Keema Karai - Minced Meat Curry

Just to let you know, this post was written before I started the paleo diet to help ease my psoriasis. Nowadays I eat a more allergy-friendly diet, but leave these older, non-paleo posts up in case they are useful to readers, as I know not everyone eats the same as I do. Thanks for your understanding. 

I stumbled across the Pakistani dish Keema Karai while I was researching comfort foods around the world. It's a mixture of beef or lamb mince, spices and chopped tomatoes, topped with fried green chilli slices and fresh coriander. You can serve it with rice, or whatever flatbreads you can find - a good garlic and coriander naan works a treat here.

I tried a recipe online and then tweaked the amounts for this version. The version I tried didn't seem to have the depth of flavour that I was looking for - so I added more cumin. It also didn't contain any onions, so I added those too. Because of this, I'm not sure how authentic the recipe is but I can tell you it's easy to cook, really tasty and flavourful and perfect for making a big batch of and letting everyone dig in themselves. I sometimes dish up a bowl of peas on the side just for the children to mix in with the curry themselves. And as for the final step of frying some chillies and sprinkling over the coriander - don't be tempted to leave this bit out - this is where all the aromatics come in at the end. Unless you're serving children, in which case the chillies might be a bit too spicy for them. Just tip the chillies in a bowl so everyone can scatter them over themselves.

Keema Karai
Serves 4-5
  • 1 medium-sized onion, peeled and chopped
  • 400g minced beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons oil
  • 400g fresh tomatoes (not tinned, only fresh ones have the right flavour)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • good pinch of salt
  • generous handful coriander leaves
  • 2-3 green chillies, sliced

  1. Fry the onion in the oil for about 5 minutes, until soft and slightly browned. Throw in the garlic and ginger and fry for a couple more minutes.
  2. Stir in the minced beef and cook until just browned. Stir in the garam masala, paprika and the salt and tip in the chopped tomatoes. Stir everything until mixed well, and leave to cook for about 15 minutes. Add a small splash of water if it looks like it's drying out.
  3. Meanwhile, put your naan bread/flatbreads in the oven to heat up, and heat a small frying pan with a little oil. Fry the chilli slices for a few seconds, until they've just started to turn brown and lift them out with a slotted spoon. Scatter them over the top of the curry, along with the fresh coriander leaves and serve at the table with the warmed flatbreads.
Does this sound like your kind of curry? Which curries do you enjoy the most?