A popular street food in India- Kheema Pav is ground meat (lamb or beef) cooked in a sauce of tomatoes, ginger-garlic, onions and fragrant ground spices, served with lightly toasted & buttered buns. It’s Bombay’s (Mumbai’s) version of the Sloppy Joe!
Move over canned Sloppy Joe mix, because these guys are the real deal. A popular street food in some parts of India especially Mumbai (formerly Bombay), Kheema or Keema is essentially ground/minced beef, lamb or chicken. It’s cooked in with onions, ginger-garlic, fragrant spices and tomatoes. Often peas and some times even small cubes of potatoes are cooked in with the meat. The curried minced meat (usually with an added pat of butter on top) is served simply in a steel plate with a soft, cheap white bun called ‘Pav’ or ‘Pau’, a wedge of lime and some sliced onions. As Indians we eat the dish by tearing off pieces of the bread and using it to scoop the kheema into your mouth and using more bread to sop up all the juicy curry after all the meat is gone.
The curried meat mixture which can be made saucy or dry is very flavorful and can be super versatile to use in sloppy joes, eat with Naan or rice, fill into samosas, make into stuffed flat breads (parathas/kulchas) or even to top fries or nachos for and Indian twist on a meal/appetizer. In my version today I decided to go the Sloppy Joe route and serve it up stuffed between a buttered and lightly toasted bun.
This recipe is very simple, and the only key to the spice powder (masala) to use fresh whole spices lightly toasted in a dry pan before grinding them down into a fine powder. You can easily double or triple this spice mix and store it in an airtight jar for use in flavoring other meat dishes.
- 1 1/2 lb ground Beef/Lamb
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 medium Onion, grated
- 1/2 Tbsp Garlic, grated
- 1/2 Tbsp Ginger, grated
- 2 large Tomatoes, grated
- 1/2 cup peas (optional)
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 Cup + extra (for garnish) fresh Cilantro, chopped
- 1 Lime, wedges
- 1 small red onion, sliced (for serving)
- 1 Jalapeno, sliced (for serving)
- 4 Buns
- 1 Tbsp Coriander seeds
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 inch Cinnamon stick,
- 4-5 Cloves
- 4-5 Cardamom Pods
- 1/2 tsp Black Peppercorns
- 4-5 Dry Kashmiri Chili Peppers/ 1 1/2 tsp Red Chili Powder
- - Lightly toast all the spices mentioned above in a dry pan over medium heat. Stir them around to make sure they don't burn and toast them until they turn lightly brown and are fragrant.
- - Transfer the toasted spices to a spice blender/ coffee grinder and allow them to cool, before grinding them into a fine powder.
- - Heat some olive oil in a deep pan on medium high and sautee the grated onion for 5-8 minutes until it started caramelizing (turning light golden)
- - Then add the grated ginger and garlic and fry them for a minute or two until they release their flavor.
- - Add the grated tomatoes and saute for another 5-10 minutes until they dry out and cook well.
- - Add the spice mix powder to the tomato paste and cook for a minute or two.
- - Add the ground beef or lamb and salt to taste. Stir well to coat the meat in the spice paste.
- - Lower the heat, cover and allow the meat to simmer in the spices until it is cooked through. About 15 minutes or so. If your meat is sticking to the pan add a touch of water to loosen the sauce up a little.
- - Add the peas and cook for another 5 minutes or so until tender.
- - Turn the heat off and stir in the chopped cilantro and squeeze a couple lime wedges into the meat.
- - Serve with buttered and lightly toasted buns, extra lime wedges, sliced onions and jalapenos.