Keema Karahi
Keema Karahi
5 from 9 votes
Dive into the delightful world of Pakistani cuisine with our keema karahi recipe. Easy to master, this flavourful and spicy dish, featuring succulent minced meat and an aromatic blend of spices, promises a delightful culinary journey for your taste buds.
Keema Karahi

Ah, Keema Karahi! If you haven’t yet savoured this Pakistani culinary delight, then buckle up, my friend. Your taste buds are in for an exotic adventure. This dish is a symphony of succulent minced meat, colourful vegetables, and a medley of tantalizing spices. The best part? The difficulty level isn’t daunting at all. 

As we embark on our gastronomic journey today, it’s essential to take a moment to appreciate the story behind Keema Karahi. It’s a tale that extends far beyond the borders of our modern kitchens. The origins of this dish lie in the rich history and culinary traditions of the Indian subcontinent, specifically Pakistan.  

The word ‘Keema’ translates to ‘minced meat,’ and ‘Karahi’ refers to the deep, open-mouthed cooking pot traditionally used to prepare the dish. In essence, the name of the dish paints a vivid picture of its creation. 

The key to mastering the art of making Keema Karahi is understanding its versatility. You can use any minced meat of your choice, whether it’s beef, lamb, or chicken.  

This freedom makes it an exciting dish to experiment with, depending on your preferences and dietary requirements. From my experience, each type of meat imparts its unique flair to the dish, making it a new gastronomic adventure every time. 

Now, you may be wondering about the level of difficulty associated with cooking Keema Karahi. Well, the good news is that despite its exotic nature, it’s quite simple to whip up!  

You don’t have to be a Michelin-star chef to put together this flavourful dish. While it might seem a bit intimidating at first glance, rest assured that it’s a recipe that beginners and seasoned cooks alike can conquer with a bit of patience and determination. 

It’s worth mentioning that the combination of spices in Keema Karahi is what truly sets it apart. Ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, and red chili powder meld together, creating an aromatic symphony that wafts through your kitchen and seduces your senses.  

Throw in some garam masala, and you’ll elevate the flavour profile to a whole new level. The beautiful thing about this dish is how it embraces the essence of Pakistani cuisine, yet allows room for personal touches.  

Feel free to adjust the spice levels to suit your palate. Remember – cooking is all about creating a symphony of flavours that resonate with you. 

In a nutshell, Keema Karahi is a testament to the rich tapestry of flavours that Pakistani cuisine offers. It’s an adventure, an experience, and a joy to prepare. You’ll find the process to be just as fulfilling as savouring the final product. So, are you ready to take the plunge and master this dish? Let’s roll up our sleeves, take a deep breath, and immerse ourselves in the captivating world of Keema Karahi! 

What Ingredients to Use and Why 

So, my friends, we’re diving into the exhilarating world of Keema Karahi today. An incredible Pakistani dish known for its mouth-watering blend of spices and juicy minced meat.  

It’s like a party in your mouth, trust me! Now, let’s explore the symphony of ingredients that come together to create this flavoursome feast, one by one. 

Minced Meat: Your choice of meat is the canvas upon which the flavours of this dish are painted. Beef and lamb lend a hearty depth of flavour, while chicken offers a lighter, more subtle taste. Vegetarians, fear not, you can substitute the meat with crumbled tofu or a plant-based mince. 

Oil: We’re starting the magic with oil, setting the stage for our flavours to shine. It also helps cook the onions and spices evenly. The choice of oil can vary; sunflower and canola oil are excellent for their neutral flavour. 

Onion: The humble onion works wonders by adding a sweet depth of flavour when sautéed. It’s what forms the base of our masala and gives the dish its body. Got shallots? They work well too! 

Garlic & Ginger: This dynamic duo infuses the dish with a piquant warmth, creating an aromatic base that perfectly complements the meat. Alternatively, a bit of asafoetida can work if you’re in a pinch and don’t have these on hand. 

Tomatoes: Ah, tomatoes, our tangy friends! They add a delightful acidity and balance the robust flavours of the spices. If you don’t have fresh ones, canned tomatoes will do the trick. 

Spices: These are the knights of our flavour kingdom, each lending a unique element. Coriander adds a lemony sweetness, cumin contributes earthiness, turmeric brings in a warm note, red chili powder adds heat, and garam masala rounds everything off with its blend of warm spices.  

If you want a different heat level, paprika could replace chili powder. If garam masala is unavailable, a mix of cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom could save the day. 

Frozen Peas: These little green gems add a pop of colour and a mild sweetness that offsets the spice blend wonderfully. No peas? Try diced bell peppers for that colourful crunch! 

