Asma Khan’s Keema Paneer Pulao Recipe

Exclusively for Covent Garden, Asma has shared her knowledge and wisdom in a video below.

In Asma's own words...

This dish can be made using any kind of mince – beef, lamb, chicken, Paneer and even soy. Minced meat cooks quickly so this is a great dish to prepare when you are short of time. The rice can be made in advance, then reheated in a low oven without any fear of the meat disintegrating. If you want to make just the keema you can add potatoes or peas or both to the keema. Towards the final stages you could add a couple of green chilis broken up into pieces. If you decide to make the pulao the addition of dill is optional if you do not have it.



For the keema/paneer

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1 piece cassia bark, 1 cm/½ inch long
  • 2 small Indian bay leaves
  • 25 g/1 oz onions, finely chopped
  • ¼ tbsp garlic paste
  • ½ tbsp fresh ginger paste
  • 500 g/1 lb 2 oz/2½ cups minced (ground) meat (beef, lamb, chicken), paneer or soy
  • ½ tsp chilli powder

For the dill pulao

  • 300 g/10½ oz/1½ cups basmati rice
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 piece cassia bark, 2.5 cm/1 inch long
  • 1 large Indian bay leaf
  • 1 small–medium white onion (approximately 100 g/3½ oz), sliced into thin rings
  • 1 small bunch dill, leaves stripped and chopped


  • Wash the rice in several changes of cold running water until the water runs clear, then place in a bowl and soak for 30 minutes in fresh water.
  • To make the keema, in a non-stick pan, heat 2 tbsp oil over a medium– high heat. Add the cardamom pods, cassia bark and bay leaves to the pan. Immediately add the onions and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the garlic and ginger pastes and cook for a further 1 minute.
  • Add the mince to the pan, breaking up any clumps with the back of a spoon. Add salt to taste. If using chilli powder, add this to the mince.
  • Cook uncovered until all the liquid has evaporated from the mince.
  • Avoid adding any water, but if the mince sticks to the base of the pan, add a splash of water. Once cooked, remove from the heat and set aside.
  • To make the pulao, in a heavy-based pan that has a lid, heat the oil over a medium–high heat. Add the onion rings and fry until caramelized.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the onions and place on a plate to drain.
  • Spread the onions across the plate so they crisp as they cool. Add the cardamom pods, cloves, cassia bark and bay leaf to the pan. After a few seconds, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Put the kettle on to boil. Add the rice to the pan and stir for 1 minute to coat in the spice-infused oil. Cover with 600 ml/1 pint/2½ cups boiling water from the kettle. Add ½ tsp salt and the cooked mince to the pan.
  • Cook uncovered over a medium–high heat until the water has been absorbed by the rice (about 4 minutes). Cover with the lid, lower the heat and simmer for a further 15–20 minutes. Once cooked, remove the pan from the heat and, using a fork, gently mix the rice and add the dill.
  • Cover and leave for a few minutes before serving with the onions.