The Recipe

Sudanese Gheema

As Ekhlas Ahmed from Khartoum, Republic of Sudan, taught Lindsay Sterling in Portland, ME December 2013

Serves 6
Cooking Time: 1 hr

4 lbs. large potatoes
4 cups oil for frying + 1/4 cup for sauteing
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
small bunch (about 16 stems) of fresh cilantro
5 Tbsp tomato paste
1 lb. ground beef
1 1/2 + 1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp lemon juice or 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
2 pieces koomba, (optional) a black spice available in Sudan
1 chicken bouillon cube (she used Maggi brand)
2 piri piri (or Thai) chili peppers, chopped
1 1/2 c. cooked peas, carrot cubes, and corn
6 pieces flatbread such as naan, chapati, or Iraqi bread


cutting board
vegetable peeler or paring knife
2 large bowls
2 large, 2-inch deep saute pans 
sheet pan or platter
paper towels
slotten spoon
container with lid for storing used oil
serving platter

1. Fill large fry pan 1-inch deep with oil and turn on medium heat. While oil is heating, peel potatoes and cut into ½-inch cubes. When the oil is hot enough to generate bubbles around a potato cube, add enough potato cubes to make a single layer of potatoes submerged completely under the oil in the pan. Let potatoes fry on medium heat until potatoes are cooked all the way through and they have turned light golden brown. Remove potatoes from oil with a slotted spoon, and let cool/dry on a sheet plan or platter lined with paper towel. Finish frying the potatoes in batches until all are fried. Once oil is cool, store room temperature in covered container for re-use.

2. In mortar and pestle, mash garlic, ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, and leaves from 4 stems of cilantro into a rough paste. In a large sauté pan, sauté the paste on medium heat in 1/4 cup vegetable oil. After two minutes, stir in 4 Tbsp tomato paste and let cook for a couple minutes, stirring, so the oil in the pan turns red. Cook the ground beef in the oil, stirring to break up chunks until it is cooked throughout.

3. Rinse mortar and pestle with water, and pour rinse water into ground beef. Add more water as necessary so beef is just covered with water. Mix in 1 Tbsp tomato paste, ½ tsp lemon pepper or 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and 1 bouillon cube. Keep cooking on medium heat until water dissolves. 

4. Add chili pepper, cook for two minutes, and then add mixed vegetables and 4 stems chopped cilantro. When veggies are hot, fold in fried potatoes and 4 more stems chopped cilantro.

5. Transfer to serving platter and garnish with stems of fresh cilantro leaves. Serve with Sudanese flatbread, similar to chapatti, naan, or Iraqi bread.

Copyright Lindsay Sterling 2013