Recently, I had a wonderful holiday in Northern Pakistan and enjoyed the local cuisine. One of the local dishes served for nearly every meal is chicken keema. I still crave the flavor of this dish after returning home, and therefore, I want to make this dish at home based on what I have tasted during my trip.
Chicken Keema (also spelled as chicken qeema) is a popular dish with minced chicken, onions, tomatoes, and various spices and herbs. I enjoyed having it with rice, naan, and chapati. It is very easy to prepare as all the ingredients are common in most home kitchens.
Chicken Keema can also satisfy various palates and preferences. The consistency can vary, and I prefer mine to be thick and slightly dry, which is how I’ve had it during my holiday. Below is my version of the Chicken Keema recipe.
1. Ingredients required to prepare chicken keema
The primary ingredient is chicken, but you can substitute it with other meats like mutton mince. This recipe is highly versatile.
You can use the store-bought minced chicken or your homemade chicken mince. The texture of ground meat is finer when processed in an electric food processor than manual mincing.
I recommend using chicken thighs when making this recipe. Chicken thigh meat has a higher fat content than breast meat, which makes it more tender.
If you prefer making mutton keema, you can easily substitute the minced chicken with minced mutton and follow the same recipe.
b. The masala
The taste of chicken keema primarily relies on the spices’ quality. Therefore, I suggest using fresh, high-quality masala powder to ensure the best flavor. If you opt for store-bought masala powder instead of grinding the whole spices with a spice grinder, please ensure that the spices are fresh with a long expiry date.
Besides the ground spices, I fry some whole bay leaves, green cardamom, cloves, cumin seeds, and cinnamon sticks briefly before adding the chicken to the pan. Black cardamom is also popular, but since it was unavailable, I excluded it while I prepared my chicken keema. These spices can enhance the automatic flavor of the whole dish.
c. Other ingredients
Other ingredients include clarified butter (ghee) or vegetable oil to saute the dry spices. You will also require chopped onion, tomatoes, or tomato puree as a substitute.
Besides that, prepare some chopped garlic and ginger. If you’re short on time, use store-bought ginger-garlic paste instead of chopping the ginger and garlic yourself. However, since I use a lot of garlic and ginger in my home cooking, I prefer to chop them myself.
Lastly, prepare chopped green chilies, Kasuri methi, fresh coriander leaves, and plain yogurt.
Green peas are a good addition if you like to include some vegetables in this dish.
Let’s start cooking the chicken keema once you have all the ingredients ready.
2. How to cook chicken keema masala
Below are the step-by-step instructions on how to prepare the chicken keema. I have also added an accompanying video on preparing it on this page.
- First, heat some clarified butter or oil in a pan. Add the dry whole spices, including bay leaves, cumin seeds, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. Fry the spices gently over low heat for 30 to 45 seconds until the aroma rises.
- Next, add the diced onions to the fragrant spices and sauté over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes until they turn tender and slightly brown. While sautéing, add the ginger paste and garlic paste. Then, chop some green chilies and add them to the pan.
- When the onions turn slightly brown, add all the dry ground spices listed in the recipe and mix them well with the onions over low heat to avoid burning.
- Once the mixture becomes quite dry, add minced chicken and mix well. Continue cooking over low to medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the liquid released from the meat starts to dry out.
- Add chopped tomato or tomato puree to the pan and cook until it becomes homogeneous. Add a few tablespoons of water, turn to medium-low heat, and continue simmering for another 5 to 7 minutes or until the oil separates at the side of the pan.
- Then, add the yogurt to the minced meat and combine. You can use coconut milk instead of yogurt for this recipe.
- Adjust the taste by adding salt to season the chicken. Also, do a taste test to see if there’s a need to add any additional ground spices. Continue cooking until the water is reduced to the desired consistency.
- Lastly, add the kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves), a squeeze of lime juice, and chopped coriander. Mix well and transfer it to a serving plate.
- Garnish with coriander leaves or mint leaves, and serve with rice, hot naan, or chapati.
As I mentioned earlier, chicken keema was served for every meal during our trip to Pakistan. I noticed that everyone in our group loved this dish. If you prepare it at home, you can adjust the spiciness to your preference. It is heavenly and delicious when served with jeera rice, butter naan, or chapati.
Now it’s your turn to make it at home, and share your experience in the comments section below. Enjoy!
Other related recipes to chicken keema curry on this food blog
If you enjoyed this easy chicken keema recipe, check out these popular recipes on this food blog.
- Aloo gobi is a classic Indian vegetarian dish that’s loved by many. It’s made using potatoes and cauliflower and is a perfect alternative for those who don’t eat meat but want a delicious vegetarian meal.
- Chicken keema is best served with naan or chapati. Here’s an easy chapati recipe you can follow whenever you want to serve it with chicken keema.
- Cabbage thoran is a simple vegetarian dish commonly served in most Indian restaurants in Malaysia. It’s worth giving it a try!
- 3 tbsp butter or cooking oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 green cardamon
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 4 cloves
- 1 cinnamon sticks
- 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
- 2 tsp ginger paste
- 2 tsp garlic paste
- 2 green chilies, chopped
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 250g chicken
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 medium-sized tomato, diced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp kasuri methi
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander
- Squeeze of lime juice (optional)
- Coriander leaves to garnish
- Fry the dry whole spices in Ingredients A with oil over low heat for 30 to 45 seconds until the aroma rises.
- Next, add the diced onions and sauté until they turn tender and slightly brown. While sautéing, add the ginger paste, garlic paste, and chopped green chilies.
- After that, add all the dry ground spices listed in Ingredients C and mix them well.
- Add minced chicken and cook over low to medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes until the meat dries.
- Add chopped tomatoes and a few tablespoons of water, turn to medium-low heat, and continue simmering for another 5 to 7 minutes or until the oil separates.
- Pour in the yogurt, kasuri methi, and chopped coriander. Mix well and transfer it to a serving plate.
- Garnish with coriander leaves.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Pre-Seasshioned Cast Iron Skillet 2-Piece Set (10-Inch and 12-Inch) Oven Safe Cookware - 2 Heat-Resistant Holders - Indoor and Outdoor Use - Grill, Stovetop, Induction Safe
Original Grass-Fed Ghee by 4th & Heart, 16 Ounce, Keto, Pasture Raised, Non-GMO, Lactose Free, Certified Paleo
Asian Kitchen Ginger-Garlic Cooking Paste 26.5oz (750g) ~ Vegan | Glass Jar | Gluten Free | NON-GMO | No Colors | Indian Origin
OMorc 2" Spice Herb Grinder 4 Piece Set-Black
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 325Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 387mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 18g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 11/14/2023