If you've not yet discovered the mouth-watering brilliance of lamb keema rice you are in for a treat. It's one of those nifty recipes that's quick, easy and bursting with delicious aromatic flavours, made with a tasty blend of spices, onions, and juicy ground lamb that pairs perfectly with fluffy rice. And it gets even better when served with chopped fresh coriander/cilantro and a cooling dollop of yoghurt.
Lamb mince is rich and delicious, but what's even better is how quick and easy it is to prep and cook. If you're tempted by my keema rice you should check out my Stuffed Courgettes and lamb mince flatbreads too.
The post contains additional information and helpful tips to ensure the recipe turns out great the first time. Please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end if you are in a hurry!
✅ 5 reasons why you'll love this recipe:
- Quick and easy
- Fragrant and flavourful
- Made with pantry cupboard ingredients
- Enjoy as a main or side
- Make-ahead friendly
What is keema rice?
Keema rice is a tasty South Asian dish that's made with ground meat (usually beef or lamb) and rice. First, you cook up the meat with some spices and veggies like onions, ginger, garlic, and green chilli peppers. Then you mix the cooked meat with cooked rice and top with fresh coriander/cilantro.
Keema rice is a filling and flavourful meal that you can enjoy as your main or side dish. People usually eat it with yoghurt or raita and poppadums.
If you have cooked rice ready to go, keema rice is a super speedy meal to prepare, just like my Thai Basil Fried Rice and Singapore Fried Rice. Thankfully there are many ways to put leftover rice to good use.
This easy keema rice recipe requires just 10 key ingredients (plus butter and salt). Most of them are pantry staples that you are likely to have at home already.
- Butter: You can also fry the onions in oil, but butter is my preference because it adds richness.
- Green chillies: These add fragrant heat. You can use red chillies instead or a little chilli powder. Feel free to adjust the level of heat to suit your palette.
- Garlic: I always use fresh garlic but you could use ¼ - ½ teaspoon of garlic powder instead.
- Ginger: Fresh is recommended.
- Lamb mince: Use 20% fat if possible, it has better flavour and texture than the leaner types.
- Curry powder and garam masala: mild, medium or hot curry powders will all work well. If you don't have garam masala you can omit it and still have a tasty dish.
- Frozen peas: you could also use finely chopped green beans or courgette/zucchini.
- Rice: cooked basmati white rice tends to be my go-to but most types will work so choose the one you fancy. If you're in a hurry, a packet of pre-cooked rice can be a godsend on a busy day.
- Switch up the minced meat: Feel free to use chicken, beef or turkey mince instead of lamb.
- Add vegetables: Like peppers, beans and carrots.
- Spicy: Make the dish with hotter chillies or add chilli powder or hot sauce.
- Topped with toasted nuts: Like almonds or pistachios.
- Lentils: Swap the rice for cooked lentils.
The best way to cook rice
If you cook rice often, say 3 times a week or more, a rice cooker is a worthwhile investment. When it comes to beloved kitchen gadgets mine is certainly in the top 5. It's great how you can set it and forget about it and enjoy perfectly cooked rice every time. The keep-warm function means you don't have to worry about timings and is also handy if the people in your household eat at different times.
If rice is more of a now-and-again food in your house, cooking rice in the pan is just as effective. Simply rinse the rice first with cold water until it runs clear. Then add it to the pan and pour on water, aiming for a rice-to-water ratio of 2:1. Add salt, bring the water to boil and then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15 - 25 minutes until the water is gone. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes, fluff up and enjoy.
Note that the cooking time for rice will vary depending on the type of rice you're using. Make sure you check the instructions on the packet.
Step 1: Place a large frying pan on a medium heat and add butter. Add the onions when the butter becomes hot and starts to sizzle and fry the onions for a few minutes until translucent. Then add the chilli, garlic and ginger and fry for a minute or two more until fragrant.
Step 2: Increase the heat of the pan and add the lamb mince and cook until brown. Then add the tomato puree, curry powder, garam masala and salt.
Step 3: Add the peas and cook for a couple of minutes until hot.
Step 4: Add the cooked rice and stir until incorporated. Serve immediately, topped with fresh coriander/cilantro.
Lamb keema rice is nourishing and satisfying. It's certainly a meal in itself but could also be served as a side dish with other Indian Style or curry dishes like Egg Keema, Creamy Turkey Curry or Butternut Squash, Chickpea and Spinach Curry.
