Lip-smacking Dhaba Style Mutton Keema Curry

Continuing with our delicious street food, Sarika tells us about the Dhabas (roadside) eateries. Initially, these were cheap food joints for the truckers. Now, there are many swanky dhabas too that cater to the upmarket long distance travellers, bikers and young couples that enjoy long drives. Here is one of the popular delicacies, mutton keema curry, exclusively for Different Truths.

Dhabas (roadside eateries) are very common on Indian highways. And it hosts for roadside customers. Interestingly traditional dhabas are usually the place where fresh food is cooked in open kitchens, and surrounded by charpoys or day-bed type seating. I have experienced dhaba food couple of times. But Punjab is in my top list in terms of dhaba food.

It was started mainly to serve trucker or long distance travellers. There was a time when dhaba food was stocked only for truck drivers, but these days everyone likes to taste dhaba food. Couples who enjoys long drive away from the noise and pollution, for them dhaba food is always best choice. I have seen few dhabas filled with young bike-riders, especially in weekends. It is adorned by any age group of people. Food is comparatively cheap and highly palatable.

Usually dhaba food is fresh, full of life and bold textures. Popular dishes in most of the dhabas are:

1. Butter Chicken

2. Sarson ka Saag aur Makki ki Roti

3. Tandoori Chicken

4. Chole Bhature

5. Masala Channa

6. Machchli Amritsari

7. Dal Makhani

8. Dal Tadka

9. Paneer Tikka

10. Chicken Keema curry

Mutton Keema Curry

Today, I am going to share dhaba style mutton keema (minced meat) curry recipe.

Serve for 4                                                     Time -1 hour 

For: Lunch/dinner


1. Two tbsp. vegetable oil

2. One tbsp. butter

3. Two dried bay leaf

4. Five green cardamom

5. One-and- a-half tsp cumin seeds

6. Three cloves

7. Two medium sized red onions (chopped)

8. One tbsp. garlic paste                                                

9. One tbsp. ginger paste

10. Three green chillies (chopped)

11. Half tsp. turmeric powder

12.  Red chilli according to taste

13. Two tsp coriander powder

14. Salt to taste

15. 600gms mutton mince

16. Two tomatoes, freshly chopped

17. Juice of ½ lemon

18. A pinch of sugar

19. Three tbsp. fresh coriander leaves (chopped)

20. Two potatoes diced into small pieces (optional)


1. Heat oil and 1 tbsp. butter in a deep pan, add bay leaf, green cardamom, cloves and cumin seeds and wait till the time aroma is released.

2. Add the chopped onions and sauté on medium heat for few minutes, add the garlic, ginger and green chillies; and pieces of potatoes (optional) continue to cook till the onions cooked very well.

3. Add 1-2 tbsp. water and the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, and salt. Saute on low heat for three minutes.

4. Add the mutton keema and sauté on high heat for few minutes, mixing properly with the onions and spices.

5. Add few drops of water.

6. Once the mince has started to change colour add the freshly chopped tomatoes, with salt.

7. Cover and let it simmer on low flame for 8 to 9 minutes.

8. Add water around 1 cup and continue to cook till the mutton has softened well. Adjust the gravy according to the choice.

9. Garnish with coriander leaves and butter

10. Serve with phulkas or rotis.

©Sarika Sarkar Das

Pix by author.

Sarika Sarkar Das

A teacher, day dreamer, random experimental cook and some hit and miss photography, and at last love to call myself a full time mother.