Chicken Keema

Aviva Ajmeera's chicken keema.

This dish is named for keema, the Urdu word for finely chopped meat. Originally, it was used to describe minced goat meat, but today, keema dishes are made with lamb, beef or chicken. The recipe calls for ghee, clarified butter often used in Indian cooking. If you prefer coconut or canola oil, you can substitute the same amount here.

Serves | 4 to 6 |

  • 4 Tbsp ghee
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 whole green cardamom pods
  • 2 black cardamom pods, ground using a mortar and pestle, outer shell discarded
  • 3 to 5 whole dried red chiles
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced
  • 3 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chile powder
  • 1 6-oz can tomato paste
  • 2 lbs ground chicken
  • 1 cup frozen or canned green peas
  • salt, to taste
  • cooked basmati rice (to serve)

| Preparation | In a cast-iron pot or Dutch oven with a lid over medium-high heat, add first 7 ingredients and sauté. When mixture begins to crackle, reduce heat to medium. Add onion and cook until translucent. Stir in garlic and ginger. When onions begin to caramelize, add next 4 ingredients. Stir until evenly incorporated. Increase heat to medium-high and add tomato paste. Stir to combine. Add ground chicken, using a spatula to break meat down into small pieces. Stir continuously, until chicken is halfway cooked; add peas and season with salt to taste. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked, stirring occasionally. Divide between 4 to 6 serving plates over warm cooked basmati rice and serve.

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