Food for Thought: Hyderabadi Kheema

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The other day a colleague remarked that she knows her body needs protein when she starts losing focus, makes silly mistakes and feels edgy and irritable.

Now this sounded alarmingly like my permanent state of mind. Perhaps I was not ingesting enough protein? I mulled this over as I drove home. I needed to eat protein quickly, and then take an IQ test before I turned in for the night.

The problem is, you won’t catch me chewing on tuna straight out of a can or salivating over chicken nuggets from a box, just to get a protein fix. I didn’t feel like slaving over the stove for the greater part of what was a wonderful summer evening. And our BBQ grill was out of gas.
I opened my almost-empty freezer with trepidation and gave a whoop of delight as I saw a pound of minced turkey juxtaposed between a packet of green beans and a few whole grain waffles (no protein here).

I felt focused and intelligent already.

Hyderabadi Kheema

Minced meat or kheema is a staple in my freezer and invariably a part of my weekly grocery list. It is quick to cook, delicious and very versatile. I alternate between minced chicken, turkey, goat and lamb depending on the recipe and my prevailing mood. I have fashioned my kheema into succulent meatballs, stir-fried it with spices, baked it into pastas and rolled it into fiery seekh kebabs. I usually use turkey or chicken mince for this recipe, though goat tastes the best.

1 lb minced meat
3 tbsp oil
3-4 cloves
2-3 green cardamoms
1 inch piece cinnamon
4 fresh green chillies
1 medium onion
2 tbsp ginger paste
2 tbsp garlic paste
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 large tomato
½ tsp garam masala
¼ cup chopped coriander leaves
½ a lime
Salt to taste

Chop the onion and tomato finely. Slit the green chillies vertically.

Heat the oil in a large pan or wok. Throw in the cloves, cardamoms and
cinnamon. Sizzle for a minute until the oil becomes aromatic. Add green
chillies, stir for a few seconds, and toss in the chopped onion. Fry
gently until the onions become translucent, bordering on golden. (Important: Do not brown the onions).
is browned (about 10 minutes), toss in the chopped tomato and stir. Sprinkle with a little water to moisten, cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes. Add the garam masala just a minute or two before turning off the stove and stir. Garnish with coriander leaves and lime juice before serving.

Add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry for five minutes. Then add turmeric, red chilli and coriander powder. Fry for two more minutes, stirring continuously so as not to burn the spices.

Now add the kheema. Increase heat a little bit and stir to break up and blend in with the spice mixture. Add the salt. Once the kheema

Best with rice, rotis or stuffed into pita bread. I sometimes throw in half a cup of frozen peas or edamame when adding the tomato if I am feeling virtuous.

Serves 2.


  1. My Kids love this Kheema.....

  2. Ferooza - thanks for trying it. What kind of kheema did you use?


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