Cilantro Leaves: As garnish, they add a splash of colour and a fresh, herby note that cuts through the richness of the dish. Parsley is an excellent stand-in if cilantro is playing hide and seek in your pantry. 

And there you have it, folks. That’s the band behind the symphony of flavours in your Keema Karahi. The beauty lies in the perfect harmony of all these ingredients, each playing its part in the grand orchestra of flavours. 

Choosing the Right Meat for Keema Karahi 

When it comes to preparing Keema Karahi, the type of meat used can significantly impact the overall taste and texture of the dish. Traditionally, Keema Karahi is prepared with minced lamb, beef, or chicken. Each of these types of meat offers a unique flavour profile and texture to the dish. 

If I choose to use beef, I find that the result is a hearty dish with a rich flavour. Beef mince tends to hold its shape well, making the dish hearty and satisfying. In contrast, lamb brings a distinct gamey flavour to Keema Karahi that is enjoyed by many.  

It’s worth mentioning, though, that lamb can be a bit greasy. I always ensure to drain excess fat during cooking to keep the dish balanced. 

Using chicken, on the other hand, results in a lighter, leaner version of Keema Karahi. Chicken is a versatile choice and absorbs the flavours of the spices beautifully. It’s also a fantastic option for those who prefer a less heavy dish or follow a leaner diet. 

The beauty of Keema Karahi lies in its flexibility. You can experiment with different types of meat according to your preference or dietary needs. The spices used in the dish are potent enough to make any type of meat shine in the dish. So, it’s all about personal preference when choosing the best meat for your Keema Karahi. 

Making Keema Karahi with Turkey Mince 

Keema Karahi is a versatile dish, and that’s what I love about it the most. It can be made with a variety of meats, including beef, lamb, chicken, and yes, even turkey. Turkey is an excellent option for those looking to enjoy this flavourful dish with a leaner type of meat. 

When I use turkey mince, I pay particular attention to how I cook it. Because turkey has less fat than other types of meat, it can easily become dry if not cooked properly. To ensure the turkey stays juicy and flavourful, I always make sure to keep a medium heat to not to overcook it. 

Turkey mince is also lighter in flavour compared to other meats. This allows the rich, aromatic spices in Keema Karahi to really shine through. I find that turkey mince absorbs the flavours of the spices and other ingredients well, creating a delightful harmony of taste in the final dish. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment with turkey mince in your Keema Karahi. The beauty of cooking is in its versatility and ability to cater to various dietary preferences and needs. With the right cooking techniques and balance of flavours, your turkey Keema Karahi can be just as delicious as the traditional versions. 

Substituting Garam Masala in Keema Karahi 

Garam masala is a key ingredient in Keema Karahi, adding depth and warmth to the dish. It’s a blend of ground spices commonly used in Indian cooking. This includes cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper. However, if I’m out of garam masala, I’ve found that there are a few alternatives I can use. 

A simple substitute for garam masala is a combination of cumin and allspice. These two spices cover a lot of the same flavour territory as garam masala, though the result will be slightly different. I tend to use a ratio of 3:1 of cumin to allspice to approximate the warm, spicy flavour of garam masala. 

Another option I use is to make my own garam masala blend. I’ve found that it’s actually quite straightforward. I just need to mix together the individual spices commonly found in garam masala. This way, I can also adjust the ratios to suit my taste. 

However, I always remember that these substitutes may not completely replicate the complex flavour of garam masala. Still, they can do a decent job of keeping the essence of the dish alive.  

And sometimes, the most important thing about cooking is working with what I have and being flexible to adjust the recipe according to my available ingredients. 

Using Fresh Peas in Keema Karahi 

In Keema Karahi, peas add a wonderful pop of colour and texture to the dish. The recipe traditionally calls for frozen peas. But if I have fresh peas on hand, I find they work just as well, if not better. 

Fresh peas have a sweet, earthy flavour that beautifully complements the aromatic spices and hearty mince in Keema Karahi. If I use fresh peas, I make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Fresh peas generally require a longer cooking time than frozen ones. 

I usually add the fresh peas during the cooking process of the minced meat, giving them enough time to become tender. It’s worth noting that fresh peas can vary in size and tenderness. So, it’s important to check them for doneness before finishing the dish. 

The switch from frozen to fresh peas can be a delightful change, particularly when peas are in season. They lend a fresh, vibrant touch to the Keema Karahi and make it feel like a true celebration of spring or early summer when peas are at their peak. 

Storing Leftover Keema Karahi for Maximum Freshness 

Keema Karahi, with its rich flavours and spices, makes for delicious leftovers. Whenever I prepare this dish and end up with more than my family can consume in one sitting, I am careful to store it properly to ensure it stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible. 

