Keema pau

Keema pau

A Lot on Her Plate
Helen Cathcart

Dishoom is a London restaurant based on the eccentric, crumbling Irani cafés founded by the Parsi settlers in Mumbai during the 19th century. Fusing elements of Irani and Indian food, these informal eating spaces developed their own unique cuisine. On my travels to Mumbai with the Dishoom crew I was lucky enough to meet the characters that run these special, fading cafés, and one of my favourite dishes was Keema Pau – lusciously oily spiced lamb mince and peas, scooped up with freshly-baked hot buttered toasted bread rolls. Naved Nasir, Dishoom’s executive chef, has created his own version, and kindly let me share it here. Although not strictly authentic, I like to eat it with my Cumin brioche in the place of pau: the cumin complements the lamb wonderfully. But if you’re short on time, just use store-bought bread rolls or brioche.


Quantity Ingredient
25ml vegetable oil
1 large white onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500g lamb mince
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
pinch plain flour
2 heaped tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves, plus extra to garnish
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves
1 small green chilli, finely chopped
50g plain yoghurt
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 bay leaf
50g fresh or frozen garden peas, cooked
4 Cumin brioche
or 4 soft bread rolls
butter, for spreading
lime wedges, to serve


  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat and sauté the onion until golden brown.
  2. Add the ground coriander, ginger and garlic. Sauté for 3–4 minutes until they start to colour and the oil separates. Add the lamb mince and salt, and fry over a high heat for about 5 minutes until it browns and dries up a little. Add the flour.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the coriander, spring onion, mint and green chilli to make a coarse paste. Add the yoghurt to the lamb and sauté for a moment, then add the green herb paste and cook for 4–5 minutes until the oil separates. Add the diced tomatoes, bay leaf and peas. Cook for a further 5–8 minutes until the tomatoes are soft.
  4. Cut the brioche or bread rolls in half and toast until golden brown. Butter while hot.
  5. Serve the mince in little dishes, garnished with fresh coriander leaves, with the buttered brioche or rolls and wedges of lime alongside. If you like, you can eat this like a sloppy Joe, filling your buns with the mince.
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