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Kheema (Spicy Ground Meat)




Photo © Molly Watson
This version of a classic north Indian spiced meat mixture makes a regular appearance at my house whenever our meat CSA contains more ground beef or lamb than usual. An accidental double-purchase of ground turkey once led me to discover that the recipe works equally well with ground turkey.

Like the flavors but want a different way to serve it? Try Kheema-Style Burgers.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings


  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef, lamb, or turkey
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, finely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala or 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice


  1. In a large frying pan or skillet over high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion pieces are tender and their edges start to brown, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the beef, lamb, or turkey and sprinkle with the salt. Cook, stirring, until the meat is cooked through. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the coriander and cumin. Stir to combine and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Stir in the turmeric and cayenne. When the spices are all combined, stir in the yogurt. Reduce the heat to medium low or even low to maintain a steady simmer. Partially cover the pan and cook, stirring once in awhile, until the flavors combine and the sauce reduces a bit, 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Add the garam masala and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning (add more salt, lemon juice, or garam masala to taste).

Serve Kheema with flat bread or rice and seasonal vegetables.

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