I let the leftover Keema Karahi cool down to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. This helps to avoid moisture build-up inside the container, which can lead to faster spoilage. In the fridge, it will stay fresh for up to 3-4 days. 

When I’m ready to enjoy the leftovers, I reheat them gently on the stovetop over medium-low heat, adding a splash of water if needed to prevent it from drying out. It’s important not to overheat the dish as this can lead to a change in texture and flavour. 

For longer storage, I sometimes freeze the Keema Karahi. I portion it into freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, making sure to squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing.  

This dish can last up to 3 months in the freezer. When ready to eat, I thaw it overnight in the fridge, then reheat it slowly on the stovetop. 

Properly storing leftovers is an essential step in ensuring the food stays safe to eat and retains its quality. With the right techniques, I find that my leftover Keema Karahi can be just as enjoyable as when it’s freshly made. 

Creating a Vegan Version for Keema Karahi

As someone who loves experimenting with recipes, I’ve found that making a vegan version of Keema Karahi is entirely doable and results in a tasty, satisfying dish. Instead of minced meat, I use a plant-based substitute.  

There are many vegan ground meat alternatives on the market today, from lentils and mushrooms to commercially produced plant-based “mince”. 

When I use lentils, I prefer brown or green lentils. They have a firmer texture that holds up well in cooking. If I’m going with mushrooms, I pulse them in a food processor until they have a mince-like consistency. 

The rest of the recipe remains the same. The power of Keema Karahi lies in the blend of spices used, which are all plant-based. I sauté my vegan “mince” with the traditional spices, add peas and garnish with cilantro, just like the classic recipe. 

The result is a flavourful, hearty dish that stays true to the essence of Keema Karahi while being completely vegan. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy this beloved dish while adhering to a plant-based diet. 

Understanding the Difference Between Karahi and Curry 

Both Keema Karahi and Keema Curry are delectable dishes made from minced meat, but there are subtle differences that set them apart. When I prepare these dishes, I find the differences mainly lie in the cooking technique and the level of spices used. 

Keema Karahi is named after the ‘karahi’ or ‘kadai’, a type of cooking pot similar to a wok, used to prepare the dish. I typically prepare Keema Karahi with a balanced blend of spices and aromatics, including garam masala, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and chilli powder.  

I like to cook minced meat in these spices until it becomes aromatic and slightly caramelized, a characteristic feature of karahi dishes. 

On the other hand, when I make Keema Curry, I often use a deeper variety of spices and it’s generally cooked in more liquid, giving it a saucier consistency. Depending on the regional variation, Keema Curry might also include ingredients like coconut milk, yoghurt, or a bit of cream. 

In essence, Keema Karahi is usually drier with a more concentrated, caramelized flavour. While Keema Curry is saucier with a broader range of spices. Both dishes, however, are incredibly flavourful and make great companions to naan or rice. 

Making Karahi Without a Karahi Pan 

While a karahi pan is traditionally used to make Keema Karahi, I’ve found that it’s entirely possible to make the dish without one. After all, cooking is all about adaptability. 

If I don’t have a karahi pan, I usually use a heavy-bottomed skillet or a wok as a suitable substitute. These pans are wide and deep, similar to a karahi pan, allowing the ingredients to cook evenly and the flavours to develop beautifully. 

When using a skillet or a wok, I ensure the heat distribution is even and I stir the ingredients frequently to mimic the cooking style of a karahi pan. It’s essential to sauté the spices and onions until they are caramelized, as this step helps to develop the depth of flavour that Keema Karahi is known for. 

In my experience, while the type of pan can influence the cooking process, it’s the careful combination and preparation of ingredients that truly make Keema Karahi the flavourful and comforting dish it is.  

The Perfect Side Dishes for Keema Karahi

When I serve Keema Karahi, I love pairing it with side dishes that complement its rich, aromatic flavours. Choosing the right side dishes can elevate the meal and create a more balanced and satisfying dining experience. 

Firstly, I find that warm, fluffy naan or basmati rice is a must. These not only add a different texture to the meal but also do a great job of soaking up the flavoursome juices from the Keema Karahi.  

If I want to get creative, I sometimes serve it with pilau rice, which is seasoned with spices and often includes peas or raisins. 

A cool, refreshing side salad also pairs well with Keema Karahi. A simple cucumber and tomato salad or raita (a cooling yoghurt-based side dish) helps to balance the heat from the spices. These sides add a fresh, light contrast to the rich, hearty main dish. 

Another favourite side of mine is pickles or chutneys. The tangy, sweet, and spicy flavours of these condiments bring an exciting burst of flavour and add another layer of complexity to the meal. 

Lastly, a lentil dish like dal can also be a great accompaniment to Keema Karahi. The creamy, mild flavours of the dal provide a soothing contrast to the robustly flavoured keema. 

