Keema Maggi with Achari Chili Oil

published Nov 28, 2022
Keema Maggi with Achari Chili Oil Recipe

Topped with keema and an achari chili oil made with South Asian pickling spices, this is my favorite way to turn the iconic Maggi Noodles into a heartier dinner.

Serves4 to 6

Prep35 minutes

Cook25 minutes

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Overhead photo of a bowl of Keema Maggi with Achari Oil, garnished with scallions.
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

Packed with masala, some

MSG

Maggi noodles have evolved from being a simple, convenient snack to a cultural phenomenon within the South Asian diaspora. Its bright yellow packet with “2-minute noodles” written in big blue letters is instantly recognizable, and its flavor is unforgettable.

These instant noodles were introduced to India by Nestlé in 1983 as a quick and easy snack that the growing demographic of working mothers could whip up for their kids. In recent years, though, the brand landed in hot water (no pun intended) due to a health scandal. But despite the controversy, Maggi remains a staple in South Asian homes because, after all, nostalgia is the most potent of ingredients. 

Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

You can find Maggi at Indian grocery stores, on Amazon, and even at some Costcos! My mom used to add veggies to make it healthier, but my way is loosely inspired by Dan Dan noodles. Topped with keema, another classic South Asian dish made with ground lamb (or beef), and accompanied by an achari chili oil made with South Asian pickling spices, this is my favorite way to turn this classic snack into a complete meal.

Keema Maggi with Achari Chili Oil Recipe

Topped with keema and an achari chili oil made with South Asian pickling spices, this is my favorite way to turn the iconic Maggi Noodles into a heartier dinner.

Prep time 35 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

For the achari chili oil:

  • 2 tablespoons

    red pepper flakes

  • 1 tablespoon

    Sichuan chili flakes

  • 1 tablespoon

    granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons

    amchur (mango powder)

  • 2 teaspoons

    panch phoron (Bengali whole spice blend)

  • 2/3 cup

    canola oil

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 2

    whole green cardamom pods

  • 2

    whole cloves

  • 1

    (1-inch) cinnamon stick

  • 1/4 cup

    soy sauce

For the keema:

  • 1 (2-inch) piece

    ginger

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 to 2

    green Thai chiles or serrano peppers

  • 4

    whole green cardamom pods

  • 4

    whole cloves

  • 1 tablespoon

    ground coriander

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cayenne

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1

    small yellow onion

  • 2

    medium scallions

  • 1 pound

    ground lamb or beef

  • 4 (70-gram) packages

    Maggi masala-flavored instant noodles

  • 1/4 cup

    canola oil

  • 1 cup

    warm water

  • 1/4 cup

    ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons

    tomato paste

  • 2

    bay leaves

  • 1 cup

    frozen peas

  • 1 teaspoon

    garam masala

Instructions

Make achari chili oil:

  1. Place 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon Sichuan chili flakes, 2 teaspoons amchur, and 2 teaspoons panch phoron in a medium heatproof bowl and stir to combine.

  2. Place 2/3 cup canola oil, 2 peeled garlic cloves, 2 whole green cardamom pods, 2 whole cloves, and 1 (1-inch) cinnamon stick in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the oil begins to bubble. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Remove and discard the aromatics with a slotted spoon.

  3. Carefully pour the hot oil into the spice mixture and stir to combine. Let cool and infuse for at at least 30 minutes. Add 1/4 cup soy sauce and stir to combine. For the best flavor, make the chili oil at least 1 day in advance. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Make the keema:

  1. Prepare the following, adding each to the same small bowl as you complete it: Peel and mince 1 (2-inch) piece ginger until you have 2 tablespoons. Mince 2 garlic cloves. Trim and halve 1 to 2 green Thai chiles or serrano peppers lengthwise; remove and discard the seeds, then finely dice the peppers.

  2. Add 1 tablespoon ground coriander, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to the bowl.

  3. Dice 1 small yellow onion. Thinly slice 2 medium scallions on a slight diagonal. Place 1 pound ground lamb or beef in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with 1 of the Maggi noodle seasoning packets and gently mix with your hand or a fork until just combined. Do not over mix.

  4. Heat 1/4 cup canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, 4 whole green cardamom pods, and 4 whole cloves. Sauté until the onion is translucent and the spices are fragrant, about 3 minutes. (This is a good time to start boiling the water for the instant noodles.)

  5. Add the ginger mixture. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the spices are fully incorporated, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, place 1 cup warm water, 1/4 cup ketchup, and 2 tablespoons tomato paste in the now-empty bowl and stir until combined.

  6. Add the ketchup mixture to the pan and bring to a simmer. Add the seasoned meat and cook for about 2 minutes, breaking it up into bite-sized pieces with a wooden spoon. Add 1 cup frozen peas and stir to combine.

  7. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are cooked through, the meat is cooked through, and some of the oil has risen to the top, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare 4 (70-gram) packages Maggi instant noodles according to package instructions, leaving out the seasoning. Drain, add 2 tablespoons of the achari chili oil, and toss until coated. Divide into 4 to 6 bowls and set aside.

  8. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon garam masala and a second Maggi seasoning packet (discard the remaining packets) into the pan and stir to combine. Taste and season with kosher salt as needed. Top the noodles with the meat mixture. Garnish with the scallions and more chili oil.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftover keema can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator.