Ground Beef Curry / Pakistani Kima--My Most Requested Recipe

This Pakistani Kima (ground beef curry) is my most requested recipe, and for good reason! It's a great kid-friendly dish, loaded with healthy ingredients, and is sure to be a favorite in your home.

As far as my family is concerned, I can't serve this enough, and I'm sure you will agree!

ground beef curry (Pakistani Kima) in bowl with spoon

So first of all, let's get the pronunciation of this delicious dish down.  It's Pakistani Kima--pronounced "keema".

It seems every family has at least a few recipes that are sure to please. For us, they are our Egg Roll in a BowlHomemade "Almond Joy®" Bars, "DORITO®" Popcorn, Savory Hummus, Honey Bunches of Coconut ChipsSurprisingly Good Popcorn, and this one--Pakistani Kima, otherwise known as Ground Beef Curry.

However, this one truly is my most requested recipe.  Hands down.

Think you don't like recipes for curry?
Think your kids won't eat it?
Think you don't like international fare?
Think again.

My kids will literally jump up and down every time I make this.

This is one of my stand-by company meals and it is also the one that I like to take to new moms or those who are sick.  Almost without fail, I get a request for the recipe.

And it's great that the main ingredient is ground beef (though you can make it vegan as well) so it is a fairly frugal meal too.

Of course, if you like, you can use any kind of ground meat--kima is traditionally made with lamb frequently. Venison or even chicken or turkey can be substituted also.

spices for ground beef curry (pakistani kima)

Now everyone can enjoy this recipe - though I must confess that I'm a bit hesitant to share - I kinda want to keep the secret all to myself :-).  It's really fun to bless others with something nice, isn't it?

Now, we love international food.  From almost every country.  Some people love Asian food like this Thai Chicken Soup or this Chicken Thigh Curry, but the deep, rich flavors of India, Pakistan, and the like are real hits in our home.

The Origins of this Pakistani Kima

This Pakistani Kima recipe is adapted from one by the same name in the great "back to basics" cookbook, More-With-Less.  I actually didn't get this recipe initially from the cookbook, but from our dear friend, Margaret, who also is the source of my Applesauce Wheat Germ Muffins (w/ GF option).

Margaret, like all of us, is busy.  But unlike me, she does not like to cook.

One pan meals are her specialty (now, I love to cook, but when simple and wonderful go together, I am all ears!) and she shared this one with us at her home years ago.  We loved it and have made it regularly ever since.

Years later, I took out More with Less from the library and saw this recipe and thought, "That's it!  That's the same Kima ("kee-ma") we love!"

I've made a few changes (of course :-)) and it tastes even better (in my humble opinion).

We almost always serve this with:

browning ground beef, onions, and garlic in pan for ground beef curry (pakistani kima)

More Easy Healthy Meals

By the way, for some other great easy and delicious meal ideas, you might be interested in......

- Easy Baked Chicken Nuggets
- Gluten Free Chili Mac - another great one pan meal with a low-carb keto option
- Savory Hummus
- Chicken & Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta
- Oven Barbecued Chicken
- Kid-Friendly Lentils (ready in as little as 9 minutes!)

browning ground beef in pan for ground beef curry (Pakistani kima)

Special Diet Options

  • Low-carb, Keto, or whole30 option: sub green beans for the peas and cauliflower, radishes, or jicama for the potatoes. Kohlrabi is another great option.
  • Vegan: substitute beans or a soy product (like TVP) for the meat. I don’t personally recommend soy, but it does work and tastes great.
  • AIP: Omit the tomatoes for AIP and use this Nomato Sauce instead. Use Green Beans for the peas for AIP transition, or use broccoli for full AIP.
  • THM: For those on the Trim Healthy Mama plan, this recipe is a crossover, unless you use the low-carb substitutions for the peas and potatoes. That will make this recipe an "S."
ground beef curry (Pakistani Kima) in pan with spoon

