This Pakistani and Indian-style Keema Matar (Ground beef and Pea dish) is an easy, one-pot, family friendly meal. Amazing flavor comes from aromatics and very basic South Asian spices. I grew up eating this comforting meal that has now become my kids favorite as well.
I always like to give some details on each recipe. These notes will help you not just with this particular recipe but overall cooking. This recipe is pretty straight forward. It’s definitely for beginner cooks. If you have any questions, please always let me know. Enjoy!
WHAT IS KEEMA MATAR?
Keema, Kheema, or Qeema is a traditional South Asian meat dish. The word itself means ground minced meat. Keema can be made from almost any meat, can be cooked by stewing or frying in an onion and tomato base, and can also be formed into kebabs or meatballs.
So, once you make it like this, you can do many different variations to this dish.
- POTATOES Add potatoes instead of peas. If potatoes are cut into medium cube size that can take about 15-20 minutes to cook. After breaking up the ground beef you can add potatoes.
- SPINACH/KALE I am always trying to incorporate more vegetables into the kid’s diet. Adding some greens will really elevate this dish to a nutrient dense meal. If you don’t like the greens to wilt, then you can add towards the end. We like the greens a little bit more cooked, so I add right after breaking down the ground beef.
- BELL PEPPERS This is an amazing combination of flavors. You can thinly slice 1 bell pepper of choice and add towards the end. The steam will soften the peppers.
- Usually, you will see this dish made with ground beef, but you can use ground chicken, lamb or mutton. Keep in mind that ground chicken can be a little more tough.
- I like to get ground beef that has some amount of fat, that is why I only add ¼ cup of oil for 1lb of ground beef. Sometimes I do make it with lean ground beef, but the fat brings a lot of flavors. I used 85/15 ground beef.
- I take the beef out and let it sit out at room temperature to take the chill off. Cooking cold meat can make the texture a little tough. When it’s at room temperature you are easily able to break it up and it just mixes well with the rest of the ingredients.
WHOLE & POWDER SPICES
The whole and powder spices I use in this dish are very common staple flavors when it comes to South Asian spices. These flavors are the backbone to Pakistani/Indian dishes. You will realize soon that these whole spices/powder spices in combination with aromatics and other ingredients give you some of the best dishes.
I have used some whole spices because these warm spices pair really well with beef. I also make his dish without all the whole spices sometimes. So, if you feel like you are missing a spice you can still make this dish without lacking on any flavor.
If you prefer a heavily spiced dish, you can always add more of the same spices. I make mine very mild because of the kids. You can add green chilis and red chili powder to your preference.
This dish is best served with
KEEMA MATAR (Ground beef & peas)
- 1 lb. ground beef 85/15
- 1/4 cup light olive oil
- 1 medium onion (chopped )
- 2 medium tomatoes (chopped)
- 1 cup frozen or fresh peas
- 4 garlic cloves (crushed or grated )
- 1-inch fresh ginger (grated or finely chopped )
- 1/3 cup water
- fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cloves
- 4 peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste )
- 2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste )
- Have all ingredients ready before you start cooking. I like to use a heavy bottom pan for this.
- Heat oil in the pan over medium heat. Add whole spices and let these sizzle and heat through for about 30 seconds. They will become fragrant, careful not to burn these.
- Add onions and green chilis. Sauté until onions are golden brown about 5-7 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and continue sautéing for about 30 seconds.
- Add the ground beef, break apart the beef using the back of the spoon as fine as you like or leave it chunky. Let the meat sear for a few minutes.
- Add tomatoes and powder spices and mix well. Add peas and water. Turn heat to medium low and continue cooking for about 20 minutes. Make sure to stir few times to prevent any sticking to bottom of pan.
- Once tomatoes have cooked down, you will start to see some oil separating. You shouldn't have any excess water. Turn heat off and garnish with cilantro.