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Playing How to Make Kheema (Indian Ground Beef with Peas)

Indian chef, author and Food Network star Aarti Sequeira shares one of her favorite family recipes. It's super easy and super flavorful. Serve it with steamed basmati rice or warm naan.  

"This is an Indian dish called kheema, which is ground beef cooked with a spin around the spice dabba, plus peas and an essential splash of malt vinegar at the end. I still make it every fortnight and my girls go WILD about it just as I did as a girl." —Aarti 

Pro Tip from Aarti: You can use store-bought garam masala or make your own following the recipe at the bottom. My version is hot, but not heavy. 

For two of Rach's most popular Indian recipes, check out her Saag Paneer (Spinach with Cheese) and Butter Chicken


  • 2 pounds ground beef (preferably grass-fed and 80% fat, 20% lean)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • One 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (see Tip)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, chopped, or canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained (either way, about 1 ½ cups)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 teaspoons malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems
Garam Masala (if making):
  • 3 large cinnamon sticks (if you have the kind you get at Indian stores, it's about 3 tablespoons of cinnamon bark bits)
  • 3 tablespoons whole cloves
  • ¼ cup green cardamom pods, shelled and husks discarded (about 2 tablespoons of the seeds)
  • 4 large black cardamom pods, shelled and husks discarded (about 1 tablespoon of the seeds), optional


Serves: 4


In a large skillet warmed over medium-high heat, add the beef. Break it up with spoon, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until it's no longer pink. Remove the meat from the skillet to a plate using a slotted spoon. 

Add the onions to the skillet, season with salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute, stirring often. Add the coriander, paprika, garam masala, cumin, cayenne pepper (if using) and turmeric and saute, stirring often to keep the spices from burning, for about 30 seconds. 

Add the beef back to the skillet and stir well to coat every morsel with the spices. Add the tomatoes, season with a pinch of salt and stir well. Cook until the tomatoes start to soften, then pour in the water and stir well. Cover, turn the heat to low and cook about 10 minutes. 

Add the peas and cook another 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and chopped cilantro. Taste for seasoning and serve! 

Garam Masala (makes about ½ cup): Combine the cinnamon sticks, cloves, green cardamom seeds and black cardamom seeds (if using) in a spice grinder or coffee grinder and grind until fine. Store the spice mix in an airtight container away from direct sunlight.