I am always on the lookout for things to do with ground beef.  I’ve expounded before on how much we love our meat farm share, how cool farmer Kim is, how wonderful it is to know where your meat comes from.  Because, seriously, it really is.  And overall, I don’t mind not being able to choose specific cuts of meat, for we generally receive a remarkable variety.  We do wind up with a lot of ground beef, though.  Not as much as my parents, who buy a substantial portion of a cow every year, but a lot nonetheless.

So, we have a regular rotation of spaghetti bolognese, chili, beef tacos, and back to spaghetti, like a song on repeat.  At least it’s a pretty good song (I used to dread spaghetti when I was little because I felt like we had it so often. Now I understand why, and I welcome it almost weekly as a satisfying respite from thinking about the age old question of what’s for dinner).

Then there’s the occasional meatball or hamburger thrown in, depending on the season.  Meatloaf has shown up a couple of times too.  I welcome it in and try to give it something like a homemade apple barbecue sauce to make it feel at home.  It makes awfully good leftover sandwiches, however awkward I feel about meat in a loaf form.

But, as I said, I’m always on the lookout for new potential rotational admitees, so I was thrilled when I discovered keema beef curry.  Keema, I believe, means minced, and a keema curry is one that uses finely chopped or ground meat.  A stupendous idea, that!  I felt fairly ridiculous that I hadn’t ever thought of it before.  I sautee, spice, add tomatoes, and use ground beef in chili left and right.  But never in all of this cooking had I tried to call a quick time out and substitute out the chile powder for fresh-legged curry powder.

And into the rotation it shall indeed go.  I go on curry benders throughout the winter.  They have the comforting, gentle warmth of your standard stew, but with more energetic spicing.  Stews are hunker down at home food.  Curries are hunker down at home food masquerading as going out food.  Everybody wins!

This keema curry, while lacking the fork tender hunks of braised meat you find in other beef curries, is rich and deeply flavorful, redolent with ginger, curry, and coconut.  The sweet little peas dotting the curry are a classic companion to beef.  A wholesome Fred and Ginger, dancing their way through stews, shepherd’s pies, pasties, stir fries (if your peas are of the sugar snap variety), and this curry.

Serve over some basmati rice with fresh naan or chapati on the side, add a sprinkling of cilantro, and you have yourself quite a meal.  You would never realize that the original motivation for the curry was looking for something, anything, new to do with ground beef.

I have a suspicion that this curry may be even better with ground lamb…but that wouldn’t use up any beef, now would it?

Keema Beef Curry (serves 4-6) adapted from Food & Wine, January 2012

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
  • 1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen baby peas
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Warm naan or chapati and cooked rice, for serving
  1. In a large pot, or deep skillet, heat the butter over medium high heat, until foaming.  Add the ground beef, sprinke with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking it apart into small pieces, until there is no pink left.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and curry powder.  Stir and cook until the onion has softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Stir in the potato, making sure to coat it with all the flavors in the pot.  Add the broth, coconut milk, and canned tomatoes with their juices.  Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook until the potato is tender and the sauce has thickened, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Use a wooden spoon to crush most of the potatoes into the broth.  Stir in the peas and continue to cook until the peas are just cooked through, around 5 more minutes.  Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve sprinkled with chopped cilantro, accompanied by rice and/or naan or chapati.
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26 Responses to Keema beef curry

  1. Jenny E says:

    Love this! A few months ago my family purchased a large quantity of local grass-fed beef (1/8 of a cow) through my local chapter of Slow Food. Like you, I’m always trying to come up new and tasty ways to utilize all the ground beef. We’ll definitely be trying this soon.

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      That’s so great! Being able to purchase a portion of a grass fed cow and keep it frozen for use is such an awesome thing to do. My parents always did that growing up, except they always got an entire half cow. And now, some of our good friends got themselves a whole cow(!!!). They keep inviting us over for burgers. :) Anyhow, I really hope you enjoy the curry if you try it.

  2. Margo says:

    Keema is an Indian word? Ground (meat) is kiyma in Turkish!
    Looks like a great, easy middle of the week dinner!

