Keema Rice
Keema Rice
5 from 4 votes
Discover the flavourful delight of keema rice, a traditional dish that pairs the richness of minced meat with the aromatic essence of basmati rice. Uncover the deep roots of this dish and learn how it's made with this simple guide, designed for cooks of all skill levels.
Keema Rice

Keema Rice, a gastronomic treasure originating from the Indian subcontinent, is a versatile and savoury dish that has made its way into the hearts and homes of food lovers around the globe.  

Traditionally prepared with minced lamb or beef, the recipe offers a delectable combination of aromatic basmati rice cooked with spiced meat, making it a hearty and satisfying meal. 

I love the depth and complexity of the flavours that Keema Rice brings to the table. It’s not just a simple dish to cook, but a culinary journey that takes you through the rich tapestry of South Asian cuisine.  

It’s the perfect recipe for those days when I want to prepare something that is comforting, fulfilling, and tantalizingly spicy. 

The roots of Keema Rice trace back to the royal kitchens of the Mughal Empire. The name “Keema” itself originates from the Turkish word “Kıyma”, which means minced meat.  

Over the centuries, this dish has evolved and been adapted in various forms across regions, but the essence of cooking minced meat with a mix of fragrant spices and rice remains the same. 

While the ingredients in Keema Rice are simple, the blend of spices is what sets it apart. A delicate balance of cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chilli powder gives this dish its unique flavour profile.  

The addition of peas not only lends a beautiful colour contrast but also provides a burst of sweetness that complements the spicy meat. 

Now, you might be wondering, “How difficult is it to make Keema Rice?” I assure you, it’s not as challenging as it sounds. The dish does involve a few different steps, such as browning the onions, cooking the minced meat, and simmering the rice.  

However, even if you’re a novice in the kitchen, you’ll find the process quite manageable. And trust me, the end result is absolutely worth it. 

But, a word of caution: the deliciousness of Keema Rice is seriously addictive! Once you’ve had a taste, you might find yourself regularly craving this delectable dish. So, brace yourself for a beautiful culinary experience that’s bound to leave you wanting more. 

In the following sections, we’ll dive into the specifics of each ingredient and how it contributes to this stellar dish. I’ll also provide a comprehensive guide on how to cook Keema Rice to perfection, one step at a time.  

Whether you’re a cooking enthusiast looking to explore international cuisines or simply searching for a new recipe to spice up your dinner routine, Keema Rice is the way to go. 

What Ingredients to Use & Why 

Choosing the right ingredients is fundamental to preparing any dish, especially when it comes to a rich, flavourful meal like Keema Rice. Each ingredient in this recipe has a specific purpose and contributes to the overall taste, texture, and appeal of the final dish. Let’s break it down. 

Minced Meat: Whether you choose lamb, beef, or a leaner poultry option, the choice of meat forms the foundation of our Keema Rice. The richness of the meat, combined with the spices, lends a robust, savoury flavour that truly characterizes this dish.  

Moreover, mincing the meat allows it to absorb and carry the spices throughout the dish, ensuring a burst of flavour in every bite. 

Basmati Rice: The hallmark of good Keema Rice is aromatic, perfectly cooked basmati rice. Known for its long, slender grains and fragrant aroma, basmati rice not only complements the spiced meat but also provides a satisfying texture contrast.  

While jasmine rice can be an alternative, basmati truly is the best choice for this dish due to its unique fragrance and flavour. 

Onions, Garlic, and Ginger: These three ingredients form the aromatic base of our dish. The sweetness of the onions, combined with the pungency of garlic and the warmth of ginger, creates a depth of flavour that makes this dish incredibly satisfying. 

Vegetable Oil: A neutral oil, such as vegetable oil, is ideal for cooking Keema Rice. It allows the other flavours to shine without imparting any additional taste. However, if you prefer, ghee or clarified butter can be used as a richer alternative. 

Frozen Peas: The inclusion of peas brings a touch of sweetness and a bright pop of colour, which enhances the visual appeal of the dish. If peas are not available, diced bell peppers or carrots can be used as a substitute. 

Spices: Cumin seeds, coriander powder, turmeric, and chilli powder constitute our spice blend for Keema Rice. Each of these spices lends its unique flavour and aroma to the dish, creating a multi-dimensional flavour profile that’s distinctly Indian.  

