KHEEMA DO PYAZ
Spiced Indian Minced Beef with
Crispy Fried Onions
Serves a small Army
but keeps well
Prep: 2+ hours
Cook: 2+ hours
INGREDIENTS: in order and groups of use
1 cup Usli ghee
6 @ Onions, medium, cut in thin crescents
some additional ghee
4 @ Cinnamon (Cassia bark) sticks, medium
2 tsp Cinnamon Ceylonese, ground to the powdered spices below
20 @ Cloves
4 @ California bay laurel, medium
8-12 @ bay leaves, medium (Turkish)
2 tsp Fenugreek seeds
2 tsp Fennel seeds
4 tsp Black peppercorns
2 tsp Black mustard seeds
4 tsp Green cardamom seeds
2 tsp Cardamom, ground added to ground spices below
1 tsp Nigella, "black onion" seed (kalonji)
Masala pureed in food processor:
2-3 @ Onions, medium coarsely chopped
6-8+ clv Garlic, large, coarsely chopped
2 @ Ginger root, walnut sized chunks of fresh root,
sliced across the grain
12-20 @ Jalapeño peppers, large, coarsely chopped
2-6 @ Onions, medium cut in thin crecents
Ground spices mixed in a bowl:
8 TBS Cumino seed, ground
8 TBS Coriander seed, ground
4 TBS Turmeric, ground
4 tsp Cardamom pod, ground
4 tsp Nutmeg, ground
2 tsp Mace, ground
2 tsp Ceylonese cinnamon, ground
1 tsp Cassia bark "cinnamon", ground
4-6 TBS Paprika, sweet
3+ tsp Cayenne ground hot pepper powder (or equivalent)
4 tsp Onion powder
2 tsp Garlic powder
2 TBS Madras Curry Powder
2-5 cup hot water
3 lbs Beef, minced or ground
2 tsp Salt
1 @ Tomato paste, medium can (12 ozs.), whisked into
2 cup warm water from above
3-4 cup Sour cream or good home made thick yoghurt
Hardboiled eggs, ad libitum, halved or quartered
TSC recommends halved, at least 1 egg per person
[Cilantro or Parsley]
1. First make the "do pyaz" part by frying the 6 thinly sliced
onions in the ghee until they are deep brown at a moderately high
heat. This is a pain in the ass because it requires 30-45 mins.
of constant stiring and attention. In the endgame, it is all
to easy for that deep brown to go to black. A little black
won't hurt, but you really don't want burnt onions. On the
other hand, simply light brown will not give the crispiness
that they should have. They only crisp up on cooling, so
the call on this is a matter of practice.
[By the way, one of things that you are doing is
caramelizing the sugar in the onions. That's why frying
onions, generally, and then adding other stuff will
always cause sticking; it's the sugar goo.]
2. Remove the onions with a large slotted spoon, pressing out oil
with a wooden spoon, to a few layers of paper toweling on a plate
or in a bowl. If ya done good, when they cool, drain and air
dry, the onions should be crispy and crumbly, but still retain
some moisturized toughness.
3. There should be oil left in the pan. Strain it and return it
to a freshened large pan (largest you have, probably). Add a
little more ghee, if necessary, so that there is a thin layer
in the pan - more than just a coating.
4. Warm the oil and add the two cinnamon sticks. Raise the heat
until the cinnamon sticks sizzle gently. Let them do this for
a few minutes, occasionally swirling them in the pan. Fresh
cinnamon bark will uncurl.
5. Add the 6 cloves and 2+4=6 bay leaves, keeping things in motion.
When the bay leaves have browned a bit, add the next group of
seeds, and continue keeping everything in motion.
6. When the fenugreek seeds begin turning brown, add the paste of
pureed, garlic, ginger, onions; raise the temperature slightly,
and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes.
Keep your face out of the steam.
Add the chopped chilies, mix and cook for 3-5 minutes.
Add in the crescent onions.
