Minced Meat and Lentil Biryani / Keema Masoor Biryani (Memon Masoor Pulao)

2 posts in one week? Whaaaat?

Well, this is my first shot at the Muslim Food Bloggers Challenges. Every month there is a new theme, and the month of February’s was Biryani. Biryani is basically just a spiced rice dish (often times paired with meat). In the South Asian culinary scene, the difference between Biryani and Pulao is that biryani is cooked in layers (the rice is par-boiled and then layered with the meat/masala), whereas in pulao the rice is cooked with the spices in a broth.

I chose to share the recipe for a very traditional Memon (the sub-ethnic group that I hail from) recipe, Masoor Pulao. It’s a bit of a misnomer because although it is called a pulao, it’s actually cooked in layers like biryani.

I’m excited to share this recipe for several reasons, but mostly because (a) I’ve always had trouble taking pictures of traditional Pakistani food, and I’m ready to take the plunge, and (b) it’s a recipe that has been passed down in our family, and I’m happy to finally be sharing it with actual measurements (y’all know how much trouble it is to find a desi recipe using actual measurements and not “a little this, a little that”!)



Keema Masoor Biryani

(Memon Masoor Pulao)

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings


Note: Measurements are in actual measuring spoons/cups and not eating utensils.

  • 3 cups basmati rice
  • 2/3 cup brown lentils
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ¼ cup neutral flavored oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1-2 green chilies, to taste, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 ½ teaspoons red chili powder
  • ¾ teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppers
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • Handful chopped mint
  • Handful fried onions
  • 3 boiled eggs, peeled and sliced in half


Rinse rice in cold water a few times, cover with water, and set aside.

Heat a small saucepan filled with water over medium-high heat. Add lentils and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until mostly cooked through (should not be mushy; there should still be a bit of bite to the lentils, as they will continue cooking with the rice later). Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a large vessel over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Add meat and ginger-garlic paste and cook for a few minutes. Add chilies, coriander powder, black pepper, garam masala, red chili powder, turmeric, salt, and lemon juice. Cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add yogurt, mix well, and cook until mostly dry. Add lentils, mix, cover, and remove from heat. Set aside.

Heat water (enough to boil rice in) in a large vessel over medium-high heat. Add black peppers, bay leaves, and salt. Once it comes to a boil, add soaked rice (drain before adding), and cook until about 75% cooked through. Drain and set aside.

In a large vessel, drizzle in a bit of oil. Top with half of the rice, followed by the meat and lentil mixture. Top with cilantro, mint, and fried onions. Cover with remaining rice. Sprinkle on additional fried onions, and gently place the boiled eggs on top. Cover. Cook over low heat until the rice has finished cooking, about 30 minutes.



Check out everyone’s interpretations and adaptations of this month’s challenge below!

Chili Mac and An Invitation!

My son is a big fan of chips and salsa, so I asked my husband to pick some up on his recent trip to Sam’s Club. He came home with 2 huge jars (though to his credit, they sell it packaged that way) of salsa. So in an effort to put a dent in our huge salsa supply, I searched online and stumbled upon this recipe for Chili Mac. I took a quick look at the recipe and realized that I had almost everything, and went ahead and gave it a whirl. People, try this! The name is totally misleading, and the meal itself is really healthy. For a meal that serves four, it only has ½ cup of cheese. Also, regular pasta can be swapped with whole wheat or even veggie pasta. It’s a healthy and delicious meal that comes together very quickly.

Also, on a totally different note, I have an invitation for you! My blogging buddy Sarah, of Flour and Spice, recently reached out to me with an idea. Sarah suggested that we team up and host a virtual Eid Party. The premise of the “party” is that those who choose to participate will post a recipe that is evocative of Eid for them, whether that be traditional or something new/innovative. So now my friends, is that I invite you to join us! If you think that you would be interested in participating, just leave me a comment saying that you would. We’ll be sending out emails later this week to everyone that we know, so be on the lookout 🙂





Chili Mac

Yield: 4 Servings


  • ½ pound small shell pasta
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup picante sauce (regular salsa can be used as well, although additional liquid might need to be added)
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar or Mexican style cheese


Cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook ground beef until well browned and all liquid has evaporated. Stir in picante sauce, corn, chili powder, and tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in pasta and cheese. Cover and cook until the cheese has melted.

