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Keema Matar Lamb Mince and Pea Curry

Keema matar is a classic homestyle curry recipe from Pakistan featuring minced lamb or mutton and peas in a generously spiced sauce.

After a leisurely 10 minutes of preparation, this recipe takes a shade over 30 minutes to cook and can be made in advance and reheated.

Overhead keema matar curry cooked and served in a wok.

Lamb Keema Curry with Peas

Yeah, yeah, yeah it’s another curry, what can I say I love Indian flaovurs!

This keema matar recipe is one of my favourites, it is a dish that I am delighted to see appear on more restaurant menus too.

Although making it at home is really simple and far cheaper than your local takeaway!

Lamb is a wonderful meat for Indian and Pakistani food as far as I am concerned. It’s bold flavour and fat content means that it plays so well with heavily spiced dishes.

I use it in everything from my classic lamb madras and lamb rogan josh recipes to less classic inventions like my keema rice recipe and lamb chop curry.

My version of keema matar is mainly Punjabi and Pakistani in influence. It features spice heat from both fresh peppers and Kashmiri chilli powder.

It is also heady with Fenugreek, a herb that I adore along with loads of curry leaves. The sweetness of the peas and the lamb is beautifully balanced with earthy sour tamarind too.

So yeah it is safe to say that this dish is not just a few of my favourite things. It is without question ALL of my favourite things!

Close-up keema matar, a lamb or mutton mince and pea curry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use beef?

Keema just means minced meat so yes, of course! Although I would personally change the spicing a little. Or alternatively, make my minced beef curry. If you have the same question but with chicken, then checkout my chicken keema curry.

If I am making this keema with beef mince I scale back the coriander and cumin in the recipe by half. Then I increase the fenugreek by 50%.

This is a similar spicing to the one that I use in my methi gosht recipe.

If I am using beef I also use ghee rather than oil to approximate the rich mouthfeel that you get from lamb. I personally think it gives a much better balance.

Can I use low-fat minced lamb?

I personally would not, a huge part of both the flavour and texture of keema matar is the fat that comes from the lamb. Using low-fat mince negates that!

Can I use dried curry leaves?

I would not use them, I find them lacking in flavour and they add very little to the recipe.

The good news is that they are relatively easy to find in well-appointed Indian and Pakistani stores. They also freeze wonderfully, so you can buy a load, drop them in the freezer, and always have them to hand.

Why do you defrost the peas?

I do this for two reasons, the first is to avoid adding too much liquid to the curry. The second is to avoid reducing the temperature of the curry and then reheating it.

Can I use tamarind concentrate?

Yes, but I personally find that the concentrates vary greatly in strength, so tread lightly.

If you use too much concentrate I find that it gives dishes a metallic taste and can very quickly spoil the balance of flavours.

Overhead keema matar, a lamb or mutton mince and pea curry.

Serving Suggestions.

Look no further than the good old Mr tandoori naan bread to serve as your bread for this keema matar recipe, although chapatis work really well too!

I often round out this dish by serving a kachumber salad on the side.

That whole minty, onion combination works perfectly with the rich lamb keema and explosions of sweet garden peas.

As a Brit, I do have an affinity for serving this with Bombay potatoes. It is the whole minced meat and potato thing that reminds me of frugal dinners growing up!

If you want to serve it with rice then try a jeera rice, a Pakistani rice flavoured with cumin, cinnamon and sometimes bay.

Keema matar, a lamb or mutton mince and pea curry.

Equipment Used

I only mention specific equipment brands if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • Wok, I use a large carbon steel wok.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Small bowl to soak the tamarind.
  • Fine mesh sieve.
  • Stirring and serving spoons.
  • Kettle or pot for boiling water.
Minced lamb keema matar curry served in a kadai with a naan bread.
Yield: 2 Servings

Keema Matar Curry Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Keema matar is one of the lesser-known Indian Curries, one that features minced or ground meat usually lamb or mutton and sweet green peas. It is simple, delicious, homely and a recipe you all need to know how to make!


  • 400g (14oz) Minced Lamb
  • 50g (1-1½") Cube Tamarind
  • 50ml (3 Tbsp + 1 Tsp) Boiling Water
  • 150g (1 Cup) Onion
  • 1 (100-125g) Medium Tomato
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 4 Green Chilli Peppers
  • 4 Green Cardamom Pods
  • 4 Cloves
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 12-18 Curry Leaves
  • 2 Tbsp Mustard Oil
  • 1 Tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
  • 1 Generous Pinch Salt
  • 1 Tsp Light Brown Sugar
  • 125ml (½ Cup) Lamb Stock (or Water)
  • 2 Tsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves
  • 175g (1¼ Cups) Frozen Peas
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala
  • Lots of Fresh Coriander to Serve


