This Pakistani aloo keema recipe makes authentic homestyle keema that is finger-licking good! Same ingredients two methods- whether gravy or dry version-Regular or Instant pot recipe. I've covered all!
Aloo Keema is onion-tomato-based ground meat curry in which potatoes are added towards the end. It is a very popular Pakistani and North Indian curry that is served with naan or plain basmati rice.
A detailed illustration of Pakistan's most loved ground beef and potato curry AKA Aloo Keema recipe. In this post, I discussed two methods of making keema aloo with the same ingredients that I learned from my Mother-in-law.
Both methods are famous. I can bet if your mom or granny is desi she must be using both methods to her convenience.
If you are new to this term, Aloo means potato in Urdu and keema is mincemeat or ground meat. It is super simple to make like any other everyday cooking recipe.
This recipe is particularly easy, (Gravy method 1) and yields great-tasting Pakistani aloo keema, my favorite.
The best method for you!
Gravy version: Use the first method for the gravy version of Pakistani aloo keema in which I use onion and tomato in chunks. They dissolve slow cooking or pressure cooking. This first method makes a delicious smooth gravy. But you need to sear (bhunnofy) very well before adding potatoes.
Dry Version: For the dry version of aloo keema, we start with fried onion and sear (bhonnofy) as we add ingredients. This method is more common and produces a distinct taste with thick gravy or dry keema aloo.
Don't be intimidated by a long list of ingredients for Pakistani aloo keema, these are pretty basic spices, and you can skip 1-2 whole spices that aren't available.
- Ground meat: Ground lamb or beef broth can be used in this recipe. Ground beef is commonly used but I used ground lamb in the pictorial. For best taste keema aloo is made with beef mince that has 20% fat. Don't be scared of fat, the lamb or beef tallow in moderation has a few health benefits too. Read more at Draxe.com.
- Onions: Onion plays important role in gravy. Use an extra small onion for more gravy. I fried freshly chopped onion for the second method of this recipe. If using pre-fried onions, you'll need about half a cup of fried onions. For the first method stick to large chunks of onions because they dissolve easily making uniform gravy.
- Tomatoes: I made fresh tomato puree by simply blending tomato with little water. Chopped tomatoes also work well. If using packed tomato puree or paste cooking time will reduce.
- Potato: Use round potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes to work best in this recipe. The potato provides a load of taste to the ground meat.
- Ginger, chilies, and garlic: Just combine ginger, garlic, and chilies and mince together in a processor.
- Red chili flakes: Red chili is a heat factor in the recipe, you can use red chili powder too. Consider skipping if you can handle spicy food.
- Whole spices: We need turmeric, whole cinnamon, whole black cardamom, cloves, and pepper. You can also substitute ground spices for the whole.
- Garnish: Cilantro and green chilies are almost always used to garnish aloo keema.
Method 1: For more gravy!
I personally love this method because the onions melt completely in the gravy and produce uniform gravy. The taste is also very yummy and homestyle.
Cooking time is a bit longer if slow cooking in a regular pot but it requires very little active time. If using an instant pot or pressure cooker, cooking time is also reduced.
This aloo keema method is also best for a pressure cooker or instant pots. For this method use 1 extra onion for gravy. Cut in tomato and onion in large chunks, avoid fine chopping.
- Put all list 1 ingredients in a pot and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat with the lid covered. When all ingredients are soft, mix well.
- Now cook for 25-30 minutes on slow heat with the lid tightly covered. (You can also pressure cook for 10 minutes after the whistle.) Just stir well and onions and tomatoes will melt away as shown in step 2.
- Keep cooking for another 5-7 minutes on medium to high heat with frequent stirring. Cook till water dries, then sear on high heat for 5 minutes until the mince is lightly browned and oil separates on the sides of the pan. (Bhunofy) Keep scraping the sides of the pan with a spatula to avoid burning. You might need to add 1-2 tablespoons of extra oil for searing depending on the fat content of ground beef.
- Now add potato and water. Mix well and make sure all potatoes are pushed below the gravy for even cooking. Adjust the consistency of keema by adding less or more water. Cook for another 7-10 minutes until potatoes are tender.
- Aloo Keema Recipe Pakistani is ready.
- Garnish with green coriander, ginger, and lemon wedges.
You can also make keema matar similarly!
Method 2: For the dry version
This is a more popular method in which you make typical onion tomato gravy and then sear ground meat. This method has a very different taste and works best for dry versions and onions do not melt completely.
- Fry chopped onions until lightly golden.
- Add the spices and fry for another 2 minutes.
- Pour in tomato puree, and cook until tomato water dries and oil separates on the side of the pan.
- Mix in ground meat (lamb or beef) and cover the pot. Cook until keema is tender and water dries.
- Then sear or bhunnofy keema for 7-10 minutes at least until browned and oil separates on the sides of the pan.
