While every country may be true to their customs, cultures, and traditional cuisines when it comes to making the most out of their festive events, let’s just say that desi food lovers around the world take their food a little too seriously.
Now, what’s a traditional desi menu without the tantalizing keema delicacy? If you desire to pay homage to your culture and maybe wish to feel a little less homesick, try out this authentic step-by-step Pakistani keema recipe. Not only is it super simple, but we’ve also demonstrated how you can recreate this recipe from scratch. We’ve even included a ‘homemade whole spice powder recipe’ that is a key ingredient to achieving that earthy and genuine Pakistani keema flavor (thank us later) and can also be used in other traditional Pakistani recipes.
The History Of ‘Keema’
Keema – a dish that had soared through the Indian-subcontinent, remains popular even today. The word ‘keema’ is believed to had been derived from the Turkish word ‘Kiyma,’ meaning minced meat. Being a traditional delicacy in medieval India, a time where royal families and Mughals were very precautious for their food, Khansamas (royal cooks) innovated and served the royals with delectable food items to please the appetite of their royal highness and his court.
Can Keema Be Made With Other Types Of Meat?
Traditionally Keema is made from ground beef, but you can also use chicken or even lamb. Lamb, in fact, is a common ingredient used in the Middle East and among the Turkish cuisines, which explains why lamb is preferred for most of their recipes that involve meat.
Since the existence of Keema, it has gone through several alternations as per the preferences of people. Notable variations include; Aloo Keema, Keema Matar, Bihari Keema, and several others. While most prioritize the modernized, convenient way of cooking Keema over the stove, others are more conventional with their methods and tend to cook Keema in mud pots using kerosene pressure stoves and coal just like old times.
You may use this recipe for cooking and altering it according to your tastebuds and priorities.
Treat Your Taste Buds with Pakistani Keema Recipes
- Food processor
- Mortar and pestle
- Spice grinder
- 500 gm ground beef
- 2 onions chopped
- half cup yogurt (lightly beaten)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
- 1 tsp whole spice powder/garam masala
- 1 tbsp red chili
- 1-2 tbsp chickpea flour (roasted)
- 1 level tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp garlic-ginger paste or freshly (finely) chopped ginger and garlic
- ¼ cup oil
- 3 tbsp clarified butter
- ½ tbsp raw papaya paste/meat tenderizer or ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves
- Onion ring slices
- 2 tbsp ginger julienne
- 3 tbsp green chilies chopped
- Place the ground beef in a food processor and ensure that the beef is well minced. Ideally, you should do this two to three times until you have finely minced meat. (See tips)
- In a large pan, heat the 3 tbsp of oil/clarified butter with the chopped onions and fry until onions are wilted and brown. Carefully remove the fried onions from the oil and place them in a bowl to the side.
- Marinate the ground beef with papaya paste/tenderizer powder/baking soda, ginger-garlic paste, remaining oil, chickpea/gram flour, vinegar/lemon juice, yogurt, whole spice powder, red chili powder, and salt. Mix well and allow marinating for two to four hours.
- Heat a large saucepan, toss in the marinated ground beef along with the fried brown onions, add a little less than half a glass of water to the pan and allow to simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Cook the Keema on medium heat for an additional 5 to 6 minutes or until the water has evaporated and the Keema is brown. (See tips)
- Transfer the Keema out in a serving dish. Garnish with coriander leaves, chopped green chilies, ginger, and/or onion ring slices.
Tips for Keema
– Instead of using a food processor, you can always chop the mince manually until you are content with the texture.
– For a smoky keema flavor, place a square of aluminum foil in the center of the pan and add a piece of coal on top of the aluminum foil. Drop a few drops of oil over the coal for the smoke to emit. Cover the pan for an additional 5 minutes to trap the smoke with the Keema. Finally, remove the coal and the aluminum foil and transfer the Keema to a dish and garnish as per your preference.
Homemade Whole spice (Garam Masala) Powder
- 1 tbsp cloves
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 4-5 star anises
- 2 tbsp black peppercorns
- 20-22 green cardamom
- 7-8 black cardamoms
- 12-15 cinnamon sticks
- 2 & ½ tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 nutmegs
- Optional: 2 pieces of dried ginger
- 6-8 bay leaves
- 1 & ½ tbsp mace
- 1 tbsp caraway seeds
- 2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
- 1 tsp asafetida powder
- Dry roast all the above ingredients over a frying pan placed over medium-low heat until spices are aromatic, also ensure cumin seeds, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, and cloves are light golden brown in color.
- Transfer the fragrant, roasted ingredients in a (dry) bowl.
- Blitz all the above ingredients (in the bowl) using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle to create a fine powder. (See tips)
- Store your homemade whole spice/garam masala powder in an airtight container to avoid excess moisture for up to two to three months.
- Using a grinder would give you more precise and fine results; however, if you do not have one on hand, you could also use a mortar and a pestle.
- The number of black peppercorns you wish to use in this recipe will determine the heat and extra kick in your whole spice powder