Keema Mattar

This gentle homey dish is a tasty variation on simple hamburger stew. Quick and easy to make it is perfect for a night when you do not feel like going to much effort for dinner but still want something satisfying. Serve it over plain white basmati rice accompanied by Indian pickles for a slightly exotic meal.

This recipe is adapted from Charmaine Solomon’s wonderful The Complete Asian Cookbook (Landsdowne Press, Dee Why West, NSW, Australia 1976.)


1 Tbsp. ghee, oil, or oil with a bit of butter added

1 onion, halved lengthwise and sliced

3 cloves garlic, crushed

½ tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground turmeric

½ tsp. Indian chilli powder or cayenne (NOT Mexican chilli powder), to taste

12 ounces lean ground beef

½ cup plain yoghurt (I use low-fat)

1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. freshly chopped mint leaves, optional


Heat the oil in a skillet with a lid and fry the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to cook until onion is golden brown, about another 5 minutes. Stir in the turmeric and chilli powder, frying for a minute until fragrant. Add the meat and cook, stirring constantly until browned. (If your meat is at all fatty, brown it separately, drain off the fat and add to the onion mixture.) Mix in the yoghurt and peas, cover, and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Uncover, turn the heat up a bit and boil off most of the moisture. Stir in the garam masala and mint. Serve immediately over white rice.


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