Ground Lamb with Peas (Keema Matar)

Food Network Canada
6 servings

I cannot imagine our picnics or train rides in India without this dish. For my grandchildren, growing up in America, it is an all-time favorite. Sometimes we eat it with pooris, the deepfried puffed breads, as we did so often in India, and sometimes with rice. When cooking for the children, I leave out all the chilies, whether the powdered red kind or the fresh green variety. My parents did the same for us when we were growing up. I use low-fat yogurt, but you may use whole-milk yogurt if you prefer.



cup plain yogurt
tsp ground turmeric
tsp cayenne pepper
tsp ground cumin
Tbsp ground coriander
tsp salt
1 1 2-inch
piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated to a pulp
good-sized cloves garlic, peeled and crushed to a pulp
lb(s) ground lamb
Tbsp peanut or olive oil
sticks cinnamon, about 2 inches each in length
whole cardamom pods
bay leaves
medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
cup puréed tomatoes (also labeled strained tomatoes or passata)
1 ½
cup fresh (or frozen and defrosted) peas
Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
–2 finely chopped fresh bird’s-eye or cayenne-type green chilies
tsp garam masala


Step 1

Put the yogurt in a bowl and whisk lightly until smooth and creamy. Add the turmeric, cayenne, cumin, coriander, salt, ginger,
and garlic. Mix until well blended.

Step 2

Put the lamb into a large bowl. Pour the yogurt mixture over the top and mix (I use my hands) until thoroughly blended. There should not be any pools of yogurt left.

Step 3

Pour the oil into a large (preferably nonstick) sauté pan and set over medium-high heat. When it is hot, put in the cinnamon, cardamom, and bay leaves. Stir once or twice, and then add the
onion. Stir and fry about 5 minutes, or until the onion pieces are reddish brown.

Step 4

Add all the meat. Stir and cook, breaking up the meat until no lumps and no pinkness are left, about 5 minutes.

Step 5

Add the tomato purée and stir it in. Bring to a simmer. Cover, turn the heat to medium-low, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring every 6–7 minutes and making sure there is enough liquid so the
lamb does not stick to the bottom. Uncover. Most of the liquid should have evaporated by this time. Stir and fry the meat for the
next 5 minutes, removing and discarding the cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and bay leaves. After 5 minutes, spoon out as much of the fat as you can and discard it. Now put in the peas, cilantro, green chilies (if desired), garam masala, and 6 tablespoons water. Mix, cover, and cook on low heat another 6–7 minutes, or until the peas are tender.

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