These spices are pretty standard in most kitchens, but if you lack one, an all-purpose curry powder can be a suitable substitute, albeit with a slightly different flavour. 

Salt: Salt is essential in this dish as it amplifies the flavours of all the other ingredients. 

Fresh Coriander Leaves: These are used as a garnish and bring a fresh and vibrant taste that perfectly balances the rich and spicy meat and rice mixture. If coriander isn’t to your liking, you could opt for fresh parsley or mint. 

Remember, the key to a great Keema Rice is quality ingredients. The better the quality, the more flavoursome and satisfying the end dish will be. 

How to Properly Cook Basmati Rice for Keema Rice? 

Basmati rice, with its delightful aroma and long, slender grains, is an integral part of Keema Rice. The perfect cooking of basmati rice can enhance the taste and texture of the dish significantly. Here’s a guide on how to properly cook it. 

The first step is to rinse the basmati rice. Place the rice in a bowl and wash it under cold water. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear. This process helps to remove any excess starch and keeps the rice grains from sticking together during cooking. 

After rinsing, it’s crucial to soak the rice for about 30 minutes. Soaking the basmati rice allows it to absorb water and swell before being cooked, which results in fluffier and lighter rice. It also reduces the cooking time. 

When it comes to cooking the rice for Keema Rice, it’s best to use the absorption method. Add enough water to cover the rice by about 2cm, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer. The water gets absorbed into the rice while cooking, leaving the grains separate, fluffy, and perfectly cooked. 

While cooking the rice, remember not to stir it too much. Excessive stirring can cause the grains to break and turn mushy. If there’s still water left and the rice isn’t fully cooked, add a little more water and continue to cook on low heat until the rice is cooked and all the water has been absorbed. 

Lastly, after the rice is cooked, fluff it up gently with a fork to separate the grains before mixing it with the keema. This ensures that your Keema Rice is perfectly textured and delicious. 

Making Keema Rice with Other Types of Meat 

The traditional version of Keema Rice is made using minced lamb or beef. However, the beauty of cooking is its versatility and adaptability. Therefore, you can certainly make Keema Rice with other types of meat. 

Chicken is a great alternative if you’re looking for a leaner option. Minced chicken can be substituted in the same quantity as beef or lamb. Turkey is another lean meat that can work well in this dish. Both these options will be lighter but still offer a satisfying meal. 

For a more indulgent version, you could use minced pork. It has a rich, savoury flavour that pairs well with the spices and basmati rice. 

Remember, the choice of meat can significantly influence the final taste and texture of the dish. Different meats have different cooking times and moisture contents, so adjustments may need to be made.  

For instance, chicken and turkey may cook faster than beef or lamb, so you might need to reduce the cooking time to avoid overcooking. 

Ultimately, the choice of meat should be based on your personal preferences, dietary restrictions, or simply what you have on hand. The versatility of Keema Rice ensures that no matter what meat you choose, the result will be a hearty and flavourful dish. 

The Best Substitutes for Spices in Keema Rice 

Keema Rice owes its distinctive flavour to a melange of spices such as cumin seeds, coriander powder, turmeric, and chili powder. However, if you lack one or more of these spices, don’t worry! You can still make delicious Keema Rice using some suitable substitutes. 

If you don’t have cumin seeds, ground cumin can be used. Alternatively, caraway seeds are a good substitute as they have a similar warm, earthy flavour, although they’re a bit sweeter and more aromatic. 

Coriander powder, which imparts a sweet, slightly citrusy flavour, could be replaced with a blend of cumin and fennel, or even with garam masala which has coriander as one of its components. 

Turmeric, known for its earthy, slightly bitter flavour, and its vibrant yellow colour, can be replaced with a pinch of saffron or mustard powder. Please note, these substitutes can change the colour and flavour slightly, but the dish will still be delicious. 

For chilli powder, you could substitute it with fresh or dried chillies, cayenne pepper, or hot paprika, depending on your spice tolerance. 

In the event that you don’t have any of these spices, an all-purpose curry powder can be a handy alternative. It has a mix of most Indian spices, including cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chilli, and will give your Keema Rice a slightly different but enjoyable flavour profile. 