  1. Place the tamarind into a bowl and pour over the boiling water, let it soak for 10 minutes then push it through a fine mesh sieve.
  2. Peel the onion, then chop it into a 4-5mm (¼") dice.
  3. Cu the tomato into a rough 1cm dice.
  4. Peel the garlic and dice it as finely as you can.
  5. Cut the chilli peppers in half lengthways.
  6. Bash the cardamom pods with the side of a knife to crack them open.
  7. Heat the oil in a wok over a medium-high heat.
  8. Add in the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, green chillies and curry leaves and stir fry them for 30 seconds.
  9. Throw in the diced onion and cook for 3-5 minutes or until they become golden brown.
  10. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  11. Turn the heat up to maximum and throw in the minced lamb and fry hard until it is all browned and nicely coloured. This will take around 8-10 minutes.
  12. Reduce the heat to medium and add in the coriander, cumin, turmeric, chilli powder and fenugreek and stir.
  13. Throw in a generous pinch of salt, brown sugar, tamarind and the lamb stock or water and then cook for another 10 minutes, if the curry dries out too much add a little more liquid.
  14. Whilst the curry is cooking place the frozen peas in a sieve or colander and run cold water over them to defrost them.
  15. After the keema has had 10 minutes throw in the peas and cook for two minutes or until the peas have heated through.
  16. Finally, throw in lots of coriander and stir through the garam masala and allow to sit for a couple of minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 871Total Fat: 49gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 194mgSodium: 496mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 12gSugar: 21gProtein: 60g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Nick Marshall

Friday 10th of February 2023

Is the previous version of this still available?

Nick Marshall

Thursday 23rd of February 2023

@Brian Jones, Thanks very much, most appreciated

Brian Jones

Tuesday 14th of February 2023

Hi Nick... Hi Nick

I revisit recipes every so often to reflect where I am as a cook.

However, I do have the old recipe pasted below for you :)

All the best.


350 g (12.5 oz) Ground Lamb Shoulder 125 g (1/2 Cup) Onion 4 Cloves Garlic 2 Medium Spiced Red Chilli Peppers 30 g (1 Tbsp) Ginger 6 Black Peppercorns 4 Green Cardamom 2 Cloves 1 Bay Leaf 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil 1 Tsp Coriander Powder 1 Tsp Ground Cumin 1 Tsp Ground Turmeric 1/2 Tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder 1/2 Tsp Ground Fenugreek 1 Pinch Salt 250 ml (1 Cup) Water 175 g (1 1/4 Cups) Frozen Peas 1 Tsp Garam Masala Instructions Cut the onion into a 4-5mm dice. Mash the garlic and grate the ginger. Heat the oil in a heavy based pan over a medium high heat Add in the black pepper, cardamom, cloves and bay leaf and allow to sizzle for 30 seconds. Throw in the diced onion and cook for 5 minutes. When lightly browned add in the ginger, garlic paste and chilli and cook for a further minute. Add in the minced lamb turn up the heat to high. Cook until browned which should take around 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add in the coriander, cumin, turmeric, chilli powder and fenugreek and stir. Throw in a generous pinch of salt and the water and then cover and cook on low for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and add in the peas before turning up heat and cooking until the liquid has reduced by half which should take 3-4 minutes or so. Take off the heat and stir in the garam masala and allow to sit for 2 minutes before serving.


Monday 14th of March 2022

Loved this recipe, I bought a lamb shoulder joint, removing some of the fat before mincing it, which tasted yummy. I used half the suggested water and still found this left enough sauce. Will certainly make again. I made this ahead of needing it and put it in the freezer for a couple of weeks which I think can intensify the flavours. Thanks

Brian Jones

Monday 14th of March 2022

Glad you enjoyed it Ian :)

John B

Thursday 13th of August 2020

Tried many of your recipes with excellent results. Unfortunately this time not so got. Not sure what I did wrong. It was chilli warm but no flavour and with fatty lamb taste. Any ideas, suggestions.

John Barfoot

Tuesday 26th of January 2021

@Brian Jones, Hi Brian. Just tried it again. Much better. Very good on jacket potato. Can yo do it with soya mince

Brian Jones

Saturday 29th of August 2020

Hi John... Sorry it took a while to respond you wrote to me whilst I was on a break. Sorry to hear that you are not a fan of this, I am not sure what went "wrong" I make this as often as I can get lamb and I love it. My only thought is that the lamb that you had was particularly fatty or pumped full of liquid which means when you add more water at step 10 it would water everything down?

I would possibly try and not add so much water at step 10 if the base of the pan has a reasonable amount of liquid covering it, and if that liquid looks very fatty drain most of it and just add water.

Also I also must add that this Is not meant to be a typical "curry" dish and it is not very saucy, it is very much a spiced lamb mince recipe.



Wednesday 17th of April 2019

What kind of chile?

Brian Jones

Thursday 18th of April 2019

Use the type of chili that you are comfortable with using, all have different flavour profiles and heat intensities but most importantly we all have different tolerances to capsaicin. What is mild to one is often a raging pit of fire to another.

Karen McDonald

Sunday 3rd of June 2018

I made this last night and it was fabulous! Easy to follow directions and it was so flavorful and delicious! My husband and I had to push ourselves away from the table to keep from eating the entire recipe in one sitting. This is a keeper for sure. We will be making this regularly.

Brian Jones

Monday 4th of June 2018

Glad you like it Karen it is a firm favourite for us too!

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