This Pakistani-style Keema Matar (Ground Beef Curry with Peas) is a one-pot keema recipe that’s easy-to-make yet deeply flavorful. Ready in under an hour, this recipe includes can’t-miss tips for juicy, perfectly cooked ground beef! Tested to perfection!

Keema Matar in a skillet with a wooden spoon.

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“The tastiest dish I’ve ever made with minced beef!”

Neil

Growing up, we ate Keema, or curried, ground meat, almost weekly. 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.

Close up of Keema Matar in a skillet with a wooden spoon.

Keema Matar

Matar, or green peas, add a burst of mild, subtly flavor to keema, making them one of the most popular additions to Keema.

This one is similar to my Aloo Keema recipe, but with a few advantages:

  • No whole spices: Similar to my Instant Pot version, 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?).
  • Quick & easy: It comes together even quicker because you don’t have to wait for the potatoes to cook.
  • Versatile: It’s more than a curry. 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.
  • Freezer-friendly: Keema Matar freezes perfectly. Just thaw and warm it up on the stovetop with a splash of water.
Close up of Keema Matar in a bowl with a spoon.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need:

Keema Matar Ingredients
  • Neutral oil: I use avocado or grapeseed.
  • Onion: I’ve used yellow but you can also use red. I finely chop the onions in a food processor.
  • Garlic & ginger: Either crush these using a mortar & pestle, or finely chop in the food processor.
  • Ground beef: A decent level of fat (I use 20%) really enhances the juicy factor. Still, you can make it with lean meat, and the flavor in the curry will compensate. Feel free to use your favorite ground meat here such as lamb or goat – see Variations for tips on using Ground Chicken.
  • Tomato: If you use a food processor to chop the tomatoes like 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 up to 1/2 cup water before the meat cooking process.
  • Green chili peppers: I use a mild Serrano, which is less hot than Thai chili peppers. Adding the green chili after cooking gives it a kick. 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.
  • Plain whole-milk yogurt: Enhances tartness and creaminess. Omit for dairy-free.
  • Kosher salt: Use a tad less if using sea salt or table salt.
  • Frozen green peas: If using fresh peas instead of frozen, add them at Step 4, before covering to cook the meat.
  • Cilantro leaves: Herbs are essential in keema to brighten and lift it up. Mint is also nice here if you have it on hand.
  • Lemon or lime juice: To liven up the dish with bright, citrusy notes.

Spices

All are easily available, if not already on-hand.

  • Cumin seeds & coriander powder: Cumin seeds add depth and aroma. Coriander adds brightness and robust flavor.
  • Red chili powder: If using Kashmiri red chili powder (similar to Paprika in heat), you may want to add 1/4 tsp regular red chili powder or cayenne to increase heat.
  • Turmeric powder: For color, flavor, and all around goodness of turmeric.
  • Freshly ground black pepper: Adds a pop of peppery flavor.
  • Garam masala: If using store-bought, start with 1/4 tsp since it can be quite strong & overpowering.
Keema Matar in a bowl with a piece of naan.

How to Make Keema Matar

If you’re new to this dish, take heart. Keema is almost impossible to mess up. Here are some key tips:

  1. Sauté onions until golden brown. Browning the onions is key for deep flavor in the keema. Add the garlic & ginger and stir until aromatic. You’ll notice the onions have deepened even in more in color. If it any point the onions start to brown unevenly, deglaze the pan with 2 tbsp of water to help them release their color and flavor.
Sauteed onions and cumin seeds in a skillet for Keema Matar.
  1. Add the ground beef and cook for 5 minutes. Sautéing/stir-frying (called bhunai) the keema well is essential for an authentic-tasting keema. We’re going past ‘just cooked through’ and instead going toward searing the minced meat as much as possible.
Sauteed ground beef in a skillet with a rubber spatula for Keema Matar.
  1. Add the tomato, green chili pepper, yogurt, coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric, and salt and continue to sauté for 2 minutes, until the tomatoes start to break down. If using watery tomatoes, you’ll need 1/4 cup. If using Roma/plum tomatoes, they’ll cook down quite quickly, and you’ll have to use around 1/2 cup water. You need enough water so that it cooks and remains soft and juicy, but not too much to make it watery or soggy.
Skillet with sauteed beef, tomatoes, green chili, yogurt and spices for Keema Matar.
  1. Cover + cook. Toward the end, the water content will have naturally dried up.
  2. Stir in the peas, more green chili pepper should you desire the kick, and 1/2 cup water. Cover again to cook the peas. You want them to maintain shape, but also break easily when pressed between your fingers.
Keema Matar in a skillet with a rubber spatula.
  1. Add the finishing spices & cilantro and sauté for another minute or two, until you can see the oil separating from the curry. T
  2. Cover and cook on low heat to allow the flavors to settle before turning off the heat. Sprinkle with more cilantro and squeeze in lemon or lime juice.
Keema Matar after being cooked, garnished with cilantro.