Recipe Notes

  • Dice the potatoes small--as in very small. It’s pretty disappointing to wait the whole 25 minutes and still have crunchy taters! Better yet, you can even cook them with the raw meat since they can often use the extra cooking time.
  • Add the peas later in the cooking time to keep their color more vibrant.
  • Add water if needed: You might find a need to add more liquid to the pan prior to or when simmering. If so, add a little at a time so you don't end up with a runny finished dish.
  • Curry Note: I use a mild sweet curry (my youngest doesn’t like spicy anything!) – in case you missed it, here is my Mild Curry Recipe :-). Also, here's a homemade nightshade-free curry recipe.
  • Peeling Garlic: For help peeling garlic, see The Easiest Way to Peel Garlic.
  • Spices: Some readers have mentioned that they have added more or even doubled the spices for this dish. I haven't tried it yet, but you can for sure try this and see how it goes. We do love spices here!
  • Sweet Potatoes: The recipe calls for potatoes but I have done this with sweet potatoes and it’s ahhmazing. Plus it meets paleo standards that way provided you substitute for the peas as well.
ground beef curry (Pakistani Kima) in bowl with spoon
ground beef curry (Pakistani Kima) in bowl with spoon

Pakistani Kima - Ground Beef Curry

This ground beef curry (Pakistani Kima) is my most requested recipe. It's a great kid-friendly dish and is always a winner when company comes.
4.98 from 37 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: AIP, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Low-Carb, Paleo, THM:S, Vegan, whole30
Keyword: ground beef curry, Pakistani Kima
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 526kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 - 3 tablespoons oil (I recommend coconut oil)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (I use 1/4 cup minced)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 pound ground beef (any ground meat works well. See Special Diet Option section for vegan option)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder (see Recipes Notes about spices)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper (omit for AIP)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups tomatoes (about 1 1/2 14 ounces cans--see AIP alternative above)
  • 3 medium potatoes or sweet potatoes (About 4-5 ounces each. See low-carb options in notes. Use sweet potato for AIP)
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups peas (see notes for low carb/paleo options. Use snow peas for AIP)

Instructions

  • Melt oil or butter in a large pan.
  • Add onion and garlic (if using minced, add a bit of water to reconstitute).
  • Cook until onion softens and garlic begins to brown (watch it carefully – garlic burns easily!)
  • Add meat and cook thoroughly.
  • Add curry, salt and spices. Stir well.
  • Dice potatoes.
  • Add potatoes and tomatoes to the pan. Bring to a simmering boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for about 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are done.
  • Add peas and cook until peas are done.
  • Serve alone or over rice or cauliflower as desired.

For Instant Pot

  • Melt oil or butter in a pan.
  • Place butter in Instant Pot and add onion, garlic, and meat (if using minced garlic, add a bit of water to reconstitute).
  • Cook thoroughly on saute feature (watch it carefully – garlic burns easily!)
  • Add tomatoes.
  • Add curry, salt and spices.
  • Add potatoes.
  • Cook under high pressure set for 0 minutes then after 5 minutes release the pressure quickly.
  • Put the frozen peas in.
  • Cook it again under high pressure for 0 minutes and do a quick release of the pressure.

Notes

  • Note for Instant Pot: When you set your Instant Pot cooking time to "0 minutes," the Instant Pot will get up to pressure, then immediately switch to the keep warm function and start counting up.
  • Dice the potatoes small--as in very small. It’s pretty disappointing to wait the whole 25 minutes and still have crunchy taters! Better yet, you can even cook them with the raw meat since they can often use the extra cooking time.
  • Add water if needed: You might find a need to add more liquid to the pan prior to or when simmering. If so, add a little at a time so you don't end up with a runny finished dish.
  • Add the peas later in the cooking time to keep their color more vibrant.
  • Curry: I use a mild sweet curry (my youngest doesn’t like spicy anything!) – in case you missed it, here is my Mild Curry Recipe :-). Also, here's a homemade nightshade-free curry recipe.
  • Spices: Some readers have mentioned that they have added more or even doubled the spices for this dish. I haven't tried it yet, but you can for sure try this and see how it goes. We do love spices here!
  • Sweet Potatoes: The recipe calls for potatoes but I have done this with sweet potatoes and it’s ahhmazing. Plus it meets paleo standards that way.

