Lamb korma

Lamb korma

Spice Kitchen
Jana Liebenstein

Kormas are mild, rich curries that have many diverse ingredients and may vary in colour and taste. Think of the great Mughal kings and their dancing girls, music, poetry, statesmanship – do not let your mind dwell on average takeaways. This wonderful recipe must be treated with respect, cooked in a leisurely fashion, and served with Pulao Rice or Chapattis, Naan or Parathas to accompany it.


Quantity Ingredient
125g plain yoghurt
1/2-1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1kg diced lamb or lamb chops, or a combination of both, (see note)
30g Ghee
or 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, (see Note)
4 green cardamom pods
1 teaspoon whole mace
1 whole dried red chilli
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons Ginger paste
2 teaspoons Garlic paste
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
55g ground almonds
125ml pouring cream
1/4 teaspoon Saffron infusion
1 tablespoon white poppy seeds, ground
small handful dried apricots, sun, chopped, to garnish, (see note)
pouring cream, to garnish

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
Pulao rice
or Chapattis
or Naan
or Parathas


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the yoghurt and salt. Add the lamb and stir to coat with the mixture, then marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  2. Heat the ghee or oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the cardamom pods, mace and chilli and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until translucent.
  3. Add the ginger and garlic pastes, coriander and turmeric and stir to mix through. Stir in the lamb with the marinating yoghurt, then cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 1½ hours, or until the meat is almost tender.
  4. Stir the ground almonds, cream, saffron infusion and poppy seeds through the korma. Cover, reduce the heat to very low and simmer for a further 20 minutes, or until the lamb is melt-in-the-mouth tender.
  5. Garnish with the dried apricots, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts and sultanas, and a swirl of cream.


  • You can use diced lamb, which is boneless, or you can choose from lamb forequarter or shoulder chops, slices of lamb shank or marrow bones. Get your butcher to cut shoulder chops and marrow bones into 3 cm pieces. Traditionally, Indian cooks use a combination of meat cut both on and off the bone.


  • Ghee really is preferable for this recipe. You could replace it with oil, but be aware that the final flavour will not be as rich and subtle.

    The dried fruit, seed and nut mix will keep well in an airtight container, and can be used to garnish other curries.
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