Turkey or Chicken Keema

This is from Quick and Easy Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey.  For more info on this book look under the cookbooks tab.   Keema is usually made with ground lamb but this recipe calls for ground chicken or turkey.  It tastes MUCH better after a day in the fridge, making it not only quick and easy but also a good thing to make a large quantity of and eat all week when you know that you don’t have time to cook.  I once made this for Chris’ family on Christmas Eve along with spiced cabbage and chick pea pancakes. You can also use keema as a filling for baked samosas.  The pictures here show keema as filling for baked gluten-free samosas.  As you can see,  they looks more like an empanada.    I used the gluten-free empanada dough from this recipe.

This recipe serves 4 to 6 people.  For our wedding welcome dinner our friend Paul (meat cook extraordinaire) multiplied this recipe by TWENTY TWO.  Thats a LOT of meat to cook.  It turned out that with everything else we could have multiplied it by ten and it would have been enough, but it was nice to have it for leftovers later in the weekend.


  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons peeled, finely grated ginger
  • 1 and 1/4 pound ground chicken or turkey
  • 6 or 7 ounces fresh or frozen peas
  • 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a wide pan over medium high heat.
  2. When the oil is hot add the cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaves.  Stir for a few seconds.
  3. Add the onion and fry until the pieces brown at the edges.
  4. Put in the garlic and stir for a few seconds.
  5. Add the ginger and stir for another few seconds.
  6. Add the ground meat and fry and stir until all of the lumps are broken up. (I use a fork or potato masher to get the texture very, very fine and I also like to let the meat begin to brown a bit).
  7. Now add the remaining ingredients.  Stir and mix for another minute before  removing from the heat.  I recommend making this a day ahead.  It improves with time to sit.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. leroy says:

    sylvia made those little perogie/pie things with the turkey…..very good… we have some in the fridge for next day; i have a fridge in the sleeper of my work truck and we are always looking for good road food; these little guys are perfect!……..i am making soup from the running gear of a smoked turkey tonight…. should be good….keep cooking.

  2. Hooray! I’m glad that you like them! Smoked Turkey soup sounds good. I roasted a goose for new years and I think that the soup I made out of the bones was the best part….well that and the fat, which I like to fry potatoes in!


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