Fry

Pakistani Keema Paratha (Spiced Beef–Filled Flatbread)

May 14, 2018
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

This flatbread is enriched with ghee (clarified butter) and filled with spicy, herbed ground beef. My mother and I would make it during Ramadan. The filling parathas kept me full throughout the days of my fast. —Sumayya Usmani

  • Prep time 45 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Makes 6 or more
Ingredients
  • For the filling:
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped finely
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, dry roasted and ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 1/2 cups ground beef
  • 1 small hot green chile, thinly sliced
  • 6 or 7 mint leaves, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon dill leaves, chopped finely
  • For the paratha dough:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil or ghee, for frying
  • 1 handful flour, for dusting
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. First make the minced beef filling: Heat the oil add the chopped onion, ginger, and garlic. Fry until it's light brown and the raw smell of the garlic disappears. Add all the whole spices and then stir, then add the ground spices.
  2. Add the tomato puree and fry for a few seconds. Add a few splashes of water to ensure it doesn’t burn or stick to the pan.
  3. Now add the ground beef. Mix well and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until the water has evaporated and the ground beef is brown. Once cooked, add all the fresh herbs and chile. Keep aside. Take out whole spices before adding to paratha.
  4. Make the paratha: Prepare the paratha dough by adding the flours and salt in a mixing bowl, slowly add tepid water until the flour comes together. Knead on a floured surface until you have a soft dough. Place the dough back in the bowl and pour a little oil over the dough. Rub it all over the dough to avoid it getting stuck to the bowl. Cover and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  5. To fill them, take a tennis ball size of dough, roll out into a small circle with the help of some flour on your work surface. The middle part should be thicker than the outer part. Place about 2 tbsp of keema filling and bring together all the sides in the centre and seal tightly, but gently. Flatten slightly with your hands and then roll out the filled dough into a flat paratha while dusting the dough with dry flour. The paratha should be about 1-2 mm thin and round.
  6. Heat a non-stick pancake pan or griddle and fry the paratha on either side, using little ghee/oil/butter. Cook each side until light brown on either side (about 5-6 minutes, pressing down the sides with a spatula all the time). Serve hot with yogurt or mint chutney.

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Sumayya is a food writer and cookery teacher who grew up in Pakistan, but has now found home in Glasgow. Sumayya is passionate about sharing the flavours of her homeland with a view to highlight Pakistani cuisine as a distinct one. The author or two cookbooks: Summers Under The Tamarind Tree (Frances Lincoln) and Mountain Berries and Desert Spice (Frances Lincoln, out April 2017), her writing reminisces about food and memories growing up in Pakistan. She writes for many publications, appears on television, and co-presents BBC Kitchen Cafe weekly, on BBC Radio Scotland.