Makes about 6-8 servings

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 - 1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt
750-800g minced beef (US: about a pound and three-quarters)
800g canned or frozen tomatoes (US: about 28 ounces)
140-150g tomato puree (US: about half a cup)
300ml stock or water (or leftover wine)

100g red lentils, rinsed
200g chickpeas, cooked; or frozen peas

Cook the onions and garlic in a large saucepan in the olive oil until well softened. Add all the spices, and stir for about a minute, then add the mince and continue cooking and stirring, mixing into the onions, until it starts to brown.

If using lentils, stir them in at this stage.

Add the rest of the ingredients and keep stirring until it reaches the boil. 

At this stage you can transfer it to a crockpot and simmer for 4-6 hours on 'medium'; alternatively, cover and simmer gently for about an hour, stirring occasionally to ensure that it does not burn.

Adjust seasonings if necessary, and serve over rice or baked potatoes, with a large salad or cooked vegetables.

Chickpeas or frozen peas can be added towards the end of the cooking, for authenticity.

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Keema is a traditional South Asian dish made of mince, often with added potatoes or peas. There are a variety of different ways of seasoning this, so feel free to adjust the spices according to taste. My original recipe only used garam masala, ginger and cumin; I make it a policy to add turmeric to anything like this, due to its health properties, and when I tasted it during cooking, I felt it lacked much 'kick', so I added the chili powder. Some chili powder is much stronger than other forms, so be careful with this.

There still seemed to be something missing, so I added some cinnamon, and it felt just right. However, different people like different spice combinations, so it's worth experimenting. Equally, if you can't stand one of the spices listed, or don't have it in your cupboard, you can leave it out.

Some recipes for keema include 200g yogurt, stirred in at the end; this will add a bit of taste, but obviously makes it unsuitable for dairy-free eaters.

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