Indian Masala Kheema (Dry Spicy Minced Meat)

Masala kheema dry spicy minced meat

The Spruce

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
489 Calories
34g Fat
14g Carbs
33g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 489
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 34g 44%
Saturated Fat 9g 43%
Cholesterol 101mg 34%
Sodium 389mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 33g
Vitamin C 33mg 165%
Calcium 103mg 8%
Iron 6mg 33%
Potassium 824mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for Indian​ masala kheema, which translates roughly as meat mince, can be made with any meat you prefer—chicken, lamb, pork, goat meat, or any combination such as minced pork and veal. This dish, however, has become synonymous with lamb as this is a pantry staple in India.

Masala kheema is a flavorful combination of onion, garlic, ginger, spices, meat, and tomatoes, making a comforting dish that is easily accessible since garam masala is the only truly Indian ingredient. This dish also often contains peas and potatoes. This recipe, however, calls for both garlic paste and ginger paste, which you can make easily on your own, or you can purchase at some grocery stores; look for it in the produce section. The dish is extremely versatile and simply changing the ingredients in the masala (the spice and onion mixture) can result in a great new taste each time.

Serve with chapatis (Indian flatbread) or parathas (pan-fried Indian flatbread) or plain boiled, fragrant basmati rice. Masala kheema can be eaten as a main course for lunch or dinner. It's also good served alongside dal (soup-like lentils) and a leafy green salad for a well-rounded meal. 


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable, canola, or sunflower oil

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste

  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste

  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon garam masala

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • 1 pound ground beef, or any other ground meat

  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for masala kheema dry spicy minced meat
    The Spruce
  2. Heat the cooking oil in a wok or deep pan over medium heat.

    Frying pan coated with oil
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  3. Add the cumin seeds and fry for 1 minute or until the seeds stop spluttering.

    Cumin seeds in frying pan
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  4. Add the onions and sauté till they turn a pale golden color, about 5 minutes.

    Onions and cumin seeds in frying pan
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  5. Add the garlic and ginger pastes and fry for 1 minute to get rid of the "raw" fragrance.

    Frying garlic and ginger pastes, onions, and cumin seeds
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  6. Add the coriander, cumin, garam masala, and salt to taste and sauté, stirring almost continuously, until the oil begins to separate from the masala. (When this happens, you know the spices are cooked to perfection.)

    Sauteing mixture of spices and onions for the masala
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  7. Add the meat to the masala and sauté until browned, stirring often to prevent burning— about 5 to 7 minutes.

    Sauteing meat and spice mixture
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  8. Add the tomatoes, stir, and cook until they are soft.

    Sauteing tomatoes, meat, and spices
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  9. Turn off the heat, add the lime or lemon juice, and stir to mix well.

    Masala kheema in frying pan
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  10. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.

    Masala kheema with chopped coriander in frying pan
    The Spruce


  • For a heartier meal, toss in 1 cup of fresh or frozen green peas and 2 to 3 potatoes (washed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes) just after the meat is browned. It's the perfect one-pot dish for a busy weeknight.
  • If you do have more time on your hands, you can make your own garam masala. Literally meaning "hot spices," this spice mixture doesn't have to be spicy at all. Since recipes can change from region to region, there really is no set ingredient list, although most garam masalas include cumin, coriander, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper. What the recipes do have in common is that the spices are usually toasted in a dry skillet to bring out their essence before being ground together. 

How to Store and Freeze Indian Masala Keema

This is the meal that keeps on giving. Masala kheema tastes even better the next day and makes a great sandwich or wrap filling. This recipe will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, covered. You can reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop over low heat. If you can't use it right away, freeze any leftovers to eat later on. You can also freeze keema, along with rice if desired, for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator or add it frozen to a saucepan over medium-low heat and a little water or oil so it doesn't stick to the pot.

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