Lamb korma is a popular Indian curry with cubed lamb marinated in delicious spiced yogurt. This is a wonderfully richly textured curry can be made mild or spicy and features the tenderest melt in the mouth lamb and a delightful spiced gravy. Curry lovers this is a pushy recipe!
Korma or qorma is a style of cooking where meat or vegetables are marinated in yogurt and spices before being cooked. Korma dates back to the Mughal Empire in the 16th century where this early modern Islamic group controlled a lot of South Asia. Kormas can be made with meat or vegetables and were served in court cuisines. Some say that korma was inspired by the Persian dish Koresh, a stew the Mughals adapted using yogurt and ground almonds.
Natural yogurt gives lamb korma its signature tangy flavour and also does the job of tenderising the meat. If you're looking for a curry that doesn't have a coconut milk base but is yet still rich and delicious then give this lamb korma a try!
Some korma recipes use ground almonds to thicken the gravy while others use coconut milk. I tried one batch with coconut milk and it made it milder and much creamier so it's up to you and your taste preference.
Tips for making Lamb Korma
1 - Start this curry 2 days before you want to serve it. Trust me, the flavour that develops is AMAZING!
2 - I like using lamb shoulder because it melts in the mouth when slow cooked but you can use any cubed lamb you like.
3 - Korma curries can be mild or spicy, it's up to you.
4 - The yogurt tenderises the lamb but also allows the spices to penetrate the meat.
5 - Cook the lamb on low heat.
6 - Serve this with roti, naan or steamed basmati rice
I decided to make this lamb korma curry as Valentina was having a curry night at her house where all of the guests bring a curry along. I didn't have any meat in the fridge as I tend to only buy meat when I need it rather than keep it in the freezer (perhaps a product of having a small fridge freezer but now that I have two I should probably branch out and buy meat and keep it frozen). Then I remembered that Monica had given me some lamb. When she goes to the butcher Emilio's she asks me if I need anything and I always put an order in through her. I asked for some lamb ribs for this recipe and then she gave me a bag of extra lamb offcuts that they had given her.
I haven't made my lamb korma curry in ages, mainly because Mr NQN isn't hugely fond of lamb but for a party with lots of people it would be perfect. I defrosted the lamb and then I realised with slight panic that it was offcuts of lamb ribs, not just lamb (it was frozen when I picked it up so I didn't really check). My 600g/1.3lbs of lamb offcuts would end up a mere 300g/10.6ozs with the bones removed! I pictured me serving the curry by the teaspoonful.
Worriedly, I asked Valentina how many people were coming. I was hoping against all odds that it would be 4. Unfortunately it was around 10 people at the least. I wasn't sure what to do. The curry night was on Sunday and I had made this on the Friday to give it extra time to develop flavours. Should I go out and buy more lamb? I did the only thing I knew how to do and that was ignore the problem assuming that it would work out. Then on Sunday I briefed Mr NQN that he may have to run out to the shops to buy some lamb. I riffled around my vege drawers and found a bag of mushrooms and that's when I ended up adding the mushrooms to this curry. It was so good and fulfilled my love of vegetable rich dishes so I ended up changing my lamb korma to a lamb and mushroom korma recipe! I think this is how I'll make it from now on. The recipe below is for a lamb only curry with the mushrooms as an option extra but if you want a more vegetable rich curry you can make the recipe below with 300g/10.6ozs of lamb and 300g/10.6ozs quartered or halved button mushrooms adding them in during the last 10 minutes of cooking or when you go to reheat it!
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever had a loaves and fishes situation where you had to make something more out of a dish than what you have? Do you like lamb korma?
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 20 minutes plus marinating overnight
Cooking time: 2-2.5 hours
Lamb and marinade:
- 600g/1.3lbs lamb shoulder, cut into pieces
- 1 cup/250g/8.8ozs natural yogurt
- 3 teaspoons grated garlic
- 3 teaspoons finely diced ginger
- 3 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- Pinch cloves
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 dried chillies (adjust for how spicy you want it)
- 4 cardamom pods (brown cardamom ideally)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Ghee for frying
- 2 large onions, peeled and finely diced
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups beef stock, divided
Step 1 - Mix the yogurt with the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric and cloves and then mix with the lamb pieces coating well. Cover and set aside in the fridge for minimum 1 hour or overnight.
Step 2 -Mix the cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, chillies, cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks in a bowl and then dry fry these in a large pot on medium heat. When fragrant add some ghee and fry the onions and allow to sauté and become translucent coating them in the spices. Don't hurry this step, it will take around 8 minutes. Then add the garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute. Add the lamb and yogurt and the bay leaves and the first cup of beef stock. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook with the lid on for 2-2.5 hours on low heat stirring occasionally to ensure that it doesn't stick to the bottom (it shouldn't really stick if the heat is low). I add in the second cup of beef stock after 1 hour. Allow to cool and then place in the fridge for 2 nights where the flavour will develop further. When it comes to heating this up, heat it up for 10-15 minutes on low heat until cooked through.