Like many Northern Indian recipes, keema matar calls for a technique known as tarka: that is, frying whole spices and aromatics—such as coriander, cumin, and dried chiles—in clarified butter, or ghee, to enhance their flavor.
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 (3 1⁄2″) piece fresh ginger, peeled (2″ sliced, 1 1⁄2″ julienned)
- 2 tsp. plus 1 tbsp. garam masala
- 2 tsp. turmeric
- 1⁄3 cup ghee (like Sagar Pure Ghee)
- 1 tsp. coriander seeds
- 1⁄2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 3 whole whole dried chiles de árbol
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 1⁄2 lb. ground lamb or beef
- 3 medium plum tomatoes, cored and quartered lengthwise
- 1 cup whole-milk yogurt
- 1 1⁄2 cups frozen peas, thawed
- 1⁄2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
- Put garlic, sliced ginger, 2 tsp. garam masala, turmeric, and 1⁄2 cup water into a blender and purée to a wet paste. Set spice paste aside.
- Heat the ghee in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the coriander, cumin, chiles, and bay leaf; stir until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Stir in the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until lightly golden, 6–7 minutes. Add the reserved spice paste and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is caramelized, 3–4 minutes. Add lamb (or beef, if using) and cook, stirring and breaking it up into small pieces, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the plum tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes more.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the julienned ginger, remaining garam masala, yogurt, peas, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately with rice or flatbread, if you like.