Delicately Spiced Ground Beef

The first time I ever had Keema (that wonderful Indian-spiced ground beef dish) was during one of my very first Suhoor (pre-dawn) meals with family friends. I was invited to spend the weekend with them in Chicago during Ramadan. I had no idea whatsoever that people actually ate savory foods for a meal so early in the morning.

The ladies of the family {who are originally from Pakistan} served it to me on a plate with homemade carrot halwa and freshly homemade chappati bread. I was on cloud nine- it was exactly what my body needed and liked just before a fasting day. I never got the recipe for it, but have re-created by own based on the flavors I love and what tastes familiar from the first time I was able to experience it. 

Ingredients for Keema

I like using the above ingredients because they really pack a punch- and no Indo-Pakistani savory dish would be done right if there wasn’t the ginger-garlic paste or combo involved first…

The go-to beef in this recipe is Midamar Halal’s Organic Ground Beef. It’s organic and humanely raised- AND they ship anywhere around the U.S. How convenient is that?  It’s super delicious, too…

Turmeric Powder Up Close

A closer look at the spices- turmeric powder doesn’t really add too much flavor (though I think it has a distinct smell), but it definitely colors the food a bit. Just don’t get it on your clothes or white counter- it will stain- and your counter is much easier to clean than your crispy white shirt or apron.

Indian Spices for Keema

Cayenne, paprika, mild curry, ground cumin– this spice combo is what really enamors me and I use it in a lot of other meat dishes

Need to Break up the Meat

To a sauté pan where the onions and jalapeño have already heated up, add the ground meat.

spices on keema cooking

And add the ground spices on top

Mix in the Spices

Mix and combine

Mix in the spices too

Mix and combine even more

drain off any excess oil

Then leave it alone for a bit to cook. Drain off any excess oil.

Keema Up Close

Plate it nice and warm, with fresh bread- chapati, pita, whatever you have and like

Keema Cover Photo

It just tastes so good eaten with bread- as the scoop…


Keema (Indian-Spiced Ground Beef)

Serves 4-6


2-4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup onion, diced

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, sliced and diced

3 garlic cloves

2 jalapeños

1 and 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 tablespoon ground turmeric

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


In a large sauté pan, heat the oil and then add the onion, ginger, garlic (if using a garlic-ginger paste add it here) and jalapeños . Cook until translucent.

Add the beef then top with all of the ground spices.

Mix to combine all of the spices into the meat.

Let the meat cook, covered, over medium heat for about 25 minutes.

Remove the cover and drain off excess fat and oil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for an additional ten minutes. Keep an eye on the dish to make sure it doesn’t dry out in any way.



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  1. I’ve made keema myself, although I usually cheat by using a premade packet of spices called Keema 😛

    Your version looks delicious! I will definitely be making this (probably for an iftar though) before Ramadan ends.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. you can also add some diced potatoes to this as well, and some fresh chopped cilantro at the end tastes very good too

  3. I love the ingredients you’ve used but I do not prefer the use of paprika in Indian cuisine. Do you use paprika for the taste, or because it adds color sans hotness? But I see paprika only on your ingredients picture not on the list. I love the way you have posted all the ingredients in that picture.

  4. I travel more than an hour (100 miles) to fetch halal meat. Thanks for letting us know Midamar can be bought online. I can use that option sometime. Do they also sell their products in retail stores?

  5. I just saw a store locator option on their page and the nearest is 100 miles again 🙂 but anyways I would like to try their ground lamb sometime. JazakAllah Kheir for the info.

  6. @Fayana- I have seen many of their products in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean markets, particularly their whole Turkeys, frozen patties and deli meats.

  7. @Fayana- paprika is one of my favorite ‘spices’. If you use smoked paprika, it’s not added much spice but a nice smoky flavor. It adds a bit of color, too.

  8. as salaam o alaikum..
    im from pakistan.. n to make kheema/mince .. u need first to golden/lightbrown the onions in oil.. to onions..add ginger/garlic paste… saute a bit… add tomatoes… let look till water evaporates(also tomato paste can b used) .. add a few black pepper orns and

  9. I learnt making keema from my mom. She usually use to make it in suhoor. And the best time was when she use make it early in morning of eid day as break fast. She adds potatoes, cilantro and a little bit of garam masala which gives it a spicy taste. Thanks to my mom where i learned to cook delicious food.

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