This Pakistani khara masala beef keema is a family recipe that we absolutely love for brunch and breakfast. “Khara masala” means “whole spices” and “keema” means “mince“. So, this recipe uses only whole spices or coarsely ground spices for seasoning. There are no powdered spices used in this recipe.
Bonus: Ready within 30 mins!
This type of seasoning gives a very subtle flavor to the keema. It also has yogurt and steamed onions and tomatoes in there. We eat this for breakfast/dinner with paratha and yogurt. Also goes really with a dollop of labneh and khubs. Also, super versatile in its entirety: you can use the left over keema to make a rather kickass puff pastry filling or a samosa filling. My feelings for this is very similar to how I feel about Dam ka keema….GIVE ME MORE!
How to make Khara masala beef keema
Here’s an overall view of all the spices and condiments you will need to pull this recipe off. If some of the elements are missing, we can still work with it. I’ve given a list of substitute at the end of the post.
The 3 ground spices
This recipe needs 3 spices that are grounded (koota hua). This includes cumin, coriander seeds and black peppercorns. Use a grinder to grind cumin seeds and coriander seeds together coarsely. Grind black peppercorns separately or use a pepper grinder.
Cooking the keema (ground beef)
Don’t be overwhelmed with the extra number of pictures I took for you guys. It still takes only 30 mins 😛
For this recipe I’ve used chopped garlic instead of paste because that brown garlic bits complement the whole dish really well. I saute the whole spices and garlic for a bit in ghee and then toss in my meat. I prefer ghee for this recipe for the aroma it holds, but its perfectly fine to use oil instead.
Always let the meat cook a little bit first before adding spices. I alwayssss go on about it but trust me this is important! Evaporating all the liquid from the meat is important to get rid of smells from the meat.
After that, add in those beautifullll looking trio of white, red and green. The onions and tomatoes in this recipe aren’t going to be cooked all the way through like you do in a curry base. Instead, they are only going to be steamed for a bit, so that they are soft but still visible, and retain their individual flavors. Which is why we add it later and not at the beginning.
The yogurt goes in, along with the tomato, onion and coriander.
TIP: Make sure your yogurt is at room temperature and beaten properly to avoid curdling.
Mix everything together and cover the pot with a lid. Let all the water from the veggies and yogurt release and cook the meat.
It takes roughly about 15 mins for all the liquid to evaporate. When all the liquid from the keema evaporates, you will see oil/ghee separating on the side. This is when you cover the pot once again and let it simmer at really low flame for 10 mins. Called “dum pe pakana” in Urdu
Look at those gorgeous array of colors in that pot! For this recipe, the garnish comprises of ginger slivers, more coriander and lemon/lime juice. That added freshness from these ingredients make this recipe a hit almost instantly!
Serve it with your choice of flat bread, and yogurt on the side.
Is it freezer friendly?
ABSOLUTELY! Just hold the garnish, let the keema cool down and drop it in a bag to freeze. It can also last for upto 5 days in the fridge.
Alternates, Fixes and Remixes
- Parsley can be used instead of coriander/cilantro leaves.
- You can also use canned tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes in emergency
- If you don’t have all the whole spices, you can use 1 tsp of garam masala powder instead.
- You can use any whole red chilies available. long or round. You can also use 2 tsp of red chili flakes instead if you can’t find whole red chilies.
- The recipe is overall mild and not spicy (to us). But if you still feel it’s a little spicy, you can go ahead and add a little more yogurt to balance it out.
- Swap grounded beef for any other that you like. Use chicken, or mutton or lamb.
- Use fresh fenugreek leaves or spinach leaves instead of coriander leaves.
- Add star anise and nutmeg to the whole spices.