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Kheema (Indian Ground Mushroom-Beef Curry) with Kale and Peas

Kheema (Indian Ground Mushroom-Beef Curry) with Kale and Peas

Course Entree
Cuisine Indian
Keyword ground beef, mushrooms
Author TheSpicedLife


For ground mushroom mixture:

  • 24 oz whole crimini mushrooms
  • 16 oz button mushrooms

For kheema:

  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 T dark mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 T cumin seeds
  • 4 small or 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • 1/4 t ground cardamom
  • 1 t Ceylon (true Cinnamon, sometimes called Mexican cinnamon)
  • 1/2 t ground turmeric
  • 1 t paprika (or cayenne if you can take the heat)
  • 1 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1 heaping T ground coriander
  • 1 pinch dried fenugreek or methi leaves, optional
  • 1 T double strength or 2 T regular tomato paste
  • 8 oz sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1-2 t coarse sea salt, to taste
  • ground mushroom mixture (see instructions)
  • 4 small or 3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and finely sliced
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped, divided
  • 1/3 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 t garam masala
  • 1-2 T honey, to taste
  • juice of half lemon
  • 1 10-oz bag frozen peas or equivalent fresh, in which case add them with the tomatoes
  • lemon wedges for serving


  1. The day you will be making your kheema, place the whole mushrooms into the food processor and pulse until you have very finely minced mushrooms. You will probably need to do this in batches, and definitely use the pulse button or you risk ending up with mushroom paste! As you get all of the mushrooms minced, set them aside in a bowl.

Make the kheema:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven if you do not have one big enough (I used a 14 inch deep sauté pan) over medium high heat. Add the mustard seeds and partially cover the pan. When they have nearly stopped popping, add the cumin seeds. Let them fry for about 60 seconds or so--they will darken and become fragrant. Keep an eye on them as they burn easily.

  2. Add the chopped onion with a pinch of salt. Stir occasionally. Keep a glass of water beside the cook top so you can splash a tablespoon or two in if they start to stick or scorch.
  3. Let the onions caramelize for 15 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the sliced mushrooms with a pinch of salt. Stir often, and let them cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add all of the dried spices (except the garam masala) and the dried fenugreek leaves, if using. Stir constantly for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste. Stir for another minute.
  6. Add the ground beef with a hefty pinch of salt. Break it up and mix it into the spiced onion mixture. Stir occasionally while it browns.
  7. After 5 minutes add about 1/3 of the minced mushrooms with a pinch of salt. Break them up and stir into the ground beef and onions to incorporate them. Let cook for about 3 minutes, and then repeat twice more with the remaining mushrooms.
  8. Add the chopped tomatoes. Stir and let cook for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Add all of the kale and half of the chopped cilantro. Turn the heat down to medium low and cover the pan (this will encourage the greens to wilt, at which point they will be easier to mix into the kheema).
  10. After about 5 minutes, remove the lid. Stir the wilted greens as well as the yogurt into the dish. Cover and let cook, on medium low, for another 10-15 minutes.
  11. Stir in the garam masala, 1 tablespoon of honey and the lemon juice. Taste for additional salt, honey, lemon juice or garam masala.
  12. About 5 minutes before serving, mix in the peas (if frozen).
  13. Serve sprinkled with the remaining chopped cilantro.
  14. Serve with basmati rice or flatbreads.