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Indian Lamb Keema Rice

Keema rice or a cheats biryani if you like, mine features minced lamb and caramelised onions and is loaded with Indian influenced flavours.

A traditional biryani is a labour of love and takes hours to cook, this simplified but no less delicious recipe is done and dusted in well under an hour.

Keema rice served with kachumber salad and mint raita.

Keema Chawal or Keema Pilau

You really do not have to dig very far on my website to discover my love of Indian-influenced dishes.

This keema rice or keema chawal recipe is a rice dish that is vaguely reminiscent of a biryani just like my Indian-inspired baked one-pot chicken and rice recipe and its Levantine cousin lamb kabsa.

My version of this recipe uses minced lamb, a meat that has a great affinity with Indian flavours as far as I am concerned.

I return to it again and again when working on a new “curry” dish, it features in everything from my keema matar and chicken keema to achar gosht!

Now a good biryani like my chicken tikka biryani or mushroom biryani is a true labour of love and one that I truly enjoy making.

However, as much as the soul is willing sometimes there just ain’t the time and this dish is a great halfway house.

It does feature slowly cooked onions but apart from that, it is a dish that is gloriously quick to make.

Overhead keema rice served with kachumber salad and mint raita.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use minced beef?

Yes, but I would personally change the flavours a little, beef and lamb have very different flavour profiles!

I would omit the amchoor and fennel seeds if I were to be cooking this with beef. I would add black onion seeds (nigella seeds) and increase how many cumin seeds I added.

What is jaggery?

Jaggery is an unrefined cane sugar, it has a wonderful flavour and adds a caramel vibe to this keema matar recipe.

But you can substitute it for dark brown sugar if you wish.

Can this be made in advance?

Yes, but as with all rice dishes you need to ensure that they are both stored and reheated properly.

As a result, this keema rice recipe should be chilled as quickly as possible and stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. It should be reheated so that it is piping hot, I prefer to do this in a wok and add a little water to prevent it from drying out.

Can I use leftover rice?

Yes, of course, knock yourself out!

I’ve even made it with those store-bought packets of rice from the supermarket as a test and it worked remarkably well. You do need to add a little more salt and you also have more headroom to add spices to the meat when you do this.

What is amchoor?

Amchoor is made from dried green mango and it has a distinctly sour taste.

Don’t worry about having this knocking around in the cupboard, I use it a lot in Indian-inspired food. It features in dishes ranging from my chicken tikka kebab skewers to my prawn and mango curry.

Close up keema rice served with kachumber salad and mint raita.

Serving Suggestions

I like to serve this keema rice or keema chawal recipe with similar sides to the ones I choose for a biriyani.

For me, that means my take on a kachumber salad and a stripped back mint raita.

Indian-style flatbreads work particularly well too. In a rare break from my usual preference of naan bread, I like to serve this recipe with chapatis instead.

Although I am particularly fond of serving this with some perfectly crisp poppadoms!

Pickles and chutneys on the side also work really well with this rice dish.

My two favourites are lime pickle and mango chutney, but you should run with your favourites!

Keema rice or keema chawal served with kachumber salad and mint raita.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think 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.

  • Hob/stovetop.
  • 28cm or 11″ frying pan, not nonstick if possible.
  • 15-16cm or 6″ saucepan with a lid.
  • Sieve or colander.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Stirring and serving spoons.
  • Grater.
  • A combination of weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
Keema rice or keema chawal served with kachumber salad and mint raita.
Yield: 2 Servings

Keema Rice Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Keema chawal or keema rice is a delicious and homely dish featuring well-spiced minced lamb, my version adds peas and lots of fresh coriander.


For the Rice:

  • 100g (½ Cup) Basmati Rice
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 3 Cracked Green Cardamom Cloves
  • 1 Stick Of Cinnamon
  • 1 Whole Blade of Mace
  • 250ml (1 Cup) Cold Water
  • ½ Tsp Salt

For the Minced Lamb:

  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 200g (1⅓ Cup) Onions
  • 1 Tbsp Ghee
  • 350g (12oz) Minced Lamb
  • 8 Curry Leaves
  • 4 Green Chilli Peppers
  • 1 Tsp Fennel Seeds
  • ½ Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Black Mustard Seeds
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 15g (Half Thumb Sized Piece) Ginger
  • ½ Tsp Ground Turmeric
  • ½ Tsp Groud Coriander
  • ½ Tsp Ground Amchoor
  • ½ Tsp Black Pepper
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Pomegranate Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 Tbsp Jaggery
  • 75ml (⅓ Cup) Water
  • 100g (1 Cup) Peas
  • 50g (~⅔-1 Cup) Coriander


  1. Wash the basmati rice thoroughly and allow to soak in cold water for 20 minutes.
  2. Peel the onion and cut it in half lengthways, then slice it into half-moon shapes 3-5mm thick.
  3. Heat a 28cm, 11" frying pan (not non-stick) over a medium-low heat and when it is hot add the cooking oil.
  4. Add the onion to the pan and allow to cook for 30-35 minutes stirring every 5 minutes or so. If the onions begin to brown quickly reduce the heat a little.
  5. Add all of the ingredients for the rice into a small saucepan (15-16cm or 6") with the cold water and bring to a rolling boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
  7. Add the soaked and washed rice to the water and add a lid.
  8. Cook for 8-9 minutes then remove from the heat and allow to steam with the lid on for 5 minutes.
  9. Pierce the green chillies with the tip of a knife 3 or 4 times.
  10. Peel the garlic cloves and mash them into a paste.
  11. Peel and grate the ginger.
  12. If you are using frozen peas defrost them by running them under cold water.
  13. By now the onions should be nicely caramelised, transfer them to a bowl and put the pan back on a high heat.
  14. Add the ghee to the pan and when it melts throw in the green chillies, curry leaves, fennel, cumin and mustard seeds and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly.
  15. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, coriander and amchoor and stir for 30 seconds.
  16. Throw in the minced lamb, salt and pepper, then cook over a high heat for 5-7 minutes stirring regularly.
  17. Add the cooked onions, tomato puree, jaggery, fenugreek leaves and dried pomegranate seeds, then pour in the water and cook for another 5 minutes.
  18. Pick the aromats from the cooked rice and discard them, then stir the rice through the minced lamb cooking until the rice is piping hot.
  19. Finally, add the peas and coriander and cook for a final minute.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 930Total Fat: 47gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 170mgSodium: 1085mgCarbohydrates: 73gFiber: 13gSugar: 23gProtein: 58g

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!


Monday 11th of April 2022

This looks so good, the ingredients tell me that this is packed with flavour and just as good as a restaurant dish!

Brian Jones

Friday 29th of April 2022

Thanks Camilla

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