Nutrition

Calories: 526kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 945mg | Potassium: 1367mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 2172IU | Vitamin C: 95mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 5mg | Net Carbs: 35g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.

Well, there you have it.  Our family's favorite -- Pakistani Kima.  Updated for those of you on the Autoimmune Protocol Diet. And now it's your favorite too (I hope :-)!)

And I guarantee that any new mom you take this to will be very grateful!

This recipe was first published in 2016. New images were added later. For reference, the following is the original photo.

pakistani kima (ground beef curry)

Do you have a family favorite (secret or not) to share?

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403 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I was talking yesterday with my sister about our favorite recipes from "More with Less" (just a handful, as with most cookbooks. This, Vietnam Fried Rice, Kusherie, granola, and apple crisp were the only ones that came to mind, which is actually a lot for one cookbook. Of my dozens of cookbooks I have perhaps used "More with Less" the most). It's been at least a couple of years since I made Pakistani Kima, and in the intervening time I've bought an Instant Pot. Now that I've found your post, I'm excited to make it that way. It's really a perfect blend of flavors and so easy to make. I should be serving it at least every six weeks!

    1. How fun!!! I hope you got to try it and liked it! I am sorry it took so long to approve your comment. I didn't do it immediately and then lost it in a pile :).

  2. Have you tried this cold at all? Is the flavor ok?

    Wondering if I could make, then stuff leftovers into hand pies that would be served in a lunchbox cold.

  3. So I followed the recipe to the tee and it is very salty. I didn't get unsalted canned tomatoes, maybe that was the issue. I'm hoping to make the leftovers edible by adding riced cauliflower.

      1. I used the San marzano diced tomatoes, I'm not sure of the sodium content but it was clearly too much. Adding the diced cauliflower helped. I don't think I'll be making it again.

        1. It's not that much in those tomatoes - I think 20 mg per serving but there might be several varieties. It could be that you just don't like as much salt. This dish typically gets rave reviews so I do hope you won't give up on it :).

  4. 5 stars
    This was excellent! I’m not the kind of gal who usually posts reviews but it was so good! We left out the salt in the main dish and my 11 month old LOVED it. She pretty much ate an adult size serving two nights in a row!

    1. You. Made. My. Day! And I soooo need to make this again soon b/c it's been way too long! So glad you liked it. Tell your 11 mo old I said "hi" :). What a compliment!!

  5. Your recipe says “see notes for vegan option” next to the ground meat, but I can’t find anything in the notes. Would TVP work?

    1. Thanks for pointing that out. I just updated the recipe card to make it more clear. LMK if that helps and hope you like it!

  6. 5 stars
    This is fantastic! So good. Kind of like a Pakistani version of a hybrid of chili and shepherds pie. Used 97% lean ground turkey instead of beef. We like things spicy so doubled spices and added a chopped seeded Serrano pepper for some heat. Husband had three bowls after saying he wasn’t really hungry. Will be putting this into regular rotation.

    1. Soooo glad to hear this! I am going to have to double the spices since everyone is doing that! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    Tasty and easy! We were in a food rut - not knowing what to do with that pound of ground beef. I'm so glad I found this tasty recipe! I did increase the spices a bit to our tastes. At first I thought we wouldn't need the rice since the dish has potatoes and peas. but the basmati rice gave it another layer of flavor. thanks for the recipe - it's a keeper!

