Kheema: Indian Comfort Food

Kheema: Indian Comfort FoodI get really excited when I find a new ground beef recipe to add to my arsenal. It’s so rare to find a truly good one.

I picked up another cookbook from the library, featuring recipes from Food Network chef, Aarti Sequeira, who charmed me into checking out her Indian cookbook with her adorable accent and bright smile.

This recipe is very simple to execute and aside from the list of spices, it has very few ingredients which makes it easy on the wallet.

Oh ya, and most importantly this recipe gives you the excuse to eat naan, which makes me giddy. If you haven’t tried Trader Joe’s naan, you must!

For me, this meal was total comfort food. The spices give it a warm savory quality and there is something satisfyingly primal about shoveling and sopping up meat juices with a floppy piece of bread (even if “meat juices” is a phrase that makes me squirm).


30 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings



  • 3 tablespoons canola or sunflower oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 pound ground beef (I used ground chuck which has an 80/20 fat ratio)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 1 cup) or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes (plain or fire-roasted), drained
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 teaspoons malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 pieces of naan, chapatis or pita bread


  1. In a large skillet, warm the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and sauté until they're golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger, cook, stirring often, for another minute, then add the coriander, paprika, garam masala, cumin and cayenne. Sauté, stirring often to keep the spices from burning, for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the beef, breaking up any lumps with a spoon, and cook until the meat is no longer pink and all the liquid has been absorbed, 6 to 7 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and water and season with salt and pepper. Partially cover the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the peas and cook for about 5 minutes more.
  6. Stir in the vinegar and cilantro. Taste for salt and pepper, and serve with warm, buttered naan.
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