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Indian Spiced Beef and Peas (Keema Matar)

4 Servings

40 minutes

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Keema matar, from the Indian subcontinent, is often made with ground lamb or mutton and potatoes, but we use ground beef and green peas. The garam masala adds robust spiciness, but not much chili heat. If you'd like the bite of chili in the dish, serve it with hot sauce or minced fresh jalapeños or serranos. Warm naan is the perfect accompaniment to keema, but basmati rice is also good.




Don't stir in the yogurt without first letting the keema matar cool for about 5 minutes. Adding the yogurt while the mixture is piping hot increases the chances the yogurt will curdle.

40 minutes



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Becky W.
February 9, 2023
So delicious!
This is one of the first Milk Street recipes I made and we loved it! It was a little different technique than I have used in the past. The meat stayed soft and the flavors mixed together so nicely. It calls for A LOT of salt, but I halved that and it was lovely.
Erin H.
May 28, 2022
Easy and flavorful
Followed recipe as written. Will make again.
Michael C.
June 30, 2023
Subtle & Savory
Just the right amount of spices. Not too overwhelming. Excellent.
Denise M.
March 5, 2023
Too salty
I made the version from the cookbook which still says 4 tsp of salt. My entire meal was ruined and all those ingredients/money wasted. I thought it sounded like a bit too much but I was like well, Milk Street hasn’t steered me wrong too often. I see now the online recipe is changed to a 2 tsp. Guess I have to check every ingredient on every recipe in my cookbooks with the online version for updates , frustrating.
Alisa T.
July 18, 2022
Know your garam masala!
This recipe is very easy to prepare, but there can be a fatal flaw. You must know your garam masala. If you have a pungent, fresh blend, it is imperative to cut the already-generous 3 tbsp called for. It can overpower and make the dish inedible. Likewise, test your ginger first, too. At different ages (aka time on the counter/in fridge), ginger has different pungency.
Brent T.

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Marilyn B.

Does this freeze well as written, or would it be best to eliminate the yogurt before freezing and then adding it before reheating.

George H.

It should freeze well but don’t put in peas or yogurt. When ready to use frozen meal, perhaps add a small a mint of water, reheat, add peas, let cool a little per original directions and add yogurt.

Charles N.

Might suggest starting with half the salt and a bit less of the garam masala to start. Salt to taste after the peas and yogurt are added. The garam masala (I used Swad brand, often found in Indian grocery stores) was a bit to grainy for my tastes at that amount, though quite flavorful. Providing chopped jalopenos on the side is a nice way to add some brightness and heat. Whole milk yogurt a must. Garlic naan can be found at Trader Joes and works quite well with this dish. I also especially liked the idea of putting the ground beef into the pan in larger pieces and then breaking them up at the end; I could control the mouthfeel and consistency of the dish a bit more....a good thing to remember.

Lisa W.

This was good but lacked something (I did use less salt as we eat lower salt, gluten free and low carb diet). Would a little Rogan Josh seasoning or curry powder add to it?

Lynn C.

Hi Lisa -

This dish relies pretty heavily on garam masala so make sure that yours is as fresh as possible. Additionally, some brands are more potent than others. At Milk Street, we highly recommend buying whole spices and grinding them yourself for the best flavor. To do this, in a dry skillet over medium-low, combine 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon whole green cardamom pods, 1 teaspoon whole cloves, 2 teaspoons black peppercorns and 2 small cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces. Toast, stirring, until fragrant and beginning to brown lightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. Grind in a spice grinder until reduced to a fine powder. To preserve freshness, store in a tightly sealed jar for up to a month. We also have a great DIY whole spice blend in our store that includes all of these spices (and more) that you can grind yourself. As for additions to the dish, you could definitely add curry powder, if you'd like. And, for heat, some fresh, chopped jalapeños or Serranos.

The Milk Street Team

Yaoli Y.

Very delicious. Would not skip on the yogurt, cilantro and raw onion garnish at the end. All of those components were amazing together

William Y.

Does the liquid from the canned tomatoes get used?

Lynn C.

Hi William -

The whole can - tomatoes and juice - is added to the medium bowl and then the tomatoes are crushed by hand into their juices.

The Milk Street Team

Bernie W.

The salt seemed high, so I reduced to 2.5 teaspoons. I had Tumeric and Indian curry powder in the pantry so I added a teaspoon. Mixed in the yogurt when served. so good!

Becky W.

This was one of the very first Milk Street recipes I made and wow, I was converted! After I tasted it, I knew I found a source that fit my theory of cooking--recipes from all over the world with clever use of spices and techniques that excite the palate.

Bernie W.

I added a diced chili along with the garlic and ginger, a nice pop.

Shirley T.

The recipe sounds delicious, but I haven't made it yet. The recipe calls for 4 tsp of salt. Did you at Milk Street really use 4 tsp? I realize I can reduce the amount, but I am curious to learn if you used that much salt. It seems like a very large amount; especially if one uses canned tomatoes with salt.

Cindy A.

This was so good , very balanced when paired with rice & naan and layered on a bed of spinach. The 4 tsp of salt must be a typo. I did 2 tsp and it was perfectly seasoned. The beef is lean so it's a little chewy but I didn't mind. Garam Masala (I used Penzey's brand) is such an interesting spice, there's no cumin so it's a less pungent flavor profile of coriander, clove, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg etc.

Holly L.

Why isn't ground lamb used in this dish? Seems like it would certainly be more authentic than beef since it's an Indian dish. Anyway, I'm trying this recipe tonight using ground lamb instead.


In your recommended homemade garam masala you have no cumin listed. Is that on purpose? I typically use a garam masala mix that includes cumin but wondering if I need to make the one you outlined in the comments.


Not good. I made the suggested garam masala up in the comments since my blend contained cumin. Followed the rest of the directions exactly. It was fine for dinner but the flavors were too sharp. Leftover was actually better since it had time to meld. If you do give this a shot make it ahead of time then reheat to let the flavors marry. Would not repeat. I served this with some basmati, flatbread and some dried fried zucchini.