Remember, while these substitutes may not replicate the exact flavour of the original spices, they will allow you to make a tasty and satisfying Keema Rice, even when your spice cabinet isn’t fully stocked. 

Alternatives Instead of Peas in Keema Rice 

The inclusion of peas in Keema Rice adds a pop of colour, a touch of sweetness, and a change of texture that is truly delightful. But, sometimes, you may not have peas on hand, or perhaps you’re not a fan. Regardless of the reason, there are various alternatives you can use in place of peas. 

One of the most common alternatives is diced carrots. They share a similar sweetness with peas and provide a lovely colour contrast against the rice and meat. Plus, they offer a slightly different texture that’s both pleasing and enjoyable. 

Bell peppers, preferably green ones for colour contrast, can also be used as a substitute. They impart a slightly sweet and slightly bitter flavour that complements the overall taste of the dish. Plus, their crunch adds a refreshing contrast to the softness of the rice and meat. 

For a different take, you might consider using diced tomatoes. They provide a hint of tanginess that pairs well with the spices and adds a beautiful red colour to the dish. If you want to keep things green, chopped spinach or finely sliced green beans could work too. 

It’s important to remember that while these substitutes provide their unique flavours and textures, the essence of the dish remains the same – a delightful blend of rice, spiced meat, and a colourful vegetable that adds that extra layer of flavour. 

Storing and Reheating Leftover Keema Rice 

The best part about making a hearty dish like Keema Rice is that the leftovers can be just as enjoyable as when it’s freshly cooked. However, it’s crucial to store and reheat it properly to maintain its flavour and texture. 

To store leftover Keema Rice, allow it to cool completely before transferring it to airtight containers. Properly stored, it should last for about 3-4 days in the refrigerator.  

If you plan to store it for a longer period, freezing is a good option. Keema Rice can be frozen for up to 2 months. Make sure to store it in freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags to prevent freezer burn. 

Reheating Keema Rice is straightforward. If it’s refrigerated, you can reheat it in the microwave. Transfer the rice to a microwave-safe dish, add a splash of water (to prevent it from drying out), cover it, and heat on medium power until it’s heated through. Stir the rice halfway through for even heating. 

If the Keema Rice is frozen, it’s best to thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. However, if you’re in a hurry, you can reheat it directly from frozen. Just remember to use a lower power setting and to stir it occasionally to ensure even heating. 

In all cases, make sure to check the temperature of the rice before eating to ensure it’s piping hot, and remember, leftovers should only be reheated once. 

Can Keema Rice be Made Vegan or Vegetarian? 

Keema Rice can indeed be adapted to cater to vegan or vegetarian diets. While traditional Keema Rice uses ground meat, it’s not hard to find plant-based alternatives that mimic the texture and even some of the flavours of the meat. 

Instead of meat, you can use minced mushrooms for their umami flavour and meaty texture. Other plant-based mince, like those made from textured vegetable protein (TVP) or tempeh, are also good options.  

They both have a substantial texture that holds up well to cooking and absorbs flavours excellently, making them perfect for the flavourful base of our Keema Rice. 

The spices remain the same as in the traditional recipe – cumin seeds, coriander powder, turmeric, and chilli powder. They provide the rich, warm flavours that make Keema Rice such a beloved dish. 

As for the peas, they are already vegan-friendly, so no substitutes are necessary. However, if you want to include more veggies, feel free to add some chopped bell peppers, carrots, or even spinach. 

The result will be a hearty, flavourful dish that remains true to the spirit of Keema Rice while being fully plant-based. Remember to ensure that any additional ingredients like stock are vegan too. 

Adjusting the Spiciness of Keema Rice 

Keema Rice is known for its warm, inviting flavours, but the level of spiciness may not be to everyone’s liking. Fortunately, adjusting the heat in Keema Rice is quite simple and can be customized to suit everyone’s preference. 

The main contributor to the spiciness in Keema Rice is the chilli powder. If you prefer a milder dish, you can reduce the amount of chilli powder in the recipe or opt for a milder variety of chilli powder. 

Alternatively, if you’re cooking for people with varied spice tolerances, you can cook the Keema Rice with a minimal amount of chilli powder and serve additional chilli powder or a spicy condiment like chilli sauce or sliced chillies on the side. That way, everyone can adjust the heat to their liking. 

