Growing up, keema was always minced mutton or goat meat. It was cooked in our house both as loose keema and as kofta (meatball) curry and it’s hard to say which I preferred. When I first came to the US goat keema was not easy to find. Indeed, it’s not easy even now without going to the few desi stores that sell meat or to stores catering to other goat eating cultures. But beef keema/ground beef is pretty good too in these preps. If you can find grass-fed beef keema then all the better—that gamy tang takes it pretty close to goat/mutton. And while I don’t have much use for turkey meat in Indian preps, I find ground turkey works well for keema—as long as it isn’t all white meat. And it works particularly well In a robustly spiced dish like this one where broccoli additionally adds an earthy quality. Still, in the absence of goat/mutton keema, beef would be my top choice. The point is that you can use whatever you have at hand. What you will end up with will be comfort food of the highest order and the broccoli will help you feel virtuous.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb potatoes, cut into chunks
- 1 lb broccoli florets
- 1 medium red onion (American size)
- 1 tspn’s worth of garlic cloves
- 1 tpsn’s worth of ginger root
- 1 cup chopped tomato
- 5 pods green cardamom
- 1 tspn red chilli powder of choice
- 3/4 tspn haldi/turmeric powder
- The following ground together into a fine powder: 2 tspns coriander seed,1 tspn zeera/cumin seed, 1 tspn methi/fenugreek seed, 1 small piece cassia bark, 1 tspn black peppercorn (optional)
- 3 cups water
- 1 tspn garam masala powder (optional)
- Microwave the onion for a minute on high, cut it into chunks and grind it into a thick paste with the garlic, ginger and tomato. Keep aside.
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a deep pan and when it shimmers add the cardamom pods.
- As soon as the cardamom darkens slightly add all the ground beef and crumble it up with a spatula.
- Saute the beef, stirring from time to time till the raw pink colour is completely gone and it has begun to brown around the edges. Remove to a plate.
- Add another tablespoon or two of oil to the pan, add the potato and stir-fry till half done.
- Add the broccoli to the pan and stir fry for another few minutes with the potatoes and then remove both to a plate and hold.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and dump in the onion-garlic-ginger-tomato paste. Saute till the raw aroma of the onions is long gone and the oil separates.
- Add the haldi, red chilli powder, salt and the ground masalas. Mix in and saute for another 5 minutes or so till a thick, aromatic sludge forms.
- Return the ground beef to the pan and mix thoroughly with the masala sludge.
- Return the broccoli and potato to the pan and mix in gently.
- Add the water, bring to a high simmer, cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat till the potato is fully done. The pieces should be easily pierced with a fork but not falling apart. It’ll probably take 15-20 minutes to get to this point.
- Uncover the pan and check the texture. Your goal is to get it to where the oil separates and it thickens while remaining easily pourable. If needed, simmer uncovered for a while to get to this point.
- Taste and adjust for salt, add the garam masala (if using), mix in and simmer for another minute.
- Serve with chapatis or tortillas with dal on the side.
- You can adjust the heat to your liking. My own preference is to use milder Kashmiri or Byadgi chillies for colour and use black pepper in the ground masala for the heat.
- A pinch of sugar added with the tomatoes will also not hurt.
- You should also feel free to increase or decrease the amount of tomato you use. I woudn’t go over two cups though or under 1/2 cup.
- And yes, you can eat this with rice too but keema and hot chapatis (or wheat tortillas if that’s easier) with lime pickle and a bowl of dal on the side is pretty much perfection.
- Here, watch a shoddy reel of this being made.