Pakistani Karahi Keema – Minced Meat and Tomato Curry

This is one of my husband’s favourite dishes.

Well, to be more specific, this is his favourite Pakistani recipe of mine.

And to be quite fair, I do agree with him. If I had to make a list of my favourite Pakistani foods, Karahi Keema made with mutton or lamb meat would be in my top 5.

Keema karahi recipe

Literally, a Karahi is a type of pan used to cook food in around the South-East of Asia. It is a shallow circular pan, like a wok, and typically is of a heavy base, often steel or cast iron.

Karahi also refers to a specific kind of curry made in the Karahi-pan in the South-East.

Such curries are tomato-based and have strong flavours of ginger, garlic and green chilli.The tomato and ginger is a defining aspect of Karahi recipes – Without lots of tomato and ginger, you quite simply are not really enjoying the true flavour of a Karahi!

Before marriage, I used to see my father cook a lot in his Karahi. My father is a true expert in Karahis and I endearingly call him ‘the Karahi Master’ whenever I see him cooking yet another Karahi for the guests he loves to cook for. His Karahi dishes were usually made with lamb or chicken – keema is a spin I have made and one which has become a definite keeper for us!

Keema Karahi garnished with coriander, green chilli and ginger

This is a recipe I’ve tested and tweaked over the months. And it’s been a total hit! I find it’s one I always come back to again and again, particularly for dawats and dinner parties, just because it comes together so well and tastes so incredibly rich!

The one thing I feel makes a world of a difference is the cut of mince used. I always use chunkier minced meat whenever I cook this recipe. When going to the butchers, instead of asking for machine-made minced meat, ask for hand-cut, or ‘hath ka keema’ if your butchers are Pakistani. I have tried this recipe with both types of mince and I find the hath ka keema far more superior. This cut yields more texture and suits this dish much more than machine-mince. This is totally optional but if hath ka keema is available to you I definitely recommend it.

Cutting tomatoes for keema karahi

Another thing worth mentioning about Karahi dishes is that often, they use a lot of oil. In this particular recipe, I have used less because this is a recipe on regular rotation in my house and I don’t want this to be an extremely fatty meal. However if I were to be serving this to guests, I could easily double the amount of oil. Oil helps the meat brown better and gives a more desi look to the end dish. It’s your call – add more oil or stick to the amount I’ve used depending on how you feel.

Keema Karahi garnished with coriander, green chilli and ginger

One final note regarding the ginger in this recipe. Ginger is only  used as garnish in this recipe – I have been told by someone whose cooking experience I trust that traditionally ginger is only to be used as garnish and not in the actual karahi dish. Why? I didn’t actually find out from him, but I think it is so the ginger remains a strong, pronounced and a visible part of the dish. Raw garlic definitely has a different taste to ginger which has been cooked into the dish in the early stages. As with all recipes, you are completely free to add grated or minced ginger in the earlier stages of the cooking!

 

Enjoy, with love x

 

Also – try my Chicken Karahi Keema too! Get the recipe here

Pakistani Karahi Keema
Print Recipe
This is a beautiful and flavoursome curry that is perfect to serve guests or or as a special treat for yourself and your family. For optimal results, use chunky hand-made mince as opposed to machine-made mince. For this particular recipe, I used lamb. Chicken will cook much quicker than lamb, beef or goat mince. Adjust cooking times accordingly. Serve with roti or naan.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Pakistani Karahi Keema
Print Recipe
This is a beautiful and flavoursome curry that is perfect to serve guests or or as a special treat for yourself and your family. For optimal results, use chunky hand-made mince as opposed to machine-made mince. For this particular recipe, I used lamb. Chicken will cook much quicker than lamb, beef or goat mince. Adjust cooking times accordingly. Serve with roti or naan.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 320 grams minced meat lamb, chicken, goat, beef etc
  • 4.5 (190g) tomtoes chopped finely
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 0.5 tsp garam masala
  • coriander for garnish, optional
  • green chilli for garnish, optional
  • julienned ginger for garnish, optional
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Begin by heating the oil in your pan or pot. Once heated, add the onions, garlic and ginger and saute till brown
  2. Add the minced meat and brown.
  3. Once sufficiently browned, add all the spices and 1 cup of water for lamb, beef or goat and 1/2 cup for chicken. Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer.
  4. Simmer till the meat is 3/4 of the way cooked. This will vary for the kind of meat you have but I find the times to be around 25 minutes for lamb and mutton, 35 minutes for beef and 10 minutes for chicken. Once this stage is reached, add in the tomatoes.
  5. Continue to simmer on medium-high until the water begins to dry out and the oil starts to separate from the curry. You will need to stay near the stove constantly at this point to ensure the water dries without allowing the curry to burn.
  6. Once the water has mostly evaporated and the consistency is of your liking, turn off the heat.
  7. Garnish with julienned ginger, green chilli and chopped coriander (optional)
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14 thoughts on “Pakistani Karahi Keema – Minced Meat and Tomato Curry

  1. Fatima, your a godsend, your recipes are fantastic. Keep it up. By the way can you post karai chicken recipe?

  2. Hey Fatima, I’ve been using your recipes for well over one year now (I recently got married) and literally you are my life saver!!! I thought it was about time I let you know lol!

    Thank you for all your amazing recipes X

  3. I’m a pretty rookie with cooking so please bear with me. I tried exactly what you wrote but I wasn’t sure when to add tomatoes and I didn’t have ginger (it was optional) as it was not in the ingredient list—it was only mentioned to use as for garnishing it.

  4. Love this recipe! It was pretty straight-forward and turned out very, very well. I went for the freshest ingredients I could get, and I’m sure it made a big difference. For others of you in the US (I’m in DC), just go with slightly under a pound of meat for this recipe.

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