Keep stiring and cooking for about 3-5 minutes until the onions
become just wilted and translucent. Here, they will act as
7. Add the collection of mixed ground spices; continue stirring.
When any sticking begins, add some hot water, one TBS at a time.
Continue for 5 minutes. The mixing will be a little from
here to step #9.
8. Add the ground beef, mixing and breaking up pieces with the
edge of a wooden spoon. Add a little extra water to prevent
9. When the meat is no longer red, gradually add the rest of the
water with whisked in tomato paste, mixing in thoroughly.
You want something a little on the soupy side, so add as
much hot water as you need.
10. Reduce heat and allow this to cook at a very low simmer for
45 mins or more so, uncovered so that it reduces and becomes
11. Add the sour cream, mix thoroughly and bring back to temperature.
Embed the egg halves in the mixture, cover and keep on a very
low heat so there is no sticking. Do what else you need to do;
make rice, vegetables, raita, paratha, chappati, ...
12. Serve with a pinch of garam masala (ground together "warming
spices") sprinkled over the top of each serving, the browned
onions crumbled on top (that's the "do pyaz" part) of that,
and optionally some chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
13. Rice of your choice, Basmati; is very good, some sort of
vegetable, a plain simple yoghurt, Indian relishes and pickles
to accompany. A bread also, if you're up for it: Chappati,
naan, pooris, paratha, ....
14. On reuse or leftovers, you can make a pullao which is baked:
two layers of partially cooked rice enclosing a layer of kheema.
Get fancy by pouring a cup of heavy cream flavored with saffron
and rose water over the top rice layer before covering tightly
Otherwise, simply reheat gently in pan, oven or microwave.
1. This dish started out as an "Indian student" concoction,
probably by "liberated Brahmins" who finally got courageous
enough to eat meat (beef no less!), and who were tired of the
general blandness and sweetness of almost all Western, and
especially British and US American cooking. The general idea
is "beef with onions and spices", so the proportions of just
about everything is negotiable. The itemization and proportions
above is mine, and it happens to be what I like; if you don't
like it, change it. The spice and herb treatment, and cooking
methods, generally, are perfectly classic in Indian cooking.
A nice addition is strewing defrosted frozen peas over the
surface after submerging the HB eggs, and then covering for
them to cook by steaming.
This goes considerably beyond the original student dish that
I first had as cooked by my nifty friends in my university
undergrad and grad school days. It also requires far more
work, and time.
2. This keeps very well in the refrigerator, and even better
3. Those crisply fried onions seem to keep forever and go well
with many things that aren't even Indian, like in a hamburger.
They can also be used in other dishes begining with a masala
that incorporates them. TSC also uses them in a Germanic
gravy/sauce for pork.
Since they are such a pain to make and take so long, you might
as well, when you in the mood, make a good sized batch and save
4. For the spices mixed in the bowl, you could actually
substitute a generous half cup+ of a good commercial or
home made special "curry powder".
Top of Page
The Snotty Chef
The Snotty Chef Index
Index of Indian Cuisine
Email me, Bill Hammel at
READ WARNING BEFORE SENDING E-MAIL
COPYRIGHT NOTICE REGARDING ALL ORIGINAL WORK HEREIN:
© February 2006 by Bill Hammel (email@example.com).
Permission to use for any noncommercial, educational purpose.
This copyright and permission notice must appear in all copies.
Permission is also granted to refer to or describe these
documents in commercial books, products, or online services.
These documents may be freely reproduced, copied and disseminated
by any electronic, digital or written means, but in no case may
such copying or dissemination be charged for. The idea is very
simple, no person or body has supported any of the original
works contained in this pages. They are works of love given
freely. I find repugnant the idea of someone expropriating,
for profit, what I give freely. If you have a problem with
this, ask; rules always have exceptions.
The URL for this document is:
Created: June 24, 2007
Last Updated: November 5, 2007
Last Updated: November 12, 2007
Last Updated: April 11, 2009