Keema Aloo

How To Make Keema Aloo 

Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 500g lean lamb or beef mince
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 250g potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 150g frozen green peas
  • Salt
  • Handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped

In a large pot over a medium heat, warm the oil, then sauté the onions until opaque. Add the peppercorns, cardamom, cumin seeds, ginger and garlic pastes and tomatoes. Stir well and cook for 2–3 minutes until the mix has dried a little. Pop in the mince and brown, then mix everything up and cook for around 10 minutes until the meat has released its juices and the pot smells fragrant and is making you hungry. Season with salt, pitch in the powdered spices – chilli, coriander, curry and garam masala – tip in the potatoes and chopped chillies and add enough water to cover the surface of the ingredients. Cover and cook for around 30 minutes or until the potatoes have softened and cooked through. Uncover add the frozen peas and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes, reducing the gravy until it’s sticking to the meat and tatties.

Sprinkle the coriander leaves on the keema aloo and serve with naans.

Keema Aloo

Keema Aloo, The Story

Some dishes follow you throughout your life. They’re as constant as family photo albums – they’re always there and every now and then you find yourself revisiting them, reminiscing and savouring the moments. There’s comfort and delight in the experience.

I was talking with my uncle Stan, and he shared some valuable travel tips with me. He covered his journey across India, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, and wistfully reflected on his travels with his late wife. Now in his retirement years, he pursued an intentionally busy life, travelling, playing cricket as a veteran and teaching the kids ‘a thing or two about speed bowling’. His hair as white as clouds, eyes reflecting adventure with hints of youthful energy, he paused mid-sentence as he described villages on the Mekong Delta. ‘Put-ther [son], you’ve not eaten. You’ve got to eat.’

Walk into any Asian household and you’ve entered into a covenant to eat whatever’s on offer. On this occasion it was a shared love for an old classic, keema aloo. It’s a dish that has tracked both mine and Stan’s lives from boy to man; wonderfully simple, relatively quick and deliciously satisfying, it’s enjoyed by meat-eating households across the Indian subcontinent.

The blend of layered spices transforms lamb or beef mince (dependent on your preference) into pellets of succulent meat, saturated in the warming tones of garam masala and juicy onions, partnered with garlic shavings and the powdered elegance of coriander. The combination softens the floury white potatoes, ready to be mushed under the pressure of flatbread between thumb and forefinger. Sweet green peas peer from the mince temptingly. It would be easy to label this dish as meat and potatoes, but for me and my uncle Stan it’s a staple family favourite, and not just for the boys either.

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Which kind of curry powder do you use? There are so many variants around.

By Jawad khan on October 28, 2017

Keema Aloo seems a yummy dish to me. I have never tried it out but would love to taste it soon if I got a chance.

By Melisa on February 27, 2018

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