This Pakistani and Indian-style Keema Matar (Ground Beef and Peas Curry) is an easy, one-pot keema recipe that’s deeply flavorful with no whole spices used. This recipe also includes tips on how to make Keema curry with ground chicken.
Growing up, we ate keema almost weekly, with Keema Aloo (Ground beef with potatoes) gracing the table a bit more frequently. Keema didn’t quite cause the anticipation of biryani, but it fell into the welcome dinner category. There’s this inexplicable comfort that comes from a bite of keema. I’m sure there’s a scientific explanation for it.
Ground Beef vs Ground Chicken
Pakistani keema recipes usually use ground beef, but I often make this with chicken keema. Here are the minor differences you’ll notice if you use chicken instead of ground beef:
- This is an obvious one – beef takes longer to cook. I sauté both chicken and beef for the same amount of time. When I cover and cook, my chicken usually takes 10 minutes while my beef takes about 15 minutes to cook.
- I grew up seeing meat being washed and I do the same for most meat. For beef, I always rinse a few times before draining it. But I don’t wash ground chicken. Somehow it seems if I wash it I’ll completely rid the chicken of any flavor or fat.
- When making it with chicken, I increase the freshly ground black pepper at the end by half a teaspoon. I also add the spices at the end in this recipe because it works really well with chicken, giving it a welcome pungency.
This recipe is similar to my Keema Aloo (Ground beef & Potato) Curry recipe, but it has a few advantages over it:
1 – It doesn’t include any whole spices, so your toddler’s biting into a black peppercorn won’t result in a theatrical dinner-time tantrum (or is that just mine?).
2 – It comes together even quicker because you don’t have to wait for the potatoes to cook.
3 – It’s incredibly versatile. Use it in buns for a burger, bread for a sandwich, as topping for pizza, sauce for pasta, filling for samosas or puff pastry, and pretty much anywhere you’d use ground meat.
4 – It freezes well. Just warm it up on the stovetop with a splash of water.
Tea For Turmeric tips to make Keema Matar:
- If using fresh peas instead of frozen, add them at Step 4, before covering to cook the meat.
- You may also add potatoes to this recipe (this is quite common, actually). If using potatoes, add them in with the tomatoes, green chili, and yogurt.
- If you use a food processor to chop the tomatoes as I do, it’ll most likely break them down and release enough water to cook the keema. If you’re using Roma tomatoes or other tomatoes with less water quantity, you may have to add a bit of water before or during the meat cooking process.
- Sometimes I use a mild, chopped green chili pepper at the end of cooking to add a bit of fierce but tolerable heat at the end. If you don’t have a mild chili pepper, only add it in the beginning as the recipe calls for.
If you try this recipe, please let me know in the comments below and/or tag me on Instagram so I can see your creations. I love hearing from you!
More Keema recipes for you to try:
Keema Matar (Ground Beef and Peas Curry)
- 3 tbsp neutral oil such as grapeseed or avocado
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 5-6 garlic cloves crushed
- 1- inch piece ginger crushed
- 1 lb ground beef or chicken
- 1 medium (or 2 small) tomatoes finely chopped
- 1-2 green chili peppers (such as a small Serrano or Thai chili) chopped
- 1 tbsp plain whole-milk yogurt
- ¾ tsp mild red chili powder or to taste
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 1/8 tsp kosher salt, divided or to taste
- 1 cup frozen green peas thawed
- 1 small green chili chopped – optional
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground coriander (or coriander powder)
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves chopped
- 1/2 tsp fresh lemon or lime juice optional
- Heat a medium-sized pan over high heat. Once hot, add the oil, cumin seeds, and onions and sauté until the onions are slightly brown, about 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic and ginger, and stir for a minute. Add the ground beef and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until it’s no longer pink and most of the moisture dries up. Use a wooden spatula to break up the meat into small pieces to ensure no lumps.
- Add the tomato, green chili pepper, yogurt, red chili powder, turmeric, and 1 tsp of the salt and continue to cook for 2 minutes, until the tomatoes start to break down. You’ll notice the liquid in the mixture is beginning come to a boil.
- Lower the heat to medium, cover and allow it to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring once in between. If you feel that there is not enough moisture and the meat is sticking to the bottom of the pan, add ¼ cup water.
- Uncover, and stir in the peas, more green chili pepper (if using), the remaining 1/8 tsp salt, and 1/2 cup water. Cover again and allow the mixture to cook for about 3 minutes, or until the peas are cooked through.
- Add the remaining spices and cilantro listed under ‘after cooking’ and sauté for another minute or two. Taste and adjust salt and spice. Lower the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and allow the flavors to settle for 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, add lemon or lime juice, if desired, and serve hot with any kind of bread or rice.