Conversely, if you enjoy spicy food, feel free to add more chilli powder. Another way to increase the heat is to include fresh chillies in the recipe. Green chillies can be added with the onions and garlic, or red chillies can be used as a garnish before serving. 

Remember, when adjusting the heat, it’s best to add a little at a time and taste as you go. You can always add more, but it’s difficult to take away once it’s in there. 

Making Keema Rice Ahead of Time: Tips and Techniques 

Keema Rice is a dish that can be prepared ahead of time without sacrificing its taste or quality, making it perfect for meal prepping or hosting events. The trick lies in knowing how to properly store and reheat it while retaining its flavour and texture. 

When making Keema Rice ahead of time, the first step is to let it cool completely. Placing hot food in the refrigerator can raise the overall temperature and potentially lead to food spoilage. Once it’s cooled, you can store it in an airtight container and refrigerate it. 

Keema Rice retains its quality for up to 3-4 days in the fridge. If you’re meal prepping for the week, it’s a great dish to include as it’s easy to portion and store. Just ensure you reheat only the amount you intend to consume each time to maintain its freshness. 

Reheating is a breeze too. You can reheat it in the microwave by placing it in a microwave-safe dish, covering it, and microwaving it on medium power until it’s heated through. Adding a splash of water can prevent it from drying out. 

Making Keema Rice ahead of time is a wonderful way to have a delicious, homemade meal ready whenever you need it. It saves you time during busy weekdays, and the flavours often deepen over time, making the dish even more enjoyable. 

Perfect Pairings: What to Serve with Keema Rice? 

Deciding what to serve with Keema Rice can enhance your dining experience by complementing the flavours and providing a balanced meal. Here are some ideas on what pairs well with this delicious dish. 

A simple side salad with a refreshing dressing can be a great accompaniment. The freshness and crunch of the salad provide a pleasant contrast to the warm, comforting Keema Rice. Something like a cucumber salad or a mixed greens salad with a lemon vinaigrette would work well. 

For a truly traditional meal, serve your Keema Rice with Indian bread like naan or roti. These bread are perfect for scooping up the Keema Rice and creating a filling, satisfying meal. You can even try stuffed parathas for an extra treat. 

Raita, a type of Indian yoghurt-based side dish, also pairs well with Keema Rice. It’s cool and creamy with a hint of spice, making it the perfect counterpoint to the rich, spiced Keema Rice. Cucumber raita or mint raita would be particularly good choices. 

For beverages, a cool lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink) or a spicy chai tea can complement the meal perfectly. 

Remember, the best pairings are the ones that you enjoy the most, so feel free to experiment and find your personal favourite! 

Can Keema Rice be Frozen for Later Use? 

I understand the need to prepare meals in advance and the benefits of freezing them for future use. Keema Rice is one such dish that freezes well and can be reheated without much compromise on taste or texture. 

Before freezing your Keema Rice, ensure that it has cooled completely. Freezing it while it’s still warm could result in excessive moisture within the container, potentially causing freezer burn and affecting the quality of the dish when reheated.  

Once cooled, transfer the Keema Rice into freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. Be sure to label the containers with the date for future reference. Properly stored, it should last in the freezer for up to two months. 

Reheating your frozen Keema Rice can be done in two ways. If you have some time, you can thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat it in the microwave or stovetop the next day.  

If you’re in a hurry, you can reheat it directly from frozen in the microwave. Just be sure to stir it occasionally for even heating. 

The convenience of having a flavourful and hearty dish like Keema Rice ready in your freezer for those busy days can’t be underestimated. It’s a time-saver and a tasty solution for meal planning. 

Nutritional Value of Keema Rice 

Keema Rice is a hearty and satisfying dish, but did you know that it also offers nutritional value? Let’s break it down. 

Firstly, the ground meat in Keema Rice is a good source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues, among other functions. The amount of protein will depend on the type of meat used, with lamb and beef generally offering higher protein content than chicken. 

The rice provides carbohydrates, which are your body’s primary source of energy. Opting for brown rice instead of white can increase the fibre content and make the dish more filling. 

