Minced lamb with chickpeas

Minced lamb with chickpeas

The original recipe is called Keema Chole and is Indian, belonging to Punjabi cuisine. It exists in many traditional versions, but this is not one of them. I prefer a somewhat drier and faster version by Mark Bittman that I saw on NYT Cooking, made in less from 20 ‘ in the cast iron pan, as long as you have cooked or canned chickpeas available.

As canned chickpeas are not readily available in Greece, one way is to have chickpeas leftover from this traditional Greek chickpea dish sifneiki revithada. The other is to have already soaked, sprouted and half-cooked chickpeas in the freezer. That’s something I do often. Every time I soak and sprout chickpeas for cooking, I use twice as much and I keep half. Same effort, same time and I have a handy solution in the kitchen for whenever I need it. Take care when boiling the chickpeas, they must be cooked but not soft and mushy, so they should be ready in about 40 ‘. This is how they are used in cold salads or they can continue cooking in the respective recipe.

The minced meat in this recipe comes from grassfed yearling lambs that are raised grazing freely on the slopes of Epirus in Western Greece. With a richer taste, more iron and increased nutritional value, it is meat that is worth seeking out from producers following traditional farming methods. Gradually add the meat into the hot frying pan, so that you can break it up so that it is well browned, either with a fork or with the wooden spoon. Don’t worry if you see it sticking to the bottom, as soon as it cooks, the pan will release it.

For herbs and spices, you can experiment with what you prefer. This version here is milder, for kids that don’t enjoy very spicy flavors. It is a very flexible recipe that seems to always turn out delicious, hence the variety of different versions. It just needs good quality ingredients to turn out great every time.


  • 500 gr. minced grassfed yearling lamb
  • 4 cups chickpeas, cooked
  • 1 cup (200 ml) broth or cooking liquid from the chickpeas
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsps cumin
  • 2 tsps coriander ground
  • 2 tsps turmeric
  • 1 tsp Chili or paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons Parsley or coriander finely chopped

Heat the a cast iron or heavy bottomed pan well over a medium heat. Gradually add the minced meat and brown well while stirring. Add the onion and chickpeas and continue stirring over a high heat for about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, all the spices, and season well. Stir for 1 ‘ to integrate. Add the broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits stuck to it. Lower over a medium heat and let it reduce for 5’.

Serve with rice or Naan bread, yogurt, a little olive oil and the chopped herbs.

Leave a Reply