Appeasing the meat-eater in you with this Pakistani styled stir-fried spicy minced meat

This bhunna qeema (stir-fried minced meat) is dry yet juicy and the husband loves it!

Ambreen Malik January 09, 2015
As a kid I was never a mutton, beef or milk fan. I was scolded a tonne by Ammi and Nana (maternal grandfather) for that. I was told that I would never grow tall enough or excel in class or be physically fit. Turns out, I achieved all of that without eating much meat protein throughout my adolescent years.

However, something else happened as well. As I became an adult and moved away from Pakistan, the flavours and tastes that I took for granted came back to me as a longing. I missed eating the very things I despised as a kid. And mutton was one of them.

While living in London, when I ventured out to find ingredients to fulfil that longing, I figured that no matter how I cooked the locally sourced meat, it would always have a foul smell. There was plenty of lamb but hardly any goat meat that I was accustomed to – which was pretty disappointing.

Living in Manila the situation was worse. Locals don’t eat lamb or goat meat because it is considered too expensive. Hence, no one breeds these animals there. Whatever was available was ridiculously expensive and always had a pungent smell even after it was cooked. Eventually, I resorted to becoming a vegetarian, but not by choice.

Photo: Ambreen Malik

Therefore, for me, coming to Pakistan means I can enjoy trouble free meat-eating in moderation which I have been doing. This bhunna qeema (stir-fried minced meat) is dry yet juicy and the husband loves it! This time around it got a nod from Abbu as well!

Here is the simple recipe. Hope you enjoy it!


Minced mutton – 1 kilo

Oil – ½ cup

Onion – 1 large (finely chopped)

Tomatoes - 3 medium (chopped)

Ginger garlic paste (freshly made) – 1 tbsp heaped

Roasted cumin seeds – 1 tsp heaped (crushed)

Roasted coriander seeds – 1 tsp heaped (crushed)

Cinnamon sticks – 2 (1 ½ inches long)

Black cardamoms – 3 whole

Cloves – 6

Whole peppercorns – 6 to 8

Whole red chillies – 3 to 4 round ones or 2 regular dried ones.

Green chillies – 3 medium sized

Fried onions – 3 to 4 tbsp

Yogurt – 5 tbsp

Salt – 1 tsp

Chilli powder – ½ tsp

Turmeric – ¼ tsp

Fresh ginger – 1 inch julienne

Fresh coriander (for garnish) – handful


1. Put the minced meat in a tea towel and wash under running water for a couple of minutes. Let it sit for about 20 minutes till the water drains. Squeeze the water out as much as you can before cooking.

2. Heat the oil in the pan and add chopped onions to it.

Photo: Ambreen Malik

3. Wait till the onions become translucent; then add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, peppercorn, crushed cumin and coriander seeds, whole red chillies and ginger garlic paste. Cook till everything changes colour to a gentle brown.

4. Squeeze water out of the minced meat. Add it to the onions and cook until brown.

Photo: Ambreen Malik

5. Add salt, chilli powder and turmeric. Mix further and dry half of the liquid in the pan.

6. Add tomatoes and two green chillies, and cook for two to three minutes on high heat.

Photo: Ambreen Malik

7. Add yogurt and mix. Reduce heat, cover the pan and let it cook for 20-25 minutes till tomatoes break down completely and yogurt disappears.

8. Add half of ginger, fried onions and remaining chopped green chillies. Cook for two minutes.

9. Garnish with fresh coriander, remaining ginger and fresh green chillies.

Photo: Ambreen Malik

This can be served with homemade flat bread, naan or even paratha. The left over qeema makes for an awesome stuffing for qeema paratha for breakfast or brunch the next day. And the same filling can be used to make stuffed samosas at home. It’s simple, quick and effective in quenching that desi food craving you may have had.

Happy desi meat cooking!

This post originally appeared here.
Ambreen Malik The author is a Microfinance Banker, food blogger, LSE Alum and a dragon in training. She tweets as @ambreen_malik (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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