    1. Aww - thanks and so glad you liked it! I have heard some love it and some like extra spice----I'll have to try it w/ more spice soon! We LOVE extra - my husband does typically eat it w/ the Moroccan Vinaigrette and the Chaat Masala, however. Did you give those a whirl? LOVE Basmati!!

  8. 5 stars
    My family got tired of having spaghetti, and I was searching the internet for dishes with ground beef. My guys have average American palates. They love this recipe! I do too. Thank you.

    1. Hi there - I just updated the post to make it easier to find. It's under "Special Diet Options" now--please let me know if that is easier and thanks for reading! Hope you like it!

  9. 5 stars
    This is a new favorite. My kids refuse to eat it (2 & 4), but they are in a lucky stage. My husband and I simply can’t get enough of this. I’ve always used sweet potatoes, only because I keep those on hand. Every time it comes out delicious. And easy clean up using the instant pot. Thanks for sharing this recipe! (Wondering if it’ll freeze and reheat well, thinking about making this as a freezer meal for when baby #3 comes later this month.)

    1. So glad to hear it! I have heard from others that it freezes well so I would try it! And congrats on the new baby! You made my day :)!

    1. Wow - thanks and so so so glad you like it as much as we do. What a great combo w/ the squash and broccoli!!

  10. If I'm in a pinch and don't have time to cook fresh onions and garlic, do you have an idea as to how much to use in powder form? (onion powder and garlic powder)

    1. You would use 1/8 tsp garlic powder for each clove and 1 Tbsp onion powder for each medium onion. Hope you like it!!

  11. 5 stars
    This is yummy. I had a bunch of hamburger meat to use up, and found this recipe. I left out the potatoes and peas, but added them to my bowl to have more flexibility. Today, I had sweet potato enchiladas topped with this as the sauce. Next time I will have this with potato and pea samosas on the side.

  12. 5 stars
    This is a favorite recipe of ours. It's been fun to make and take to people recovering from surgery or illnesses as they are always trying to guess what the ingredients are. I usually make brown basmati rice to plate with this but also use riced cauliflower to reduce the carb load for myself.

    Our grandkids absolutely love this meal!

    1. Hi Trudy--I'm so glad to hear this and I agree with you--the flavors meld so well and taste amazing together. Thanks for coming back to tell me and bless you for serving others with your kindness. I always make it w/ cauliflower rice for myself. Hope to see you around again! Have you tried my Egg Roll in a Bowl recipe? You might like that as well. Here is the recipe.

      1. I wondered if this would work in my instant pot. I made no change to the recipe, and it turned out great. Once the onion, garlic and meat were done on the saute feature, I added the canned tomatoes, sprinkled the seasonings over the top but didn't mix it in and then put my potatoes on top. I cooked under high pressure set for 0 minutes then after 5 minutes released the pressure quickly. I put the frozen peas in, still didn't mix then again cooked it under high pressure for 0 minutes and did a quick release of the pressure. It was awesome!

  13. I made this recipe but left out the tomatoes because one of my guests didn't like tomatoes and it was delicious but there was no sauce. Are there any suggestions as to what else to use?

    1. Hi there. Thanks for reading. Yes, I'm aware of that. There were notes about an AIP option above the post--I've added an additional pointer to that in the recipe card. Hope that helps!

    1. I have never done it but I recall another reader saying that she did and that it worked. In fact I think a local friend of mine did it as well. Enjoy!!

  14. My husband doesn’t like chunky tomatoes- but will eat tomato sauce. Would I substitute the diced tomatoes for sauce - same quantity 2 1/2 cups?

    1. I'm looking around but not sure I see the exact conversion so how about blending the tomatoes and adding them in that way?

    2. 5 stars
      I Have to purée are canned tomatoes for my husband as well! He won’t do them. And I like a little extra. I basically used to cans or one giant can of whole tomatoes.. I use an immersion blender. But I’m sure you could do it anyway of course! It’s good no matter how you do it or what kind of tomatoes you put in.