniques and spices used in South Asian cooking elevate ground meat and give it an irresistible depth.
This is a basic keema recipe, and by basic I mean it’s foundational and essential for any home cook. It’s a classic recipe – comforting, perfectly spiced, and balanced in flavor. It’s also highly adaptable so feel free to use ground chicken, lamb, or goat (mutton) and add vegetables to your liking (more on that below).
How to Make Keema in the Instant Pot
Making keema in the Instant Pot is simple. You lightly brown the onion/garlic/ginger, then add the ground beef and sauté. Once the meat changes color, you add the rest of the ingredients and pressure cook. After that, you’ll add yogurt (a beautiful ingredient in keema) and sauté out the extra moisture. Garnish and you’re done!
This recipe uses a food processor to make the process so painless that even chopping or mincing is unnecessary.
The two techniques you shouldn’t skimp out on while making keema are:
- Allowing the onions to lightly brown to create depth in flavor, and
- Sautéing or stir-frying (a technique called “bhuna”) the meat so it browns nicely.
Keema Serving Suggestions
Of course, you can eat it as-is like a curry, but you can also use it as a filling for samosas, parathas, or naan. I love using leftovers for pasta, sandwiches, tacos/wraps, and so much more.
How to add vegetables to keema
There are several vegetables that traditionally go together with ground meat. Here’s a list of them and tips on how you can incorporate them after pressure cooking the keema. Keep in mind the salt will need to be adjusted after adding any other vegetables.
- Potatoes (Aloo): Boil or shallow fry (then steam) cubed potatoes and fold in when the keema is just about done. (For more potato recipes check out my collection of 10 (Aloo) Potato Recipes.)
- Frozen green peas (Matar): For petit peas, thaw add with the yogurt and sauté. The green peas will cook in the remaining moisture. For sturdier peas, add along with the keema before pressure cooking.
- Green Bell Pepper (Shimla mirch): Add along with the yogurt and sauté as directed (~7 min).
- Bitter Melon (Karele): Stir-fry the deseeded and cubed bitter melon for 10 minutes first and then sauté along with the meat after pressure cooking.
Tips for Cooking Keema in the Instant Pot
- No need to add extra water before pressure cooking. The moisture from the tomato and beef is enough to make sure it will not burn. If it looks dry, add a splash of water and mix to combine.
- Be sure to sauté out the excess moisture at the end of pressure cooking. This will take upward of 5 minutes, depending on how large or watery your tomato is.
- Spices are essential to a good keema. To make up for using no whole spices, I add garam masala at the end. Feel free to adjust spices to your taste.
How to Double, Freeze, and Reheat Keema
Keema freezes well. You can even make a double batch and freeze half. To double & freeze:
- To Double: Pressure cook time for the same amount of time. But note that you’ll have to sauté a bit longer at each step.
- To Freeze: Before adding garnishing like cilantro, garam masala, and lemon juice, remove from heat. Allow to cool. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3-4 months.
- To Reheat: Thaw overnight in the fridge or at room temperature. To reheat, place on the stove over medium heat. Add a bit of water as needed to prevent it from drying it. Once heated through, garnish with cilantro, garam masala, and lemon.
How to make this Keema on the stovetop
Here’s how to make this recipe on the stovetop:
- Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil, whole spices, and onion mixture and sauté until the onions are slightly brown, about 8 minutes.
- Add the ground beef and cook, stirring often, until it changes color and most of the moisture dries up, about 4-5 minutes. Use a wooden spatula to break up the beef into small pieces to ensure no lumps.
- Add the remaining ingredients except the cilantro, garam masala, and lemon juice and sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to break down. Add 2 tablespoons of water and stir.
- Lower the heat to a little higher than the lowest setting, cover, and allow it to cook for 25 minutes, stirring a few times in between. Garnish with the garam masala, cilantro, and lemon juice (if using).
More Keema (Ground Beef) Recipes
- Aloo Keema (Ground Beef and Potato Curry)
- Pakistani Kofta Curry (Meatball Curry)
- Keema Matar (Ground Meat and Peas Curry)
- Baked Pakistani Seekh Kabob
- Instant Pot Shami Kabab (with Stovetop Instructions)
- Chapli Kabab
Easy Instant Pot Keema
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped into eights
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 inch ginger, peeled and cut into a few pieces
- 1/4 cup neutral oil, such as avocado or grapeseed
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1-2 small green chili peppers, stems removed and roughly chopped
- 1 small to medium (~150 g) tomato, quartered
- 1 lb ground beef, (lean and regular both work)
Ground Spices & Salt
After Pressure Cooking
- 2 tbsp whole milk yogurt
- 2 tbsp cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- ½-1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, optional
- Food Processor (Optional)
- Place the onion, garlic, and ginger in a food processor. Use the pulse function to chop the mixture until finely chopped but not blended. Make sure the garlic and ginger is properly minced. If you'd like, you can chop the onion first and then the garlic and ginger together.
- Select the Sauté setting on your Instant Pot and set it to More/High. When the screen says Hot, add the oil and cumin seeds and allow them sizzle for a few seconds.
- Add the onion mixture and sauté until lightly browned (~6-8 minutes). Meanwhile, use the pulse function to roughly chop the tomatoes and green chili peppers in the food processor. Set aside for later use.
- Deglaze the Instant Pot with a splash of water and continue to stir for a minute, removing any bits stuck to the pan. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring to remove any lumps, until it changes color (~4-5 minutes).
- Add the tomato/green chili pepper mixture, ground spices, and salt. Mix well, deglazing any bits. (No need to add any extra water – See Note 1.)
- Cancel Sauté and close and seal the lid. Select the Pressure Cook setting on High and set for 10 minutes. Once cooked, allow the pressure to naturally release for 5 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure.
- Select the Sauté setting and set to More/High. Stir in the yogurt and sauté until the meat turns glossy and no excess liquid remains (~6-7 minutes). Taste and adjust salt and spices. Sprinkle in garam masala, cilantro, and lemon juice (if desired). (See Note 2 for freezing.)