Keema Matar

This Pakistani and Indian-type Keema matar (Ground beef and peas curry) is an easy, one-pot keema recipe that’s deeply flavorful and not using whole spices.



  • 3 tbsp neutral oil, such as grape seed or avocado
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1- inch piece ginger, crushed
  • 1 lb ground beef or chicken
  • 1 medium (or 2 small) tomato, finely chopped
  • 1-2 green chili peppers (such as a small Serrano or Thai chili), chopped
  • 1 tbsp plain whole-milk yogurt
  • ¾ tsp mild red chili powder, or to taste
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/8 tsp kosher salt, divided, or to taste

After cooking

  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 small green chili, chopped – optional
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander (or coriander powder)
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon or lime juice, optional


  • Heat a medium-sized pan over high heat. Once hot, add the oil, cumin seeds, and onions and sauté until the onions are slightly brown, about 8 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and ginger, and stir for a minute. Add the ground beef and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until it’s no longer pink and most of the moisture dries up. Use a wooden spatula to break up the meat into small pieces to ensure no lumps.
  • Add the tomato, green chili pepper, yogurt, red chili powder, turmeric, and 1 tsp of the salt and continue to cook for 2 minutes, until the tomatoes start to break down. You’ll notice the liquid in the mixture is beginning come to a boil.
  • Lower the heat to medium, cover and allow it to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring once in between. If you feel that there is not enough moisture and the meat is sticking to the bottom of the pan, add ¼ cup water.
  • Uncover, and stir in the peas, more green chili pepper (if using), the remaining 1/8 tsp salt, and 1/2 cup water. Cover again and allow the mixture to cook for about 3 minutes, or until the peas are cooked through.
  • Add the remaining spices and cilantro listed under ‘after cooking’ and sauté for another minute or two. Taste and adjust salt and spice. Lower the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and allow the flavors to settle for 5 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, add lemon or lime juice, if desired, and serve hot with any kind of bread or rice.


  • If using fresh peas instead of frozen, add them at Step 4, before covering to cook the meat.
  • You may also add potatoes to this recipe (this is quite common, actually). If using potatoes, add them in with the tomatoes, green chili, and yogurt.

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