Chicken Keema or Chicken Qeema is quick and convenient, requiring less fussing than it's beef counterpart, and with my tips below you can make a complex tasting one in under 30 minutes!
Chicken Keema hasn't always been a natural favourite for me. I grew up with good ol' beef Aloo Qeema and all the chicken versions I had eaten seemed underwhelming. Necessity is the mother of invention as and with family members who could not eat beef for health reasons I did some working - and reworking - followed by some tweaking to come up with this version that works with the natural flavours of chicken to create a Chicken Keema Recipe that is actually delicious!
If you are looking for more Pakistani Chicken Recipes then I've got you covered! Is it bad if I say this Chicken Pulao and this Pakistani Chicken Ginger have a special place in my heart?
Table of Contents
- The Flavours of this Chicken Keema
- Dried vs Fresh Methi (Fenugreek)
- A Little Step by Step
- 4 Tips for the BEST Chicken Keema
- Frequently Asked Chicken Keema Recipe Questions
- What do I serve with Chicken Keema?
The Flavours of this Chicken Keema
Chicken itself has a mild savoury quality so in this recipe I have built on that with warming whole spices, that depth from light bronze edged onions, the obligatory ginger and garlic and the desi trifecta of namak-laal mirch- haldi. The combination of these spices in this Chicken Keema Recipe create a base that is familiar and delicious.
Now you can add tomatoes and potatoes here if you so wish, but I decided to mix it up and add a highly under rated herb: kasuri methi for another layer of flavour.
Flour & Spice friends know that I also LOVE what it does for a Karahi Chicken.
Some tenderizing savory yoghurt, sweet peas, the most fabulous garam masala, and the brightness from cilantro and chilies make this dish one that sells me on chicken keema.
Dried vs Fresh Methi (Fenugreek)
You will see that I use Kasuri Methi not fresh in this Pakistani Chicken Keema recipe. That is largely because I always have kasuri methi and partially because I find that fresh methi will occasionally have a bitter after taste. You are welcome to use either. If you are using fresh methi then I'd recommend around ½ cup or so. Adding spinach to this would also be yummy.
A Little Step by Step
Heat oil in your pan until it's hot, not smoking - your whole spices will sizzle quickly. Add the onions and saute until the edges start to change colour.
Add your ginger and garlic, saute for 30 seconds and then add your spices and saute. The masala will take on a lovely rich hue.
Add your chicken mince and break it up aggressively with a wooden spoon as you stir (metal spoons will damage your cookware!). Continue cooking on medium high heat stirring frequently till it's evenly, richly, browned.
Now add your yoghurt, this will make naturally dry chicken keema more moist (and flavorful!) Mix well and then add your methi and peas and cover and cook on low for 5-7 minutes.
Add your garam masala, adjust seasoning to suit tastes and garnish with fresh cilantro and green chilies. Enjoy!
4 Tips for the BEST Chicken Keema
1.) Brown your chicken well - this is a tip I learnt from my MIL. You need to saute your chicken mince not until it changes colour, but until it darkens considerably.
2.) Watch the heat when you add your spices - if the oil is smoking hot your spices will burn!
3.) Bring your yoghurt to room temperature - whisk it well and microwave for small increments (20 seconds) if you need to.
4.) Add a green chili with the onions. This is a flavour enhancing trick I use in my Beef Biryani and Bhindi Masala - it adds a lovely aroma to the keema too!
Frequently Asked Chicken Keema Recipe Questions
1.) Is it Qeema or Keema?
Us Pakistanis believe in the hard Q, but I know that that isn't universal. Call it what you wish, tastes the same 😉
2.) What's the right kind of chicken to use?
I much prefer using ground chicken breast for this recipe, because I am naturally suspicious and trust no one but myself to trim the fat off chicken thighs before grinding the chicken. Please use what you wish.
3.) Must I use peas?
Absolutely not, skip them, sub them for green peppers, tweak away. I love seeing people make recipes their own.
4.) Can I add tomatoes?
But of course. I really dig this karahi style chicken keema, but this is a more traditional keema and you can throw two diced tomatoes in here with the yoghurt.
5.) Can I skip the methi?
I want to say of course, but it really does add the best best flavour!
What do I serve with Chicken Keema?
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Chicken Keema - Methi & Matar
- 1 lb chicken qeema (ground chicken)
- 1 onion, diced
- ½ tsp cumin seeds (optional)
- 2-3 whole cloves (optional)
- 6 whole black peppers (optional)
- 1 tbsp ginger
- ½ tbsp garlic
- ¾-1 tsp salt
- ¾-1 tsp red chilli powder
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp coriander powder
- ¾ tsp garam masala
- ½ cup peas
- ¼ cup yogurt, whipped and at room temp
- 2-3 tbsp kasuri methi (can use a handful of fresh chopped)
- chopped green chillies to taste
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Heat a wide bottomed pan and add a lug of cooking oil.
- When it shimmers (i.e. is hot) add your cumin seeds, cloves, and black pepper and once they're sizzling then add your diced onions.
- Saute on medium high heat until the edges change colour.
- Then add the ginger and garlic pastes, saute for 30 seconds to get the rawness out.
- Now in go the salt, red chilli powder, turmeric, and coriander powder for a quick whirl. If your oil has gotten too hot i.e. your ginger garlic started to brown within the 30 seconds then add a splash of water to avoid burning your spices.
- Add the ground chicken and saute energetically on medium high heat until the chicken is browned - this is key for flavour development!
- Now add your yoghurt and mix well.
- Stir in the kasuri methi and peas and cover and cook on low for 5-7 minutes.
- Uncover, you can adjust consistency to personal preference with hot water and then add your garam masala, stir well, and adjust seasoning.
- Top with green chilies and chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lemon (optional)
I made this last night and it was delicious! Can't wait to enjoy the leftovers
Such a compliment when someone says that! Thank You!
Made this again last night with ground lamb and still perfect!
Just made this today and absolutely loved it!
Thank you Nida!!! Glad to hear it!