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Really? That’s crazy that the word is so similar in the two languages. I wonder if there are more cognates between Turkish and Hindi. But, yes, it’s a super easy, delicious middle of the week dinner. Spot on!

      • Margo says:

        The only other one I know about is chai and cay (c with a tail in Turkish to sounds like ch). And that’s a for a girl with a very limited Turkish and Hindi vocab! There must be more out there!

  3. Vivian says:

    Have you tried ground beef to fill, tomatos, onions, zucchini, eggplant, a la provencal? delicius, very easy to make and includes your ration of veggies of the day. By mere coincidence that was today’s dinner.

  4. This sounds awesome! I’ve never had a dish like this before, but am totally diggin’ on all the flavors.

  5. Rose says:

    If you have lots of ground beef, try making a shepherd’s pie. Cook a savoury mix with your beef, then top with creamy mashed potatoes and cook in a hot oven until the top is crisp. Or top the beef with finely sliced potatoes as you would if making a gratin, brush with melted butter and bake in the oven until the potatoes are crisp. Both are delicious!

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Mmm, yes. Shepherd’s pie is always delicious! I love the idea of using thinly sliced potato instead of mashed to switch it up.

  6. KathyK says:

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious and tasted just like you’d get in any Indian restaurant. I think on step 3 you meant to type ‘stir in potato’. Another great recipe Emily!

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      So glad you liked it! And, you’re so right about the typo. This is a weird habit I have. I write onion all the time for all sorts of other ingredients! I once gave my mom a recipe for preserved lemons, but I accidentally wrote onion in the ingredients list and instructions, and she was like, “wow, you make preserved lemons out of an onion? That’s amazing!” It was both funny and mortifying.

      • KathyK says:

        Wow, where did you get that hand model? Since I’m one person, I brought in some extras for a co-worker and then another co-worker is going to make it tonight!

      • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

        Yay! Sharing with co-workers is the best! Ok, well, maybe not the best, but it’s fun to do. Ah, the hand model, that’s me being goofy and playing with the timer function on my camera! :)

  7. Fanny Porter says:

    For variety in the ground beef department, authentic greek moussaka is wonderful, and green peppers stuffed with ground meat, rice, raisins and a little zinamon the Turkish way. Swedish hackebiffar are very nice: we mix the ground beef with 1 raw egg, bread crumms, some finely chopped onion, some cream and some capers and/or finely chopped pickeled beets, make patties and fry in butter in a cast iron skillet and serve them with boiled potatoes. it is very nice. My Swedish step mother makes kalvrullader which are crazy good. Let me know if you need a recipy.
    Smiles, Fanny

    • Fanny Porter says:

      I looked up “kalvrullader” on line and the translation got pretty humourous. But you can figure it out with the following help “sardeller”are the Italian dryish and strong tasting anchovis that come in a small “sardine can”
      The parsley they suggest is the Italian parsley with flat leaves.
      a “knob” of butter is 2 tables spoons or so (it means a bit of butter)
      Any other questions?

      Fanny

      • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

        Great suggestions! Thanks so much for sharing! I’m looking at some recipes for kalvrullader now (I’m ok at reading Swedish since it’s similar to Norwegian), and they look delicious!

  8. Cinnamin says:

    Looks great! Nice touch with the coconut milk. I have always thought of keema as desi chilli! It’s a nice meal-in-a-bowl.

  9. [...] shaped pasta, because I love its texture.  I threw in some peas that I had leftover from making curry, and the peas nestled into the pasta, creating the effect of a bowlful of oysters each hiding a [...]

  10. Hannah says:

    I love your description of a curry! We have ground beef in the freezer and this is on the menu for the weekend. We are buried in snow, so it’ll be the perfect hunker-down-at-home meal.

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Thanks Hannah! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll get some snow this weekend so we can do a little hunkering down here, too!

  11. [...] Keema beef curry (fiveandspice.wordpress.com) [...]

  12. Ade Bonner says:

    An excellent recipe, thank you…. It’s not often I do a shop looking out for specific ingredients to prepare, but I did yesterday to prepare my second batch. This time I’m going to add a diced small apple and a handful of sultanas….should entice the aged father to come for dinner!! :)

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