Hearty (and Healthy!) Meaty Chili

We just returned from a 2-week long stay in California.  We went to celebrate my parents’ 35th anniversary (more on that to come!).  One of the things that we make sure to do is cook things that we don’t usually eat in our own respective homes.  My mom makes a killer Chicken Chow Mein, so she usually makes that while I’m visiting.  My father loves Beef Chili, so I like to make that for him while I’m visiting as well.  When I was visiting this time around, I made sure to cook a double batch and stock their freezer with individual servings, so that he can enjoy a warm bowl of this hearty chili whenever he wants to 🙂




Hearty Meaty Chili

Yield: 4-6 Servings


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ cups (or one 15 ounce can) pinto beans (drained)
  • 1 ½ cups (or one 15 ounce can) kidney beans (drained)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalepeño, diced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • ¾ teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Cook the beef over medium-high heat until it becomes dry.

In a slow cooker, combine the beef and remaining ingredients.  Cook on high for 2 ½ hours, or low for 4 to 5 hours.

Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and spring onions.

Note:  If slow cooker is not available, combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook over medium low heat for 2 to 3 hours, until the chili is thick and the vegetables and beans have softened.

Guest Post: Mom’s Memon Kababs


Hi Friends!  I am honored today to be guest posting at Ambreen’s blog, Simply Sweet ‘n Savory.  When Ambreen asked me for a guest post, I was immediately taken aback.  To be asked by one of the internet’s top Pakistani food bloggers to post on their site is a definitely an esteemed privilege!  I thank you Ambreen for this opportunity, and I hope that my efforts make you proud 🙂

You can see the post and recipe for my mom’s Memon Kababs, a delicious appetizer kabab, here.

Minced Chicken Curry/ Chicken Keema

It’s been quiet in these parts lately, hasn’t it?

Before Ramadan started, I had a whole slew of ideas on what I would be sharing here in this space. I had plans of sharing Iftar (break-fast meal), Suhoor (pre-fast meal), and light dinner and dessert recipes that we were enjoying at the time in our home. But alas, it seems as if destiny had something else in store for us.

About one month back, my family was informed that my Mummi had three blocked arteries in her heart and that she was in need of bypass surgery. The news took us all by surprise, mainly because my mom was otherwise a healthy individual that posed no symptoms.

Two weeks ago, I flew in to California with my husband and son in tow, and together with my family we took the long and stressful trek to the hospital for Mummi’s surgery. Alhumdullilah, praise be to God, her surgery went smoothly and it has been a week since she has come back home.


While Mummi was at the hospital, the environment at home was very strange. We weren’t used to my mom not being there. Usually Papa is in and out of the home running errands, my brother is usually away at school or at work during the day, but Mummi is always home. Our home wasn’t a home without Mummi. A few times during her stay at the hospital, I found myself cooking foods that she cooked. This Minced Chicken Curry is one of the meals that my mom used to make that I absolutely love. There was something therapeutic about trying to remember exactly what ingredients she used and in what quantities. It’s a homey meal that spews comfort 🙂




Chicken Keema

Yield: 3-4 Servings


  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • ½ onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 tomato, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • Handful cilantro, chopped


Heat oil over medium-high heat and fry onions until transparent. Add ground chicken, cumin seeds, and green chili and cook for a few minutes.

Add tomato, coriander powder, red chili powder, and salt and mix well. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the chicken is no longer raw and the tomatoes have lost their shape and liquid has significantly evaporated. Remove from heat, add cilantro, and cover until ready to serve.