Murgh Keema – Minced Chicken Curry

Murgh Keema - Minced Chicken Curry

Murgh Keema – Minced Chicken Curry

Just recently I cleared out all my old spices – many pre-dated my sejourn in England, meaning they were at least 2 years old.

Then, the other day, I stocked up on some of my absolute favourites – black cumin seed and curry leaves among them. There is something truly wonderful about the aroma given off when these two hit hot oil. I instantly become ravenously hungry!

Once I was back at home with my spicy goodies safely stored away, I began making plans to cook something using them as soon as possible.

Due to Mrs. Paleovirtus and Paleovirtus Jr. being out and about in town running various errands, dinner was going to have to be based around their movements. That meant something simple and quick, that I could partly prep and then finish off as soon as they were on a bus that was homeward bound.

“Oooh, oooh, use us in a murgh keema!”, squeaked the newly purchased spices from the cupboard.

“Splendid idea! I’ll do it!”, I replied, not concerned in the slightest that I was now taking suggestions from dried seeds and leaves. Moments later I was out of the door, and on a mission to score for the ground up flesh of a good bird.

As the great Pat Chapman laments in his superb “The New Curry Bible”, the keema, a minced meat curry, rarely gets the recognition it deserves. It’s more of a workaday kind of a curry, perfect for an easy mid-week supper, but not a dish you would necessarily unveil at a dinner party to a triumphant fanfare.

Still, it’s one of our all-time favourites, just as tasty if made with any red meat, or chicken, as we do here.

Murgh Keema - Minced Chicken Curry


  • 1kg minced chicken meat
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • a 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 Jalapeño chilli, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp black cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • about 3 tbsp of dried curry leaves
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 165ml coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil


  • Place the onion, garlic, ginger, and Jalapeño chilli in a blender, and process until you have a smooth paste. Set aside.
  • Heat 4 tbs of coconut oil in a non-stick wok over medium high heat – you’ll know it’s hot enough when one of the seeds starts to instantly sizzle when dropped in. Add the nigella seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and curry leaves. Stir fry for a few seconds, savouring the fantastic aroma. Add the turmeric, and stir fry for a few seconds more.
  • Add the prepared onion paste. Stir well, and continue to stir fry for 3 minutes.
  • Add the chicken mince, and stir well to coat the meat with all the vegetables and spices. Continue to stir fry until the meat has lost its raw, pink colour, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the coconut milk, and just enough water to give the meat sufficient sauce to simmer in. Return to a low simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the tomato purée and almond butter. Stir well, and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Remove the wok from the heat. Serve, together with a side of pilau cauliflower rice.


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9 thoughts on “Murgh Keema – Minced Chicken Curry

    1. paleovirtus Post author

      Fresh can be hard to find because of their short shelf life, so I use dried.

      I’m lucky in so far as we have several really good Asian supermarkets here, including a superb Indian one… 🙂


      1. goatsandgreens

        I can find fresh curry leaves here, but I understand if you can’t use them immediately, go freeze them. They won’t be quite as good, but they’ll still impart the flavor (use more per recipe?) They do have a short shelf life, alas. The thing I need to find is black cumin, never heard of it, and for a moment I thought it might be another name for nigella/kilonji, but I see you have that particular spice listed separately. BTW, a recipe I’m bookmarking.


      2. paleovirtus Post author

        I’ve used frozen fresh kaffir lime leaves before, but never curry leaves. I’ll have to keep a lookout for frozen ones at the Indian deli next time I’m in there…

        Yup, the name “black cumin” is often confusingly used for nigella. “Real” black cumin is called Shahi Kala Jeera or similar.

        If you try the recipe, please let us know how you get on… 🙂


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