I want to introduce you to a really rich and flavorful dish that comes from the Middle East called lamb korma. You can make it in a couple hours using ingredients from your local grocery store, and if you’ve never had it before, I think you’ll be delighted at how complex the flavors are and how amazing the texture of the lamb comes out when it’s done cooking.
What is lamb korma? Lamb korma is an Afghan dish that uses some of the more prominent, commonly used spices from that area to create an interesting flavor profile.
The star ingredient is lamb here, and while most people prefer boneless lamb, you can use lamb legs, shoulders, neck, or shanks for this dish. The key to making lamb korma work is to slow cook the lamb so that it’s tender and succulent.
This dish also relies on aromatics like ginger, onion, and garlic to give it a robust flavor. Greek yogurt or any kind of unflavored, plain yogurt is essential to pull off lamb korma as well.
This dish is known as a nut-based curry, which is what the word korma denotes. Most people will use whole cashew nuts, plunge them into boiling water, allow them to soak, and then blend them up to make a creamy sauce.
If you’ve never had cashew nuts this way, you’ve been missing out, and I’ll show you how to do all of that to pull off this dish properly.
Of course, the spices and seasonings are really important as well. You can incorporate any kind of Indian spices you like into this, but the recipe I’ll give you uses paprika, cardamom, garam masala, and turmeric.
Using a variety of the right kind of spices is really essential to making this dish taste like it should.
What to Serve with Lamb Korma?
If you want to keep things simple for your meal, you can just serve lamb korma with white rice. The korma does all the work, providing flavoring and texture, and the rice just fills out the meal.
Because this dish is so flavorful and has a few different textures, it works well when accompanied by a flat, blend dish. You can pair it with some naan or another flatbread.
It also works well with potato dishes, like boiled potatoes that have been lightly fried to give them some added texture and then seasoned to keep them from being too bland.
You can pair lamb korma with cooked vegetable dishes of any kind as well as dhal (split peas) for a varied spread with a nice variety of textures and flavors.
It’s important to keep the lamb korma as the centerpiece of your meal, though, as its bold, complex flavors can overpower other foods.
How to Make Lamb Korma
I’ll share with you a recipe for lamb korma, and try not to be intimidated by how many components this recipe has. There are a lot of ingredients, but putting the dish together does not require a lot of steps or a lot of skill, so you should be able to pull it off well your first time.
To make the marinade:
- 3 pounds of cubed, boneless, lamb Stew meat (or other suitable lamb meat)
- 1 teaspoon of garam masala
- 2 cups of plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom
- 1 teaspoon of crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon of crushed ginger
To make the curry:
- 2 tablespoons of ghee
- 1 1/2 cups of cashew nuts (already soaked in boiling water)
- 2 teaspoons of crushed garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 2 chopped onions
- 1 tablespoon of garam masala
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of crushed ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom
- 1 pinch of sugar
- Mix together the lamb with all of the ingredients for the marinade. Place into a container and cover for about an hour in the fridge, or you can leave it in the fridge overnight.
- Prepare the curry by soaking the cashews in 2 cups of boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Then, pour the water in cashews into the blender and blend until you’ve made a smooth curry.
- Heat up the ghee in a large pot and add in the onions. Cook on medium heat until the onions become soft, and then add in ginger, garlic, and the rest of your spices. Cook for one or two minutes, until you can smell the mixture from the pot and the pot is dry.
- Add the lamb and marinade to your pot, as well as one to two cups of water, cashew paste, and just a pinch of sugar.
- Bring the pot to a simmer, and then lower your heat, cover the pot, and allow to simmer for one to two hours.
You want to cook until the lamb has become tender and the sauce reduces. As your lamb korma cooks, give the sauce a stir every 20 minutes. Add water if the sauce is thickening too much.
If you want to improve the flavor slightly or make it more to your taste, you can add a few squirts of lemon juice, salt, or pepper. This method for how to cook lamb korma is simply one recipe that you can use, and there are others available that use different spices and seasonings.
How Long to Cook Lamb Korma?
In the recipe above, I told you to cook all of your ingredients together, once they’re combined in the pot, for a total of one to two hours. I’ve given you a wide range like this because how long it takes to cook will depend on how large your lamb pieces are and how dense they are.
You’ll want to cook them until the lamb has become tender enough to eat easily. As you’re stirring the sauce, you can poke the lamb with a fork and check its tenderness.