Sep 7, 2017

Lamb Korma

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 mins
This lamb korma recipe is made with a mildly spicy, aromatic Indian sauce made with curry powder, pureed almonds, cashews with braised lamb.

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Korma is a mildly spicy, sweet, aromatic Indian sauce made with curry powder, pureed almonds, cashews and a bit of yogurt, which adds a creamy texture to the sauce. While this version is prepared with lamb, it is also often made with other protein like mutton (from a mature ram or ewe with a gamier flavor), chicken or even braised vegetables.

The lamb is seared, then slowly simmered in the korma sauce in a tightly closed Dutch oven until the meat is “fork tender”. This curry-based sauce is mild in flavor and with the addition of the creamy nut mixture, it is perfect for those who don’t always enjoy intense curry-flavored food. The lamb korma dish is topped with chopped cilantro, additional cashews and pomegranate seeds for a bright finish.

Lamb Korma

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Lamb –  This korma recipe uses lamb shoulder meat. It comes from the shoulder of the lamb and since the muscles are worked hard it is ideal for braises and stews. Slowly cooking at a low heat makes the meat tender so it easily falls apart.
  • Nuts – A combination of almonds and cashews are blended in a food processor to form a paste that is used to both thicken and add a nutty flavor to the lamb dish.
  • Curry powder – This versatile earthy spice blend is made from coriander, cumin, fenugreek, cassia, peppercorns, curry leaves and turmeric. Not all curry powder is created the same since they often have regional variations.
  • Spices – I also use aromatic spices like turmeric and paprika in this version of lamb korma though some recipes can include garam masala, cinnamon, cardamom or cumin as well.
  • Tomato paste – Tomato paste is concentrated tomatoes that have been cooked down until it becomes a thick, dense paste. I try to buy tubes of tomato paste rather than small cans. The tubes allow you to reseal and keep the paste for later (they last a long time) resulting in less waste.
  • Ghee – Ghee is clarified butter often used in Indian cooking. You can buy it or you can make it yourself by removing the milk solids and water from the butter. You can also substitute it with unsalted butter in this recipe if needed. This type of butter has a much higher smoke point and can withstand cooking at higher heats much better.
  • Yogurt – Adding yogurt gives the korma a creamy texture. While other recipes use cream in addition to yogurt, I simply use yogurt in this recipe. If you prefer a richer flavor you can add a touch of cream.
lamb korma recipe cooking with cocktail rings

How to Make Lamb Korma

  1. Blend the nuts. Add the almonds, cashews and 1/3 cup water to a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade and set aside.
  2. Sear the lamb. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add two tablespoons of the oil and heat through. Generously season the lamb with salt and pepper. Working in batches, sear the lamb until golden brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Remove the lamb from the pan and set aside on a plate, reserving fat in the pan.
  3. Sauté aromatics. Return the Dutch oven to medium heat then add the ghee and allow to melt. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, stirring to combine and sautéing for about 30 seconds.
  4. Toast the spices. Stir in the curry powder, paprika and turmeric and continuously stir for about an additional 30 seconds to toast the spices.
  5. Assemble the korma in the pot. Stir in the tomato paste followed by the nut mixture, chicken stock, tomatoes, bay leaf and seared lamb. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to medium-low and cover.
  6. Braise the lamb. Continue to braise, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is cooked through and tender, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and yogurt.
  7. Serve the lamb korma. Serve the lamb korma ladled into bowls and serve with basmati rice and naan bread. Garnish with cilantro, chopped cashews and pomegranate seeds.
closeup lamb korma cooking with cocktail rings

How to Make Your Own Ghee

You can buy ghee (clarified butter) at the store or you can easily make your own by following the steps below:

  1. Melt unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer the butter. As the butter simmers the water evaporates.
  2. Continue to simmer until the butter stops sputtering and the milk solids brown and sink to the bottom — this means the water has evaporated and you are left with the milk solids at the bottom and the ghee on the top.
  3. Skim any remaining foam off the top and discard. Let the ghee cool for just a minute then carefully pour the golden ghee into a glass jar or container.

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this lamb korma recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Lamb Korma

Print Pin
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup whole cashews
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1” cubes
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Ghee*
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • cups chicken stock
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped cashews
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • Basmati rice, for serving
  • Naan bread, for serving

Instructions:

  • Add the almonds, cashews and 1/3 cup water to a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade and set aside.
  • Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add two tablespoons of the oil and heat through. Generously season the lamb with salt and pepper. Working in batches, sear the lamb until golden brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Remove the lamb from the pan and set aside on a plate, reserving fat in the pan.
  • Return the Dutch oven to medium heat then add the ghee and allow to melt. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, stirring to combine and sautéing for about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the curry powder, paprika and turmeric and continuously stir for about an additional 30 seconds to toast the spices.
  • Stir in the tomato paste followed by the nut mixture, chicken stock, tomatoes, bay leaf and seared lamb. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to medium-low and cover.
  • Continue to braise, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is cooked through and tender, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and yogurt.
  • Serve the lamb korma ladled into bowls and serve with basmati rice and naan bread. Garnish with cilantro, chopped cashews and pomegranate seeds.

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