Keema Mattar


Keema mattar is one of my favorite dishes, ever! I know I say that about so many of the recipes on this site. But keema is so FABULOUS! The flavors are complex, deep, and layered to perfection.

Keema mattar is somewhat reminiscent of picadillo in it’s popularity. This as a complex recipe, but I promise, if you have the patience to see it through, you will NOT be disappointed.

Nash’s response when asked how he would describe keema, “Oh ooooooooo”. Well ladies and gentlemen if that doesn’t sum it all up nothing will. (Insert facepalm here). Allow me to translate. What he means is, minced meat is difficult. It can easily be dry, tough, and flavorless. Keema is the exact opposite of all of those things. You slowly cook the meat over low heat to almost create a pulled pork effect. In that it’s mouth wateringly juicy, tender, and packed with an amazing array of flavors.

When you see a bowl of keema you wouldn’t imagine it to be as complex in flavor as it is. Simply because it’s a bowl of minced meat. It’s also a unique dish in that it’s not overly anything, meaning it’s not overly spicy, salty, etc. Instead it’s a sequence of flavors as it hits different parts of your palate. There’s ginger, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, bay leaf, pepper, salt, and more. Yet none of these spices make the dish overwhelming and spicy, but rather it’s well spiced, if that makes sense.

This is a rather fancy dish simply because of how intricate the flavor is, how long it takes to prepare, and in general it was always seen as a dish for kings. That said, I like to serve it with fresh roti, daal makhni, cucumber raita, salad, and a sumptuous dessert like ras malai.

Rant #7: If you’ve ever known a North Indian you know we don’t like it when our foods are mixed together. AT ALL! Hence all the little plates and bowls. So as you’d imagine, buffets where you pile everything together, trough style, is a personal place of hurt and shame. Why do I bring this up? The “Oh ooooo” boy. He insists that keema is best used for Indian burritos. Roti, raita, salad, keema – and make it a wrap. Even as I write this I am giving him a look of great disdain. But sadly, in this one case. I do agree, it makes one bitchin kati roll. Aside from VERY specific instances, separate your food people! SEPARATE!

Looking for other fanciful dishes? Try these:

Keema Mattar

Course: Main CoursesCuisine: PunjabiDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time








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  • 4 large onions

  • 7 tbsp of ginger

  • 2 chilies

  • 8 cloves of garlic

  • 6 medium tomatoes

  • 2 black cardamom pods

  • 7 green cardamom pods

  • 1 stick cinnamon

  • 7 whole cloves

  • 7 whole peppercorns

  • 2 Indian bay leaf

  • 2 tbsp whole cumin, ground

  • 2 tbsp coriander seed, ground

  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 tsp turmeric

  • 2 lbs ground lamb or turkey

  • 1/2 cup peas

  • Salt to taste

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 1 cup water

  • Cilantro for garnish

Equipment/Specialty Items


  • Prep:
  • Puree onions. Set aside.
  • Puree ginger, garlic, and serranos together with a little water to help the process along. Set aside.
  • Puree tomatoes. Set aside.
  • You don’t need to rinse of clean your food processor in between the various pureeing.
  • Masala:
  • In a large nonstick skillet heat oil over high heat.
  • Add in onions and cook over high heat, till the liquid evaporates.
  • Reduce heat to medium and cook till the onions turn a deep reddish brown. Stirring to avoid sticking and burning. Approximately 20 minutes. If they start to stick just add in a few tablespoons of water.
  • Once reddish brown. Add in ginger, pepper, garlic puree. Saute on high heat for 2 minutes.
  • Add both types of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, and Indian bay leaf. Saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add in a little bit of water to keep it from sticking to the pan.
  • Add in ground cumin, coriander seeds, cayenne pepper, and turmeric. Saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add in tomatoes and saute for 10 minutes till the water evaporates and it turns a deep brownish red.
  • Cooking:
  • Add in meat, breaking up the clumps and mixing it evenly into masala. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Mix in 1 cup water.
  • Cover and cook for 60 minutes. Stirring to avoid sticking and burning.
  • If you’re using frozen peas, thaw them out and set aside. If you’re using fresh peas, blanche them and set aside.
  • Add in salt and peas. Cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Serve:
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with roti.

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Nutrition Facts

6 servings per container


  • Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 24.7g 37%
    • Saturated Fat 4.3g 20%
  • Cholesterol 154mg 52%
  • Sodium 206mg 9%
  • Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
  • Potassium 1036mg 30%
  • Total Carbohydrate 24.4g 8%
    • Dietary Fiber 6.6g 24%
    • Sugars 8.5g
  • Protein 45.5g 90%
  • Calcium 9%
  • Iron 29%
  • Vitamin D 1%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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