Chicken Keema Bolognese: Italian Flavour With Desi Tastes
Image Credit: Bolognese

For sure, biting into meat off the bone is the best way of relishing any chicken dish, but an even simpler version - a Keema - makes the plate fuller. Now imagine the riot of flavours from Chicken Keema cooked in aromatic Indian spices infused with the greatness of Italian preparation of Bolognese – a form of sauce? This heavenly concoction of chicken meat simmered in seasoning, poured over a plate of Spaghetti – giving you Indian Style Chicken Keema Bolognese – unlike Pav, Paratha, Chapati, or Naan is something that kids will eat without any nakhras. This humble coming together of two dishes is also the simplest one-pot dish that can be whipped up in no time.

The Simmering Saga Of Two Countries  

Both Chicken Keema and Bolognese sauce are century-old dishes originating from the Middle East and Italy, respectively. While the word Keema derives from the Turkish word ‘Kıyma’, which means minced meat, Bolognese comes from French ragoûter – meaning reviving the taste. Just like many Indian meat preparations that originated from the Royal kitchens during the Mughal Period, Chicken Keema is no exception. One narrative of Keema’s origin traces it back to Persia since the first mention of a recipe is in Ain-I-Akbari, a document narrating Emperor Akbar's empire. Historical accounts have it that Keema was the invention of khansamah aka Royal cooks of Mughal rulers and Nawabs who prepared the dish to please the king and of the people of the court. Over time Keema became a popular breakfast food in the Awadhi cuisine, which by then had become an even elaborate preparation involving vegetables, ginger, chilli, onions, and spices, besides minced meat.

Bolognese - a slow-cooked meat-based sauce – has been a popular dish since the 18th century. This Italian cuisine is traditionally served with tagliatelle pasta. Noting from the recipe published in 1891, Bolognese sauce has been made with finely minced pancetta, onion, carrot, and meat. All these ingredients are cooked with butter until the meat changes colour, and then further cooked with broth. However, once a delicacy of the Royal courts, Keema has sadly gained the reputation of a poor man’s meal. This is partly true as butchers, often left with redundant meat, would mince it and sell it as Keema.


1. Yellow bell peppers

2. Carrots

3. Onions

4. Eggplant

5. 2 tbsp oil

6. 2 tbsp butter

7. 1 tsp cumin seeds

8. ½ tsp fennel seeds

9. 1 tsp ginger garlic paste

10. 1 tbsp coriander powder

11. 1tsp chilli powder

12. ½ tsp black pepper

13. 2 cups minced chicken

14. 1 cup tomato purée

15. ½ cup milk

For the pasta:

1. Spaghetti pasta

2. 1 tbsp butter

3. ½ tsp black pepper

Chicken sauce

1. 1 tbsp parmesan cheese

2. Coriander leaves

3. Salt


1. Chop the veggies and keep them aside.

2. In a pan add oil, butter, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, ginger garlic paste, and sauté. To this add all the veggies and sauté.

3. As the veggies start to change colour, add spices and sauté.

4. Now add the minced chicken and sauté till it starts to change colour.

5. Once done, add tomato puree and let it simmer for a few minutes on low flame.

6. Add coriander leaves, remove them from the heat and keep them aside.

7. In another pot, boil water, add spaghetti pasta, and boil for 12 minutes.

8. In a pan, add butter, the blanched pasta, salt, and pepper. Sauté for a few seconds, add the Chicken Keema sauce and mix well.

9. Garnish with parmesan and coriander leaves.

This unique blend of pasta and Chicken Keema with a mix of Indian spices, cooked in a century-old Italian recipe, will win hearts. On a day when the craving for paste strikes and all left is some meat and vegetable, this Indian Style Chicken Keema Bolognese will come to the rescue.