Pairing Keema Karahi with these sides turns the dish into a feast, creating a symphony of flavours and textures that delights the palate. 

Reducing the Spiciness 

While Keema Karahi is known for its flavourful kick, I understand that not everyone has a high tolerance for spicy foods. Fortunately, there are ways to tone down the heat while maintaining the depth and complexity of flavours that this dish is known for. 

First, I adjust the amount of red chilli powder in the recipe. This ingredient contributes significantly to the heat, so reducing it can certainly make the dish milder. If I still want a hint of warmth without the burn, I often substitute it with paprika. Paprika is milder but still adds a nice colour and smoky flavour. 

Another way to reduce spiciness is by adding a cooling element to the dish. Incorporating a dollop of yoghurt or coconut milk can help neutralize the heat. Not only do these additions cut through the spice, but they also contribute to a creamier, richer texture. 

Remember, cooking is all about adjusting to personal preferences. If I or someone I’m cooking for isn’t keen on overly spicy food, I can definitely adapt Keema Karahi to make it less spicy while ensuring it remains flavourful and enjoyable. 

Check Out These Other Recipes 

After relishing the robust flavours of our Keema Karahi, it’s worth exploring other enticing dishes in Indian cuisine that are just as inviting and flavourful. 

Imagine experiencing a Lamb Karahi, where tender morsels of lamb are bathed in a thick and spicy tomato-based gravy. Infused with fragrant spices, the dish is similar to our Keema Karahi, yet has a distinct charm and richness of its own. 

Moving on to Chicken Karahi, this feast is an aromatic concoction of boneless chicken pieces simmered in a mix of delectable spices, offering a delightful kick that matches our Keema Karahi. It’s a love letter to your palate, every bite revealing the art of Indian cooking. 

Why stop there? Let’s go off the beaten path to a dish called Namkeen Gosht. This is a staple from the KPK region of Pakistan but is often found in Indian cuisine as well. Cooked with minimal ingredients, the magic of this dish lies in its simplicity.  

The meat is marinated with a touch of salt, black pepper, and garlic, resulting in a delectably tender dish that echoes the meaty flavours of our Keema Karahi. 

Lastly, Mutton Shinwari, a traditional dish prepared with mutton and just four main ingredients—salt, tomatoes, ghee, and green chillies—brings a hearty, rustic flavour that complements our Keema Karahi wonderfully.  

The tenderness of the mutton combined with the slight heat of the green chillies makes for a symphony of flavours that sings with every bite. 

There you have it, a collection of curry recipes that wonderfully mirror the essence of our Keema Karahi. Now, it’s your turn to try these recipes and dive into the enchanting world of Indian cuisine.  

Don’t forget to leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments. We’d love to hear your feedback and which recipe you’ll be trying next! 

Keema Karahi

Keema Karahi

by Nabeela Kauser
Dive into the delightful world of Pakistani cuisine with our Keema Karahi recipe. Easy to master, this flavourful and spicy dish, featuring succulent minced meat and an aromatic blend of spices, promises a delightful culinary journey for your taste buds.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 4
Calories 495 kcal


  • 500 g Mince Beef, lamb, or chicken
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 Onion Finely chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 inch Ginger Grated
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 2 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 100 g Peas Frozen
  • Coriander Garnish


  • Heat the oil in a large skillet or karahi over medium heat.
  • Sauté the chopped onion until it turns golden brown.
  • Incorporate the minced garlic and grated ginger, and cook for another minute until a fragrant aroma arises.
  • Introduce the chopped tomatoes to the skillet and continue cooking until the oil separates from the masala mixture, which typically takes about 5-7 minutes.
  • Combine the ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala, and salt. Stir thoroughly to incorporate the spices into the masala mixture.
  • Add the minced meat to the skillet, ensuring it is well-coated with the masala. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the meat is thoroughly cooked, stirring occasionally.
  • Incorporate the frozen peas into the skillet and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until they are heated through.
  • Taste the dish and make any necessary adjustments to the seasoning.
  • Sprinkle fresh cilantro leaves on top for garnish.
  • Serve the dish hot with naan or rice.


Adjust the quantity of red chilli powder to suit your preferred level of spiciness.
If desired, add diced bell peppers or carrots, or any other vegetables of your choice.
This dish goes well with naan bread, rice, or roti.
Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 495kcalCarbohydrates: 104gProtein: 6gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.03gSodium: 1295mgPotassium: 304mgFibre: 6gSugar: 89gVitamin A: 859IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 36mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Cooking, Curry, Food, Karahi, Keema, Meat, Minced Meat, Ramadan, Recipe
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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