Beef/ Pakistani Food

Aaloo Keema – A Pakistani Recipe with Tips for a great Keema!

Aaloo Qeema

Jump to the printable Aaloo Keema Recipe

Whenever I am about to go back to Karachi my mother always asks me what I want to eat when I get home. The answer always is “qeema paratha” which usually prompts my mother to say “you’re your fathers’ daughter; he also wants qeema all the time”.

It is true. I regularly crave a ghar ka keema. I don’t mean bihari style keema, or galawat ka keema or any of those other varieties that are commonly found in restaurants: I mean the kind of keema that mama’s make. To say that it has been my nemesis thus far may sound dramatic, but it is true. A Pakistani girl’s gotta have Aaloo Keema you know. 

Aaloo Qeema

Aaloo Keema Woes

Ground beef here doesn’t taste the same and it certainly doesn’t smell the same. In fact some times it smells pretty darn icky. It has taken considerable trial and error and even the occasional chucking of the final product to get me to a place where I am happy with the end result. I don’t even keep the achar (pickle) bottle handy any more – God knows a few spoonfuls of it has rescued many bad keemas!

Aaloo Qeema

Tips for Awesome Pakistani Aaloo Keema:

  1. Qeema can smell a little funky sometimes. To mitigate this unwrap the keema and leave it out on a plate to air out
  2. Use a wok or a nice big pan for your keema (see why right below!)
  3. Most of the flavour of keema comes from the “bhunn” which is the repeated sauteing of the meat, it is what browns the ground beef and what helps it absorb all the spices. Totally worth it to spend a few minutes doing this! 
  4. Don’t skimp on the oil while cooking. Instead once your keema is done tilt your bowl, press with a slotted spoon and drain some out. Or just eat it – I am not judgy. 
  5. Fresh ginger is king. Grate it, not mince if you please, but it beats the jarred stuff any day!
  6. Please put the cilantro and chillies at the end. They, and that squeeze of lemon, are an absolute must for a delicious well rounded keema!

Happy Cooking 🙂 Detailed recipe right below and a printer friendly version is at the bottom! 

Aaloo Keema
Serves 4

1 lb lean ground beef
1/4 – 1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 small diced onion
1 inch piece cinnamon
2-4 whole cloves
6-8 whole black peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 tomatoes
2 tbsp ginger
8 cloves garlic (2 spoons ground)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chilli powder (add more for a spicier qeema)
3/4 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 large potato or 2 small – approximately 1 cup
1 tsp of garam masala (optional)

3-4 chillies – sliced, halved, or left whole
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
a few squeezes of lemon juice

IMG_8576

Open up your ground beef and let it air out in a bowl for 10-15 minutes, this helps manage the smell. Chop your onions into a small dice, finely mince your ginger (see below) and garlic, slice the potatoes into 1 cm cubes or whatever strikes your fancy, and roughly chop the tomatoes.

IMG_8578

This dish is best made in a wok so if you have one pull it out otherwise use a pan that’s 8-10 inches wide so you can brown the meat and build flavor. Heat your oil in the pan on medium-high heat and add the cloves, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and cumin seeds. When the seeds sputter and darken then add your chopped onions. Once the onions become soft and translucent add your minced ginger and garlic to the pan and saute for two minutes. Now go in with your spices, cook for another minute and add in your ground beef.

So here’s the thing – a good keema is well cooked and the stir frying is what makes the difference between a keema with depth and one that is so-so. So get your stirring arm ready and first cook the meat so that the excess water dries up, then saute till brown. Take a taste if you like, adjust salt.

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Now add your tomatoes and potatoes and crank up the heat to get the tomatoes to release some of their water. Add a splash of water and when it gets nice and bubbly turn the heat down and let simmer covered for 15 minutes till your potatos are almost done. Now turn the heat up and saute to make sure the keema has absorbed that lovely tomato flavor . Cook till the keema is as dry as you like it to be, add garam masala, cook for a few minutes and then top with cilantro, chillies and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve with chapati or naan and a side of raita (spiced yogurt).


Made my Pakistani Aaloo Keema!? Then do rate the recipe and share your thoughts! Tag me in your recreation on instagram too @flourandspiceblog

5 from 2 votes
Aaloo Qeema
Pakistani Aaloo Keema
Prep Time
8 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
38 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Pakistani
Keyword: Aaloo Keema, Aaloo Qeema, Keema, Pakistani, Beef
Author: Sarah - Flour & Spice
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Pakistani Aaloo Qeema

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    MyNinjaNaan
    at

    Nothing beats mom’s cooking, and aloo keema is the epitome of comfort food. I too often miss my mom’s aloo keema. She would often keep it a little saucy and serve it alongside spaghetti or mushy khichri 🙂

  • Reply
    spiceinthecity
    at

    Yum one of my favorite comfort foods thing I use lamb instead of beef ?

  • Reply
    salmadinani
    at

    My mom used to make this for us growing up and I always loved it! She actually used to put boiled eggs in it too. I may have to try your recipe 🙂

    • Reply
      sarahjmir
      at

      Oh wow what a cool twist! i love eggs and am totally going to try that! thanks for popping by 🙂

  • Reply
    Sadia Mohamed
    at

    Oh yummmy! Looks really good! 🙂

  • Reply
    Cooking Recipes
    at

    delicious!

  • Reply
    Sarah Zafar
    at

    Hi, I made this and it tasted beautiful, thank you. My husband had it with achar and loved it. I want to make this recipe again but with 2lb of keema. Do I double everything? Please advise. Thank you

    • Reply
      sarahjmir
      at

      Hello my fellow Sarah! Lovely to hear that it turned out well! Your achar loving husband sounds a lot like mine 😉 You can double things easily, just watch the salt and maybe hold back one tomato unless you like a tomato-y qeema. Hope you enjoy it as much or more the second time around 🙂

  • Reply
    Sarah Zafar
    at

    Fellow Sarah! It turned out amazing with 2lb minced meat. I doubled everything asides – cloves (7), black peppercorn (16), 3 medium potatoes and kept garam masala to 1tsp. I used 4 tomatoes. Your recipe is so good that we’re not eating it tonight but taking it to father inlaw’s tomorrow as husband wants him to try this ‘particular’ dish. Lol I offered to make it 2mor but no it has to be ‘this’ one. Thank you 🙂

    • Reply
      Sarah Zafar
      at

      Sorry 14 pepercorn*

      • Reply
        sarahjmir
        at

        awesome awesome!!! just remember to heat it in a pateeli vs the microwave! am thrilled to bits 🙂

  • Reply
    Beenish
    at

    I’ve always made/came across qeema recipes where its bhunno-fyed with lots of water until completely cooked. I was intrigued when i saw this recipe used only a ‘splash’ of water and cooked in its own/tomatoes juice. Hence, I tried it today and oh my.. I was blown away! There was so much taste to it. Super fantastic!

    • Reply
      sarahjmir@gmail.com
      at

      Thanks Beenish! Am absolutely thrilled to hear that! I do love the flavor you get from browning and am happy you do too – thanks for taking the time to let me know!

    • Reply
      Sana
      at

      Thanks for all the tips especially the bhooning… It took my qeema to another level! I made this with chicken qeema and it’s delicious 🙂

      • Reply
        sarahjmir@gmail.com
        at

        am SO glad to hear that!!! Yay for good qeema!

  • Reply
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