- Add potatoes and water. Mix well and make sure all potatoes are pushed below the gravy for even cooking.
- Cook for another 7-10 minutes until potatoes are tender. Dry out excess water, as per your preference.
- Aloo Keema Recipe Pakistani is ready. Garnish with green coriander, ginger, and lemon wedges.
- Wash ground meat or not?: This is a debatable question. If meat is coming from an unreliable or unhygienic source giving a quick wash in water in a strainer is ok. However, it loses some of its nutrition in the process. If you wash meat first and ground it at home at the reliable and hygienic butcher. No need to wash. (I use a meat grinder to ground beef and lamb, and I highly home grinding for hygiene and nutrition.)
- Get rid of beefy smell: If beef or lamb is freshly grounded with less than 20% fat, it should not smell bad. If using frozen ground beef, it might develop a stinky fat odor. Open the pack and air it out. This recipe uses a number of spices to over-shadow fat odor. Try to use low-fat premium ground meat to avoid bad fat odor.
- Searing on high or Bhunnofying: Keema needs some browning on high heat. First, you burn all the water in ground beef then sear on high heat for a rich roasted taste and lovely color.
- Oil is good: To sear keema well, you need to use extra oil (that oil layer can be discarded before serving.)
- Use a wide-bottomed pan: You need to cook in a wide pan that provides enough surface to dry excess water quickly and sear easily.
- Size of potato matters: Smaller bite-size potatoes cook more quickly than large pieces. After peeling and cutting, dip potato pieces in water to avoid blackening.
What to serve with Pakistani aloo keema?
You can't win an Indian/Pakistani heart without falling in love with accompaniments. With the freshly chopped kachumber salad, the hot chapati, zeera rice, and the unforgettable green chutney or mango chutney or some other exotic chutney paired with the aloo keema, you'll have an epic desi comfort food, next to daal chawal.
How to use leftovers?
Aloo Keema never goes wasted, no, not possible. BECAUSE there are a hundred ways to use it like a rotisserie chicken. Here are a few suggestions.
- Keema Sandwich: Mash keema and aloo together and make sandwiches with cheese, sauces, cucumber, and tomato slices.
- Omelet: Add mashed aloo keema to the omelet mix and you have a delicious keema omelet.
- Bread Lasagne: You can use leftover keema in this bread lasagna and skip the chicken.
We love keema! Check more recipes.
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Pakistani Aloo Keema Recipe
- ⅓ cup oil, or more depending on fat in mince
- 2 medium onions, (Use 3 onions for gravy method)
- 2 tablespoon green chilli paste
- 2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- 8 black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ tablespoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 big cardamom, slitted
- 4 cloves
- 1 inch cinnamon
- Salt, to taste
- 3 medium tomatoes, see notes
- 500 grams ground beef or lamb
- 2-3 potatoes, cut in chunks
- 1 cup water, less or more as per gravy required
- Handful fresh coriander / cilantro, chopped
- 1 inch ginger, julienne slices
- 1-2 green chilli, deseeded and sliced
- 2 Lemon wedges
Method 1: Gravy Method
- Cut onion and tomatoes in large chunks. Put all ingredients of list 1 (spices and other included) in the pot. Mix well and cover tightly. Cook for 30 minutes on low flame. (Or pressure cook for 10 minutes).
- Remove lid and cook for 5 minutes with frequent stirring until gravy is dry. Then sear on high heat until oil separates on the side of the pot and ground meat is lightly browned. (This is called bhunna.)
- Now add potatoes and water. Cook for another 7-10 minutes on medium heat until potatoes are tender and desired consistency is reached.
- Garnish with ginger, coriander, and green chilli slices. Serve with lemon wedges.
Method 2: Dry Method
- Fry chopped onions until lightly golden.
- Add the spices and fry for another 2 minutes.
- Mix in pureed tomato, and cook until tomato water dries and oil separates on the side of the pan.
- Add ground lamb or beef), cover, and cook until keema is tender and water dries. Then sear or bhunnofy keema for 5-7 minutes until browned and oil separates clearly on sides of the pan.
- Add potatoes and water. Mix well and make sure all potatoes are pushed below the gravy for even cooking. Adjust the consistency of keema by adding less or more water. Cook for another 7-10 minutes until potatoes are tender.
- Garnish with green coriander, ginger, and chilies. Serve with lemon wedges.
- Ground meat: For best taste keema aloo is made with beef mince that has 20% fat.
- Onions: If using pre-fried onions, you'll need about half cup fried onions.
- Tomatoes: If using packed tomato puree or paste cooking time will reduce.
- Potato: Use round potatoes or yukon gold potatoes work best in this recipe.
- We need onion and tomato cut into large chunks for method 1.
- For method 2 use finely chopped onion and tomatoes.
- Heat preference: This recipe produces moderately spiced keema suitable for light home cooking. You can add garam masala or red chili powder for a spicier version.