Spicy Ground Beef with Peas and Chiles

Kheema Mutter

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

660 Curries

By Raghavan Iyer

Published 2008

  • About

More often than not, lamb, mutton, or goat meat is used to make kheema (minced or ground meat) curries. In many non-Hindu households, beef is also an option. In this country, I have found the quality of beef to be quite high (especially the beef from grass-fed cows). Lean ground meat makes for a lower-fat curry without compromising on its succulence. Serve it with a basket of store-bought or homemade rotis.


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 small red onion, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 to 5 fresh green Thai, cayenne, or serrano chiles, to taste, stems removed, finely chopped (do not remove the seeds)
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (each 3 inches long)
  • 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, ground
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup frozen green peas (no need to thaw)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems


  1. Heat the oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they sizzle, turn reddish brown, and are fragrant, 5 to 10 seconds. Immediately add the onion and stir-fry until the slices are limp and light brown, 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add the ginger, chiles, garlic, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves. Cook, stirring, until the mixture is caramel-brown, 5 minutes.
  3. Break up the ground beef (if it is not already loose) and add it to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat browns, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle in the coriander, cumin, salt, and turmeric, stirring to coat the meat with the spices. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 12 minutes, to allow the meat to absorb the complex flavors.
  5. Stir in 1 cup water, and add the peas and cilantro. Continue to simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the peas are cooked, 5 to 8 minutes. Then serve.