Turkey Keema


April 21, 2011 by Dana

I always find it amusing to look back and think about what I knew to be true when I was younger.  To think back to high school, and look back on those absolutely unquestionable facts of life.  The things that if someone tried to convince me otherwise, I would have written that person off.

One of those things, which I 100% unequivocally knew to be true, was that I was going to be a teacher when I grew up.  A music teacher, to be precise.

It’s the reason why I spent every moment not in class in a choir.  It’s the reason that I only applied to one college (because if I was going to be a music teacher, I was going to go to the Crane School of Music).  It’s the reason that I declared my major immediately upon acceptance.

And then, after taking three semesters of music education classes, I changed my mind.  Ok, so I didn’t want to be a teacher.  But I still knew that I would always work in the music industry.  So I switched my major.  And I graduated with a degree in the Business of Music.

And then, after working in two different non-profit performing arts administration jobs, I changed my mind.  Again.  The non-profit world was just not for me.

Today, I’m the Executive Assistant to the CEO of an air conditioning and refrigeration distribution company.  It’s probably the farthest thing from a music educator that you can imagine.

If you asked me in high school, college, or even after I graduated, if I ever thought this is what I would be doing, I would have thought you were a weirdo.

And if you told me I would love it? I would have thought you were crazy.  Or on drugs.  Or both.

I realize, however, that it’s really no surprise that I wanted to be a music teacher; I had some pretty amazing role models.  The music teachers in my school were inspiring.  They were talented, caring, great teachers, and all around wonderful people.  Who wouldn’t want to be just like them?

So when I saw on Facebook that one of my former music teachers was having a tasty Indian dish called Keema for dinner, I knew I had to try it out for myself.  I may not be a music teacher, but that doesn’t mean I can’t eat like one. ;)


1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
1 ½ pounds ground turkey
2 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
2 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 lb potatoes
6 oz plain Greek yogurt
¾ cup soy milk
¾ cup frozen peas
1.5 teaspoons lemon juice
½ cup chopped cilantro (optional)

When searching for Keema recipes, this one from Food & Wine caught my eye.  I loved that it incorporated so many spices, without resulting in a dish that was hot-spicy.  The only significant changes that I made were to use ground turkey instead of beef, and to omit the cilantro.  If cilantro and beef are your thing, then by all means, go for it.


1.  In a large deep frying pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute longer. Add the turkey and cook until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Drain off any fat.

2.  Add the coriander, cumin, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of the salt to the pan. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the potatoes, yogurt, and milk. Bring just to a boil. Cover the pan. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Uncover the pan and simmer for 5 minutes longer.

3.  Stir in the peas and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer until the peas are just done, about 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice (and the cilantro).

I am so glad that I tried out this dish, because I absolutely loved it.  Even Jake, who made a face when I said what I was making, enjoyed it.  I couldn’t find any naan flatbreads at the store, so I served it with whole wheat pita wedges.  We loved scooping the Keema into the pita pockets and making mini sandwiches.


21 thoughts on “Turkey Keema

  1. Tes says:

    Oh your turkey keema looks so lovely. It looks really fresh and healthy. It sounds really perfect for my family :)

  2. biz319 says:

    That looks delicious Dana! It’s crazy where life takes you sometimes, isn’t it?

    Glad you like your job!! :D

  3. Ooooh, I love Indian food.
    I’m having an Indian food this weekend and am SO excited! :)

  4. Liz says:

    What a great story…I have a college grad living at home (he got his Masters, too)…unable to get a job. I’m hoping he will find something he loves even if he has to take a convoluted path to get there~

  5. I loved reading your story :) I always thought I would be an English teacher…worked for a bit in fundraising for a non-profit, realized that wasn’t for me…and now I’m back to teaching (and coaching)! I like seeing that others are sometimes indecisive too :) And! This meal looks delicious!

  6. Rare are those who end up in the career path imagined in teen years. Great inspiration for making the dish and it look so good.

  7. that looks fabulous! i have so much love for indian food!!

  8. Reeni says:

    I love all the warm and exotic spices in here! Sounds delicious! Hearing you’re happy makes me happy! That means there’s hope for me! I’m a lot older than you and still haven’t found a job I’m completely happy in.

  9. Faith says:

    This looks absolutely fantastic! I’ve never heard of it before so I’m excited to try it out…I’ve never come across an Indian dish I didn’t like! ;)

  10. Kristen says:

    That was such a fun post to read. I thought I was going to be a music teacher, too. That lasted one year. Then elementary education lasted another year. I graduated with a degree in developmental psychology. I did end up teaching piano for 15 years, though, in my home.

    Love the meal. The flavors sound delicious.

  11. It’s so interesting to stop and think of all the unexpected directions life takes us! What a great way to discover this dish. Sounds fantastic with the spices, lemon, and peas.

  12. Victoria says:

    I think we all grew up thinking we would be something else than what we are today. Heck, I’m STILL not sure what I’m gonna be when I grow up, and I’m 28, lol! Glad you were inspired to try this Indian dish from your former teacher. It looks delicious. I’m a sucker for all Indian food :)

  13. Joanne says:

    Oh how different we can be from our high school selves…I think mine would be absolutely shocked.

    This keema looks so delicious! I love the spices used in it…cinnamon in savory dishes always sounds good to me!

  14. hellad says:

    Wow this does look tasty! Love your site. I’d love it if you’d add this recipe to our World Food Thursdays bloghop on http://www.helladelicious.com this Thurs :)

  15. Jill says:

    Soooo I made this with ground chicken and it was yummy!!!! Also, I left out the yogurt, b/c I evidently had none even though I thought I had a huge container. I put an extra splash of milk and it was fine. :)

  16. shoshana says:

    Yay for keema, and for me making it into your blog! I love the blog, by the way. I’m excited to try some of these recipes!

  17. […] 6. Post That Did Not Get the Attention it Deserved: Turkey Keema […]

  18. Veronica says:

    Ooh, this sounds good! “I may not be a music teacher, but that doesn’t mean I can’t eat like one.” made me LOL!

  19. Wow This Is great recipe.I love Your Way of making Recipe.I am going to make this recipe for my family now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: