Keema pav (or kheema pav) is classic Indian street food of spiced ground lamb or chicken served on buttered toasted rolls, and it’s lovingly nicknamed Indian Sloppy Joes. This version is made in the Instant Pot for a quick and easy mince curry meal!
Whenever I travel, I always gravitate towards street food when I want to experience local flavor.
Not only is street food a great way to sample regional cuisine, but it’s also a lot more affordable than sitting down to a fancy meal! Additionally, it’s a lot less formal, and usually a lot more fun.
I’ve never been to India, but I learned how to make Kheema Pav from an Indian friend years ago. It’s a popular street food that originated in Mumbai, India (when it was still called Bombay). My friend told me they lovingly call it Indian Sloppy Joes!
After you taste this recipe you’ll understand why. If you’re a fan of Sloppy Joes and want to venture out and try new flavors, give this recipe a try.
The Best Keema Pav Recipe (Indian Sloppy Joes)
Kheema Pav (also spelled Keema Pav) is also called Kheema Masala. You’ll also see it called Bombay Sloppy Joes or Mumbai Sloppy Joes.
In India, keema (or qeema) refers to minced meat, aka ground meat. The dish keema pav is basically ground lamb or chicken that’s flavored with a bit of tomato, onion, garlic, ginger, and Indian spices.
The richly spiced meat is then served on top of toasted buttered rolls. It’s topped with red onion and fresh cilantro to brighten it up. I also add sliced jalapeno because I like it a little on the spicy side. If you leave the jalapeno off, the lamb or chicken keema itself is full of spiced flavor, but not spicy heat.
It’s saucy, messy, and delicious, and perfect street food!
Ingredients in Keema Pav with Ground (Minced) Chicken or Lamb
- Ghee – this is also known as clarified butter
- Ground lamb – or you can use ground chicken
- Onion – for savory flavor
- Garlic and ginger – for depth
- Garam masala spice mix – you can find this Indian spice mix on Amazon if you can’t find it near you
- Salt, coriander, cumin, turmeric, Indian chilli powder – this blend of spices creates an authentic kheema pav flavor profile
- Water – you need this to avoid getting the burn warning on the Instant Pot
- Tomato paste – to thicken the sauce and add body
- Slider-sized rolls + butter – to serve keema pav the traditional way like how you’d find this street food in India
- Jalapeno, red onion, cilantro, and lime – these optional garnishes and toppings bump up the flavor and freshness
How to Make Lamb or Chicken Keema Pav in an Instant Pot or Electric Pressure Cooker
Making Kheema Pav is quick and easy in an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker:
- Use the “Sauté” function to brown the meat, stirring occasionally. Remember, you can use either ground lamb or ground chicken for this keema recipe.
- Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook for another minute.
- Stir in the spices, water, and tomato paste.
- Cook on Manual, High Pressure for 5 minutes.
- Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes before doing a quick pressure release.
How to Make Chicken or Lamb Kheema Pav on the Stovetop
No need to worry if you don’t have an electric pressure cooker! Keema Pav is also very easy to make on the stovetop:
- Brown the meat (again, lamb or chicken will both work fine) in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
- Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook for few minute, stirring frequently.
- Stir in the spices, water, and tomato paste.
- Bring up to a boil, and then turn the heat down and cook until the liquid is evaporated and the sauce is thickened, stirring frequently.
Store leftover kheema in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Chicken Keema Recipe Instead of Lamb Keema
If you don’t like lamb, you can opt for ground chicken or whatever kind of ground meat you like instead. Although it might not be traditional, you can also use beef if that’s your preference.
More Indian Recipes to Make
- Palak Paneer Recipe (Indian Spinach Curry with Paneer Cheese)
- Three Simple Indian Chutneys
- Instant Pot Cauliflower Pav Bhaji
- Easy Low Carb Butter Chicken
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Instant Pot Keema Pav Recipe with Ground Chicken or Lamb (Indian Sloppy Joes)
- 1 tablespoon clarified butter ghee
- 1 pound ground lamb or ground chicken (see Notes)
- 1 medium onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger grated
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala spice mix
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon Indian chilli powder
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
For Serving (Optional):
- 12 slider-sized rolls split in half
- 6 teaspoons salted butter
- Sliced jalapeno
- Minced red onion
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Fresh limes cut into wedges
For the Kheema:
- Turn the electric pressure cooker on, press “Sauté”, and wait 2 minutes for the pot to heat up.
- Add the ghee and once melted, add the ground lamb and cook until browned, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the meat. Stir in the onion, garlic, and ginger, and cook 1 minute more. Press “Cancel” to stop sautéing.
- Add the garam masala, salt, coriander, cumin, turmeric, red chile powder, water, and tomato paste, and give it a stir. Turn the pot on Manual, High Pressure for 5 minutes, and then let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes before doing a quick release.
- Butter the inside of each roll with 1/2 teaspoon butter and grill it in a skillet over medium heat.
- Divide the meat mixture between the 12 grilled rolls.
- Top each with sliced jalapeno, minced red onion, and fresh cilantro leaves. Serve along with fresh lime wedges to squeeze on top of the meat.
- Net Carbs: 4g per serving (not including the optional ingredients for serving)
- Low Carb: Without the buttered rolls, this dish is low carb. To keep it low carb, serve it with steamed broccoli or cauliflower rice.
- What Type of Ground Meat: If you don’t like lamb, you can opt for ground chicken or whatever kind of ground meat you like instead. Although it might not be traditional, you can also use beef if that’s your preference.
- Storage: Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
I just made this tonight and it’s not bad! A little different taste than ground beef but I’m waiting until tomorrow to make the sandwiches. I subbed coconut oil for the butter since I can’t do dairy and it works. We’ll see how it tastes tomorrow on pretzel buns! Thanks for the recipe! It’s the first time I ever used ground lamb.