How to Serve Keema Matar

Keema is traditionally served with either roti/naan/paratha or Basmati Rice. But like I mentioned earlier, you can use this recipe in any context wherever ground beef makes sense. Though it’s flavorful enough that it doesn’t really need much enhancement, here are some typical accompaniments:

Scooping up Keema Matar with a piece of naan.

In terms of pairing, Keema Matar pairs well with just about anything:

Close up of a skillet of Keema Matar with a wooden spoon.

Variations

  • Adding potatoes along with the peas is a common variation. If using potatoes, add them in with the tomatoes, green chili, and yogurt. (For more potato recipes, check out my collection of Pakistani and Indian Aloo (Potato) Recipes.)
  • Using Ground Chicken: Pakistani keema recipes usually use ground beef, but this recipe is great with ground chicken. If using chicken, here are the minor differences to note:
    • 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.
    • Increase the freshly ground black pepper at the end by 1/4 teaspoon. Adding the spices such as coriander at the end also works well with chicken, giving it a welcome pungency.
Keema Matar in a skillet with a wooden spoon.

More Keema Recipes:

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!

Scooping up Keema Matar with a piece of naan.
4.95 (51 ratings)

Keema Matar (Ground Beef Curry with Peas)

This Pakistani and Indian-style Keema Matar (Ground Beef Curry with Peas) 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.

Watch the Video

Ingredients 

Curry

  • 3 tbsp neutral oil, such as grapeseed or avocado
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 (~220 g) medium onion, finely chopped
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, crushed or very finely chopped
  • 1- inch piece ginger, crushed or very finely chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef, See Note 1
  • 1 medium (2 small/~250 g) ripe tomato, finely chopped – See Note 2
  • 1-2 green chili peppers (such as a small Serrano or Thai chili), chopped
  • 1 tbsp plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 tsp ground coriander (or coriander powder)
  • 3/4 tsp mild red chili powder, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/8 tsp kosher salt, or to taste

After cooking

  • 1 cup (~130 g) frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 small mild green chili pepper (such as a Serrano), chopped – optional
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp garam masala, start with 1/4 tsp if using store-bought
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon or lime juice, or serve with lemon/lime wedges

Instructions 

  • Heat oil in a medium-sized pan over high heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and onion and sauté until the onions are golden brown, about 8 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and ginger and stir for a minute, until aromatic. Add the ground beef and cook for 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, coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric, and salt and continue to sauté for 2 minutes, until the tomatoes start to break down. You’ll notice the liquid in the mixture is beginning to come to a boil. Add 1/4 cup water and allow it to come to a simmer again.
  • Lower the heat to medium, cover and allow it to cook for 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 another 1/4 cup water.
  • Uncover, and stir in the peas, more green chili pepper (if using), and 1/2 cup water. Cover again and allow the mixture to cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the peas are cooked through. (See Note 3)
  • Add the black pepper, garam masala, and cilantro and sauté for another minute or two, until you can see the oil separating from the curry. 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, sprinkle with more cilantro and squeeze in lemon or lime juice. Serve hot with any kind of bread (roti, naan, sliced bread), or rice.

Notes

Note 1: Lean and full-fat (20%) both work, though lean is a bit more dry. Feel free to use ground chicken, lamb, or other ground meat.
Note 2: If you use a food processor to chop the tomatoes like 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 up to 1/2 cup water before the meat cooking process.
Note 3: Cook time varies depending on how thawed the peas are. If you forgot to thaw as I often do, cook for about 7 minutes. You want them to maintain shape and not entirely shrivel up, but also break easily when pressed between your fingers.
Calories: 449kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 34g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 81mg, Sodium: 785mg, Potassium: 542mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 765IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 60mg, Iron: 4mg
Keema Matar on a gray napkin with bread on the side

This is an update of the original Keema Matar post which was published on SEPTEMBER 27, 2019. I’ve made very minor tweaks to the recipe such as:

  • Adding coriander powder toward the beginning instead of the end.
  • Adding a small amount of water before covering to cook.
  • Cleaning up the recipe writing, and giving the quantities in grams.

But, if you’d like the older one, please send me an email and I’ll be happy to share!