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Recipe: Keema, or Minced Beef Curry

superquinn-minceMince is one of the things that’s most frequently on offer in supermarkets, and I picked up two packs for the price of one in Superquinn the other day, thanks to Peter’s tip-off.  I made a batch of spaghetti bolognese with the first pack and was looking for something a bit out of the ordinary to do with the second pack.  I so often fall back on chilli, bolognese or cottage pie with mince (not that there’s anything wrong with any of those dishes), but then remembered a delicious minced beef curry that Maria Crispy made for us once before.

The recipe came from our friend Riaz, and it’s a good one – the curry is warm and aromatic and very easy and quick to make.  You do need to use extra lean mince, although if you only have cheaper mince you could brown it and drain it before adding it to the tomato sauce.  The original recipe came with North American measurements, as Riaz is a Canadianer, but I’ve adapted it so you don’t need to use cups to measure the ingredients.

Minced Beef Curry

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, pureed or finely chopped
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1½ tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt (you may need to add more to taste)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 454 grams extra lean minced beef
  • 1-2 tbsp demerara sugar, to taste
  • 1½ tsp dried mint (optional)


  1. Heat the oil and add the onions, and cook gently until they are softened – about 5 mins.
  2. Add the tomatoes, cumin, salt, turmeric and cayenne and saute for another 5 min,
    or until oil glistens.
  3. Break up the beef and add to the curry.  Cook for about 6-10 minutes then check to make sure it is cooked to your liking.
  4. Stir in sugar and mint, and cook until sugar melts into beef (about 1 minute).  Cool for 5 minutes, cover with a lid.

I served this with a side of chilli-packed Moghlai Spinach for heat, mango pickles and some fragrant rice.  One pound of mince made enough for about four dinners.  The next day for lunch, it went into a pitta bread with mango pickle, yogurt and sliced tomatoes.


  1. One and a half tablespoons of cumin & half a tablespoon of cayenne seem like quite a lot-are they definitely the measurements? Would like to try this so would love a reply, thanks.

  2. Probably teaspooons. We grew up on this curry, every Thursday! Mum would make a huge pressure cooker load of mince, onions and carrots and then separate it to chilli, curry, bolognese (for moussaka also). The curry is extra nice with a side salad of chopped tomatoes, cucumber, onion, lettuce with mayonnaise/yogurt.

  3. Nope, it’s tablespoons alright. I know it sounds like a lot, but the meat needs a lot of seasoning, and as it doesn’t have any chilli in it, the cayenne adds a bit of heat.

  4. Ok thank you.Ill try it so. I think this is called ‘keema’ in other recipes.

  5. I would like to make a complaint. Last night I made this curry. It was made in minutes, took no effort apart from chopping the onion and was delicious. The idea was that Id make it last night and let it mature for dinner tonight. My problem? I was caught red handed and red faced eating said curry straight out of the pot with a spoon in the dining room. This curry is the best I have ever made and it the exact taste I’ve been trying to replicate for samosas and meat sung. Cheapeats, I salute you.

  6. My blood runs cold at the words “minced beef curry”. It reminds me of what used to be served up in Dublin nightclubs on paper plates in the 70s and early 80s when you had to have a “substantial meal” to get a late drinks licence!

  7. Hi europhile – minced beef curry or keema is an authentic South Asian dish:

    I know what you mean though – I remember a brief period in the 90s where nightclubs started doing that again. Reading your comment gave me a flashback to being in Ri Ra, standing blinking in the suddenly bright light, being offered a plate of pasta swimming in an inch of tepid water. Blergh.

  8. Softening onion takes way more than 5 minutes, more like 15 minutes.

    It’s a recipe-writing conspiracy:

    Still this recipe looks nice, will try.