Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Meaty Comfort Food

গোরুর কিমা 
Lime & Coriander Beef Keema

Beef keema 

Growing up, keema - or minced meat - was only meant for kebabs. I use it in my own recipe for beef kebab, as do the other Bangladeshis I know. But over the years, especially since moving to the UK, I've realised many Asian families, Bangladeshi or otherwise, cook their mince directly.The flavours from the various iterations I've eaten have been simple and recognisable. As such, I've always known that I could re-create the recipe myself from scratch - and indeed I have, if you've seen my Instagram feed. But I wanted the actual recipe I posted on the blog to be traditional, and so I turned to one of my friends for help. He has a go-to keema dish that he uses for dinner parties, and it always goes down a storm. The original recipe comes from his mom, traveling from Pakistan via a few other countries, and I've mostly kept it intact below. 

My friend's mom cooks her keema with peas and potatoes, but my friend usually skips these (too much effort, according to him!). I've added the peas back, because vegetables, but not the potatoes, because carbs. I've made one ingredient swap, from tomato paste to fresh tomatoes, as I never have the former in my kitchen. I've added a cinnamon stick, a personal bias: I never caramelise onions for a curry without one these days! Finally, I've also added lime and fresh coriander - something I've also seen others do - because I like the flavour. I prefer to use lean mince for this dish, but work with whatever you prefer or have at hand. This recipe produces a dish that is very similar to my/my mother's recipe for beef curry. This doesn't come as a surprise - most of the spices used in both recipes are the same. What's worth a mention though is that mince is much quicker to cook, so you're looking at a much shorter period in the kitchen with the below. 


  • 2.00 medium onions
  • 1 2.00 cm cinnamon stick
  • 1.00 kg of lean minced beef
  • 1.50 teaspoons of garlic paste
  • 1.50 teaspoons of ginger paste
  • 2.00 medium tomatoes
  • 1.50 teaspoons of powdered cumin
  • 2.00 teaspoons of powdered coriander
  • 1.00 teaspoons of powdered turmeric
  • Powdered chilli, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1.00 cardamom
  • 1.00 clove
  • Whole black pepper, to taste
  • Powdered cinnamon, a pinch
  • Juice of one lemon or lime
  • Fresh red chilli, to taste
  • Fresh coriander, a handful (around 12.00 g)
  • 200.0 g frozen peas


  • Heat about 3 tablespoons of oil in a large pot 
  • As the oil heats, slice the onions. Add to the pot along with the cinnamon stick. 
  • Turn the stove medium heat, and fry the onions till they are golden brown. Stir occasionally, the process should take about 10 minutes
  • While the onions are cooking, roughly chop the tomatoes into chunky wedges and set aside
  • Measure out the garlic and ginger pastes, and add to the tomato

Onion, garlic & ginger pastes, tomato
Ready for the mince to be added

  • Once the onions are done, add the garlic, ginger and tomato to the pot. Stir to mix, and let cook for a couple of minutes, resulting in something like the photo above
  • Turn the heat up high, and add the minced beef to the pot. Begin breaking up the mince and mixing it into the onion base

Browned mince

  • Continue mixing and cooking for around 5 minutes - the aim is to ensure the mince is evenly browned as above
  • Once the mince looks browned, turn the heat down to medium low, cover and let cook for a further 10 minutes. The meat look drier when this step is complete 
  • As the meat is cooking, measure out and combine the powdered cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli and salt
  • Add the spices to the meat, along with the juice of half a lime. Follow up by adding 300.00 ml of boiling water and mix everything thoroughly 
  • Ensure the heat is still turned down to medium low, and cover
Bubbling away

  • Let the dish cook for around 45 minutes. Check on it periodically to ensure the liquid has not dried up completely. Add a little boiling water as necessary if it has - otherwise the keema will burn. Refer to the photo above
  • Combine and crush the cardamom, clove and black pepper. Add the pinch of powdered cinnamon and set aside 

    Keema ready to serve 

  • Once the meat has cooked for 45 minutes, add the frozen peas, fresh coriander and fresh chillies, along with a squirt of lime. Stir to mix, then add the crushed spices. Leave on the stove for a further 3 to 4 minutes, before turning off the heat
  • The dish is essentially ready now, and should look a little like the photo aboveI prefer to cook keema the day before and reheat it to serve though
  • To reheat, turn the stove to medium. Place the dish onto the stove uncovered. As it comes to boil, add a little more fresh coriander and another squirt of lime juice. Heat until the keema looks dry, as this is how I've been told it is traditionally served 

Additional Info
As I've said, the lime and coriander are optional. Feel free to omit these, the dish works well even without them. The same goes for the peas actually - I add these because it's an easy way to get some veg into the dish. Omit these, or alternatively add even more veg to make this a balanced one pot meal. 

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