Dam ka keema, is a spicy, silky smooth ground beef Main course, which we usually pair with chapatis and parathas in Pakistan. It is a pet favorite on wedding events, parties and on Eids. Being a total sucker for desi food, naturally, over the years, I’ve had several different versions of this very popular Pakistani dish. And honestly I love most of the versions that I have tried so far. But I am posting this version first because of 2 very basic reasons:
- This fried masala version is the easiest of the lot
- This is also fool proof so even if you are a beginner, you are gonna nail this recipe!
It is paired with flatbreads like chapati and roti and fried breads like parathas. Some of us love pairing this with a vegetarian side kick like the Moong Masoor Dal
As much as I LOVEEEE this recipe and want to take credit for it, my inner voice is telling me to tell you my sources. This version of dam ka keema is actually one of my Aunt’s recipes (Khala). And god bless I have 7 of them! So like any other cooking maniac, I chase them down for recipes when they feed me with their deliciousness.
WALKING YOU THROUGH THE IDEA OF THIS DISH
There are 100 different ways and masalas to make Dam ka keema. Other versions make use of roasting the masalas, or use raw masalas or just go with a packet masala as well. Plus the ingredients also differ with each recipe, and so does the color of the resulting dish.
This particular recipe makes use of frying the masala and grinding them for marination.
I personally love Dam ka Keema with parathas and green chutney, sliced onions and aloo ki tarkari (potato curry) as I am sure do all Pakistanis around me. (*wipes of drool from chin*). Let me walk you through the steps a little bit so you know what to expect while making this delicious Pakistani favorite food.
EASY INGREDIENTS = EASY STEPS
We start off with frying our masalas (like I’ve babbled about it at the top). So the onions are sliced into half and sliced fine like we do in Biryanis. And then you fry the onions, red chilies and garlic altogether in a generous amount of oil.
PRO-TIP: Sometimes, adding all the masalas together may cause the red chilies to burn. To avoid this, add the onions first and let them turn transparent. Then add the garlic and red chilies. This way all your ingredients will fry evenly.
And that’s that! You grind the fried masala and add it to your ground beef. I usually grind the yogurt along with the fry ingredients, but just to show you all the elements of the dish, I added a little yogurt on top of the ground beef. And you can also see raw papaya paste and cumin seed powder as well.
Marinate the heck out of the beef.
So your ground beef is all dressed up and ready to party! It usually requires 8 to 12 hours of marination. But personally, I feel the longer the better for this particular dish. I leave it for almost a day and you can even leave it for 2 days and then cook it. This is why I love Dam ka Keema for dinner parties so much! All the prep is done before hand and I just have to leave in on the stove the day of the dinner.
PRO-TIP: Keep the use of salt to a basic minimum because the beef is going to clump together after it shrinks during cooking. You can always season it later if you feel the salt is less.
SLOW COOKING YOUR BEEF
And now let the stove take over! We are just gonna transfer our beef to the cooking pot and let it cook at low flame. Ideally, keep something below the pot for insulation, like a griddle (tawa) or an insulating disk if you have any. This is to prevent the meat from sticking to the pot at the bottom.
Your beef will release lots of water so make sure you use a pot that only fills up to 3/4th of its capacity or less with the meat. Once the water dries up, your beef is going to start binding together and when you can see a hint of oil at the base of your pot, you know your beef is done.
I personally loveeeeee to smoke my Dam ka Keema at the end. So when the dish is ready, I leave it at low flame for another 5 to 10 minutes and add a piece of charcoal to smoke it out. You can even smoke your dish when you marinate it. Its totally your call.
For cooks and newbies who find baking easier, you can even bake this dish instead of cooking it in a pot. More instructions on the recipe card!
THE LEFT OVER OIL
Once your done with the frying, you are going to have left over oil in the pot. You will only add 1/4th cup of this oil in your marination. So what should you do with the remaining oil? Honestly, this oil is So packed with flavor that I usually use it for making omelettes and chicken to add a little extra punch of flavour to them.. If you are making something which has a simple marination or is bland generally, use this oil for frying them or grilling them to give it that extra heat and flavour. If not, you can also just simply use for regular cooking too.
CRIME AGAINST DAM KA KEEMA
Alright, so I know a lot of Dam ka Keema recipes available on the internet have basin (gram flour or chickpea flour) as an ingredient as well but PLEASE! I Mean I beg you please don’t add gram flour to your Dam ka Keemas. Restaurants use gram flour in their recipes because that way their Keema doesn’t reduce in quantity a lot and they get a bang for their buck. It’s similar to adding cotton to your Niharis. (As in ITS A CRIME!) It totally ruins the actual taste of the dish. Its more like a hack for Dam ka keema but this hack is a total fail! Don’t go for it and stick to the original taste of the beef. Or if you are curious you can go ahead and try with and without the gram flour and you’ll know what I mean.
DAM KA KEEMA RECIPE (FRY MASALA EDITION)
Dum ka Keema (Fried Masala)
- 1 kg ground beef or keema
- 6 medium onions sliced in biryani cut
- 4 whole garlic
- 50 pieces or 3/4th cup of round red chilies saabit lal mirch
- 4 tbsp raw papaya paste kaccha papeeta paste
- 2 cups yogurt
- 1 - 2 cup oil for frying
- 2 tsp roasted and grind cumin seeds bhuna wa zeera
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- In a large sauce pan or pateeli, pour in a generous amount of oil and fry the onions.
- When the onions turn transparent, add red chilies and garlic cloves and fry all of them until they turn golden brown.
- Remove the onions, garlic and chilies from the oil and let them cool down
- In a grinder or a blender, blend the fried ingredients along with yogurt and raw papaya paste.
- Add the mixture to the ground beef.
- Add roasted cumin seeds, salts, and 1/4th cup of the oil used in frying the masala.
- Once the meat has been marinated, keep it overnight in the fridge.
- Add the meat in a pot and allow to cook at medium flame. Ideally keep an insulation pan or a griddle below the pot. This is called as "dum dena" or cooking with insulation.
- Your meat will take somewhere around 40 to 60 minutes to release water and cook entirely.
- Once you see the water drying up and your keema (meat) binding together, add a piece of charcoal to your keema to give it the smoky flavor it needs.
- After 5 to 10 minutes of smoking the keema, turn off the flame
- Serve with lemons and onions garnish. It goes well with rotis, parathas and potato curry on the side
ALTERNATIVE COOKING METHODYou can also bake this dish Take out the marinated meat and smoke it with coal before hand. Dish out the meat in an oven proof dish (making sure you fill only half the depth of the dish) Bake at 180°c for about 40 mins and keep checking. Once you see a dark brown layer forming on the top of the dish, and water dried up, you can take it out and serve the dish as it is.
SMOKING THE DISHPlace a piece of bread or aluminum foil on your bread in your meat. Take a piece of charcoal and put it directly on top of a flame for 3 minutes or until it turns glowing red. Add the charcoal on the foil or bread and drizzle 1 tbsp of oil on the coal. It will start releasing smoke immediately. Quickly cover the meat and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. And you have officially smoked your dish!
Hope you try this out and if you love it, say a lil prayer for me and my Khala :D. If there is anything that wasn’t clear or if you have any questions regarding this recipe, feel free to comment below and let me know how can I be of help!
OH and I found a few other dam ka keema recipes that DON’T USE gram flour so you might want to give them a try sometime too. Check it out: