Heat oil in wide pan over medium high heat and add onion. Fry onions until they turn a nice caramel brown. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Stir constantly so they don’t burn.
Add garlic, ginger and chili and fry for another 2 minutes.
Add ground meat and cook until it’s browned. Using the spoon or spatula, break up and “smash” the meat to get the finest texture you can.
Once meat is browned, sprinkle with turmeric and salt. Stir a few times. Add hot water. Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat. Let cook for about 25 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. If the liquid is not all absorbed, remove cover, increase heat and cook until dry being careful to not burn.
Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice, garam masala, and cilantro.
This can be served with steamed basmati rice and naan for a meal. Since all of those are dry, add a moist salad or dal.
The meat mixture can also be used to make small meat pies using a flaky pastry. A turmeric spiked pastry such as that used for Jamaican meat pies works very well with the turmeric and other spices in the meat.
This meat can be made ahead and gently reheated. It also freezes well.