Category Archives: Rice

Kheema Pulao – Indian Beef and Vegetable Rice Dish – Gluten Free

Ok, before I start talking about this dish, let me start by saying that even though I am Indian, I don’t make a lot of Indian food. One reason is that it does take a bit of time but the more important reason, nothing I can make would even compare to that of the dishes my grandmother and mother make. If I go out to Indian restaurants, I don’t bother with dishes that I have had from my grandmother and mother because they don’t compare. You know how it goes, the food you grew up with, will always be the best.

Now that I am married, I start missing some of the classic dishes I used to get while living at home. I have been making it my goal to try and make more Indian dishes. I have a few good recipes under my belt and I am looking to expand. One of the recent visits to my parent’s home (my grandmother lives there as well), we had a childhood favorite called Kheema Pulao. Kheema = ground beef, Pulao = rice dish (aka Pilaf in English). Well, this would be a good dish to make! So, I researched various recipes and started writing out a list of ingredients and directions. Then, most importantly, a little bit before I started to cook, I made the important phone call to my mother and grandmother, going over the recipe’s ingredients and method to make it more like what they made at home.  That phone call was really informative and still makes me smile.

Using the information I researched, their experience and some new methods, the final draft of the recipe was formed.  Best part, they helped me with something I always hated to do, cooking ground beef,  by making it easier. (I hate having to breakup ground beef, the method described below eliminates having to constantly breakup the beef). WIN WIN! So, this recipe would never have been as good, had my mother and grandmother not helped me. The recipe I am writing out is for half the amount I made, the pictures will have double the amounts you will see written in the recipe.

Thank you Mom and Tara Mummy!!!

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1 cup of Brown Basmati rice

3-4 tablespoons of vegetable/canola oil

2 inches of a cinnamon stick

1/4 teaspoon of cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon of fennel seeds

4-5 whole cloves

1 tablespoon of ginger paste

2 tablespoons of chopped or garlic paste

1 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin

1 1/4 teaspoon of ground coriander

2 1/2 teaspoons of ground red pepper

1/4 teaspoon of ground turmeric

2 teaspoons of salt

3/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 cup finely chopped tomatoes

1 large potato, peeled and  cut into large chunks

8-12 ounces of frozen mixed vegetables

1 lbs of ground beef

2 bay leaves

1 cup of water

Optional: Sliced Boil Eggs and chopped Cilantro


  1. Place ground beef in a large bowl and fill it with cool/cold water. Break up the beef in the water, then strain out the water, in a fine sieve.  (I didn’t have a fine sieve large enough, so I used cheese cloth). 
  2. Wash basmati rice and then soak the rice in water, until ready to use.
  3. In a large pot, with a lid, heat oil with cinnamon, cloves, cumin seeds and fennel seeds, until you hear the seeds sizzle.
  4. Add onions to the pot and on medium-low, saute onions slowly until they start to get a light golden brown.
  5. Add ginger and garlic to the onions and saute for about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the ground cumin, coriander, red pepper, turmeric and salt. Saute for another 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn the spices.
  7. Add tomatoes, increasing the heat to a medium and saute tomatoes with the onion mixture until the tomatoes get soft and a sauce starts to form.
  8. Add the now drained ground beef to the pot, mix well.
  9. Brown beef, stirring occasionally.
  10. Spread beef mixture evenly in pot and top with potatoes and frozen mixed vegetables.
  11. Drain water from Basmati rice and spread rice evenly over the beef and vegetables.
  12. Add about 1 cup of water to the pot (NOTE: Read the directions for the rice.  If the rice is a 1:1 ratio with water, put less water (by half), as there is liquids with the beef and frozen vegetables. I used Brown Basmati for my dish, the ratio for brown basmati rice is 1 cup brown basmati to 2 cups water. I used 1 cup of water.
  13. Bring mixture to a boil and then lower temperature to a simmer, cover (I placed aluminum foil under the lid to make a better seal). Cook until rice is cooked. Brown Basmati that was soaked for about 30-40 minutes before cooking took about 30 minutes + 15 minutes with stove off, letting it steam. You can check half way during the cooking time, to see if there is enough liquid.

Top finished dish with sliced egg and cilantro.

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Filed under Beef, Gluten Free/ Gluten Free Suggestion, Main Dishes, Rice