Keema madras curry

Keema madras curry

Tara Fisher

Keema curries are made with minced meat. You can make this with the same quantity of diced lamb shoulder if you like, but mince is nice for a change. I worked with many Indian chefs during my time as a cook on cruise ships, and learnt many great recipes. This one was for ‘staff chow’, as they called it. It went on the stove when the restaurant started to slow down for the night, and we all dived in once we’d finished our shifts. Making your own curry powder is easy, and it’s important here as the bought ones can vary a lot in quality.


Quantity Ingredient

Madras curry powder:

Quantity Ingredient
1 cinnamon stick
3 dried red chillies
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
5 curry leaves
2 teaspoons turmeric

Lamb madras:

Quantity Ingredient
100g ghee or clarified butter, (see method)
2 green bird’s eye chillies
2 garlic cloves
2cm piece of fresh ginger
1kg lamb mince
3 onions
6 tomatoes
12 curry leaves
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. First, make the madras curry powder. Break the cinnamon stick into pieces. Heat a frying pan until medium hot, add all the spices and toast for 20–30 seconds, until just coloured. Tip them straight out into a spice grinder or pestle and mortar. Grind to a fine powder, then set aside.
  2. If you need to make clarified butter, melt 150g butter in a small pan, then set aside to allow the solids to fall to the bottom of the pan. Skim the melted butter off the top and use it, discarding the solids.
  3. To make the curry, finely chop the chillies, garlic and ginger. Place half the ghee or clarified butter, the chillies, garlic and ginger in a small food processor and process to a purée. Transfer to a bowl with the lamb mince and mix well to combine, then place in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, roughly chop the onions and tomatoes. Heat a large frying pan until hot, add the remaining ghee or clarified butter and the onions and cook over a medium heat for 20 minutes, until softened and brown, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat, add the lamb mince and cook until browned, stirring frequently, then add 3 tablespoons of the madras curry powder and the curry leaves and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 150ml water and salt, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook over a low heat for 1½ hours, until tender and just thickened.
  5. Chop the coriander leaves, then add them to the curry with the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper if needed, then serve with some plain steamed rice, poppadoms and mango chutney.
James Martin
Saturday Kitchen
slow cooking
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