The addition of peas and other vegetables adds vitamins and fibre to the dish. Peas, for example, are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and dietary fibre. 

As for the spices used in Keema Rice, they not only enhance the flavour of the dish but also have health benefits. For example, turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, while cumin may aid digestion. 

However, as with any dish, portion control is key. While Keema Rice offers nutritional benefits, it can also be high in calories and fat, especially if prepared with generous amounts of oil or ghee. Serving it with a side of fresh vegetables or salad can help balance the meal. 

Keep in mind that the specific nutritional value can vary depending on the exact ingredients and quantities used. It’s always a good idea to use a nutrition tracking app if you want to know the exact nutritional value of your home-cooked meals. 

Check Out These Other Recipes 

Ever since I created the Keema Rice recipe, I’ve been daydreaming about other marvellous ways to use rice in my culinary escapades. Oh, and believe me, I have discovered some delectable dishes that are worth sharing with you! 

One of the first ones that comes to mind is the Mutton Biryani, an absolute gem from the Indian subcontinent.  

The rich, aromatic flavours of succulent mutton pieces simmered with exotic spices, then lovingly layered between fluffy, fragrant rice is a meal in itself. I promise each spoonful is a trip to paradise! 

Then there’s the Jeweled Rice. Now, this dish is a celebration on a plate! Packed with dried fruits, nuts, and aromatic spices, this rice dish is as pleasing to the eyes as it is to the taste buds. The myriad colours on the plate are simply a feast for the eyes. One bite of this, and you’ll understand why it’s named so. 

For a slightly different spin on rice, there’s the Vegetable Fried Rice. This simple yet satisfying dish combines the goodness of fresh veggies with the comforting texture of rice.  

Seasoned lightly and stir-fried to perfection, it is as humble as it is flavourful. A delight for veggie lovers and meat-eaters alike, it’s a quick fix for those sudden hunger pangs. 

Keema Pulao is another one I must mention. Much like our Keema Rice, this pulao uses minced meat and rice in a scrumptious combination, but with a slightly different melody of spices. Every morsel is a delightful blend of savoury meat and fluffy rice. Trust me, it’s a flavour harmony you wouldn’t want to miss! 

Last but certainly not least, we have the Chicken Biryani. This iconic rice dish is a carnival of flavours. Juicy chicken pieces marinated in aromatic spices, then steamed with fragrant basmati rice, result in a dish that’s tantalizingly tasty. It’s like a party of flavours in your mouth! 

If you do try any of these, don’t forget to leave your comments and feedback. They always inspire me to keep creating more gastronomic wonders for all of you. 

Keema Rice

Keema Rice

by Nabeela Kauser
Discover the flavourful delight of keema rice, a traditional dish that pairs the richness of minced meat with the aromatic essence of basmati rice. Uncover the deep roots of this dish and learn how it's made with this simple guide.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 747 kcal


  • 500 g Mince
  • 300 g Rice Basmati
  • 100 grams Peas Frozen
  • 2 Onions Finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 tbsp Ginger Minced
  • 1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Chilli powder
  • Salt To taste
  • Coriander


  • Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear, then soak it for about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a few seconds.
  • Add the finely chopped onions to the pan, cook them until they are golden brown.
  • Add the minced garlic and ginger to the pan and cook for another minute.
  • Add the minced meat to the pan, breaking it up with a spoon, cook until it’s browned and cooked through.
  • Add the coriander powder, turmeric, chili powder, and salt to the pan. Stir well to mix the spices with the meat.
  • Add the frozen peas to the pan and mix well.
  • Drain the rice and add it to the pan. Stir gently to mix the rice with the meat and spices.
  • Add enough water to the pan to cover the rice by about 2cm, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and all the water has been absorbed.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves before serving.


You can substitute the minced beef or lamb with chicken or turkey if you prefer.
Adjust the amount of chilli powder according to your taste.
Add more water if the rice isn’t fully cooked after 20 minutes.
Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 747kcalCarbohydrates: 71gProtein: 29gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 93mgPotassium: 583mgFibre: 4gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 360IUVitamin C: 15mgVitamin D: 0.1µgCalcium: 88mgIron: 5mg
Keyword Cooking, Food, Keema, Meat, Minced Meat, Pilau, Ramadan, Rice
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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