Here are a few things you can do to beef it up even more.
- Top with a fried egg
- Serve with a kachumber salad
- Enjoy naan bread or poppadum's on the side
👍 Expert tips
- Fry the onions in butter instead of oil - to add tasty rich flavour to the dish.
- Use lamb mince with 20% fat - it's juicier and more flavourful than the leaner varieties.
- Adjust the heat to suit your taste - Add more fresh chillies, or extra chilli powder if you like it hot, or scale back if you don't. The type of curry powder you use will also determine the heat in the dish.
The answer is, it depends! The level of spiciness can vary depending on the recipe and how it's made. Some recipes call for fiery ingredients like chilli peppers, ginger, and garlic, or flavourful spices like garam masala. Not a spice lover? Don't worry, not all keema rice is super spicy! Some recipes are milder and have more subtle flavours. It really comes down to the specific recipe and how you adjust it to suit your tastes.
Taking a few extra minutes to rinse your rice is definitely worth it for a better-tasting dish because it removes any excess starch, debris, and talc that can make your rice sticky or affect its taste. All you need to do is put it in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it under cold running water until it runs clear.
Keema is basically a yummy South Asian dish that's made with ground meat. You can make it with whatever meat you fancy including beef, lamb, or chicken. The meat gets cooked up with spices, onions, garlic, ginger, and sometimes peas or veggies are added too.
If you're not a fan of lamb or want to use leaner meat chicken is a great alternative. You just need to swap the lamb mince for the same amount of ground chicken.
Keema is a relatively straightforward dish where ground meat is cooked with onions, tomatoes, and spices, and then mixed with cooked rice. Biryani, is more complex. The meat is marinated in spices, then cooked with parboiled rice in layers. Keema pulao is also a layered rice dish but where the rice is cooked with the other ingredients in the dish using the absorption method.
📦 Storage tips and freezing
Keema rice tastes best when served straight from a hot pan but it can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Simply place it in an airtight container or covered bowl and put it in the fridge as soon as it is cool. Make sure you reheat it thoroughly on the stove or in the microwave before you eat it.
Making ahead and freezing
If you're someone who loves to meal prep or batch cook, this is a great recipe for you! All you need to do is cook up the tasty lamb mince, add the peas but hold off on adding the rice. You can store the fragrant lamb mince in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 3 months. When you're ready to enjoy it, simply reheat it on the stove or in the microwave, stir in some cooked rice and enjoy a tasty meal in no time. Just make sure you defrost frozen lamb mince in the fridge overnight first.
😋 Check out my other rice recipes
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- 1 large frying pan
- 30 g (2 tbsp) butter (Note 1)
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 3 green chillies finely chopped (Note 2)
- 15 g (2 tbsp) ginger grated
- 3 cloves garlic crushed (Note 3)
- 400 g (14 oz) lamb mince ideally 20% fat (Note 4)
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tbsp curry powder (Note 5)
- ½ tsp garam masala (Note 6)
- 1 tsp salt
- 250 g (2 cups) frozen peas
- 700g (24 oz) cooked rice equivalent to 300g or 10.6 oz/3.5 cups uncooked rice (Note 7)
To serve (optional)
- Chopped coriander/cilantro
- Plain or Greek Yoghurt
- Place a pan on a medium heat and add the butter.
- Add the onion when the butter starts to melt and sizzle and fry for a few minutes until soft and translucent.
- Add the green chilli, ginger and garlic and fry for a minute or two more until fragrant.
- Increase the heat of the pan, add the lamb mince and cook until brown, stirring regularly.
- Add the tomato puree, curry powder, garam masala and salt, and stir until incorporated.
- Add the peas and cook for a few more minutes until they are hot.
- Reduce the heat of the pan to medium and stir in the rice.
- Serve immediately with fresh coriander/cilantro and yoghurt.
- Butter: is recommended, but neutral or olive oil can be used instead.
- Green chillies: You can use red chillies instead, or a little chilli powder. Feel free to adjust the level of heat to suit your palette.
- Garlic: Fresh is recommended but you could use ¼ - ½ teaspoon of garlic powder instead.
- Lamb mince: Use 20% fat if possible, it has a better flavour and texture than the leaner types.
- Curry powder: choose mild, medium or hot depending on your preference.
- Garam masala: you can omit it if you need to.
- Rice: most types will work well including white basmati, jasmine, and brown rice.