Keema Matar (Spiced Meat with Peas)

I’m often a bit hesitant about putting Indian food on here – it’s probably my favourite world cuisine, and of course Anglo-Indian food is it’s own beautiful thing, but ultimately it feels a bit fruitless.  Those who cook food from the subcontinent frequently will often make their own curry pastes or bases in preparation and use them as the bases for their dishes, the flavours developing over a period of days or weeks into the beautiful sensory explosion we know so well.  Those of us who cook it less frequently are more likely to opt for quicker dish knocked up in a single evening.  For curries, I find this makes a serviceable yet ultimately less successful meal.  This, however, is not a curry.

Keema (minced meat) and peas (matar) are frequently used in Indian cooking.  This particular dish derives from the Mughal empire and is incredibly quick to put together.  Don’t let this fool you – despite being quick it is packed with flavour and when served with a nice warm naan and cooling yoghurt…oh, it’s just the perfect weekday meal.

Ingredients for approx 2 medium portions

  • Minced meat – lamb, mutton, beef, you decide based on tastes and availability  Around 250g per person
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Red onion
  • A few cloves of garlic
  • 2cm cube fresh ginger
  • 1 Large tomato cut into chunks
  • Oil or ghee
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Plain yoghurt
  • Fresh red chilli


  1. Either finely chop or blend your oniongarlicginger and chilli, then mix thoroughly.  The chilli is very much to your taste – I used about 1/2 red chilli for a moderate kick.
  2. Heat a few tsp oil or ghee in a large frying pan.  Reduce heat to low and add the blended/chopped ingredients.  Cook on low, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes until softened and beginning to brown.
  3. Add the meat and cook, breaking apart with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes or so, until no longer red and some of the moisture has cooked out.
  4. Add the spices, salt, tomato and peas and cook for a further 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
  5. Spoon in a tbsp or two of plain yoghurt and mix thoroughly.  This well help deglaze the lovely flavour at the bottom of the pan and ever so slightly help the mixture remain a bit more cohesive.

I served with warm naan, a decent dollop of yoghurt and some sprinkled crispy onions for a little textural interest.


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