This lamb korma recipe features melt-in-the-mouth lamb in a flavorful sauce that contains ground nuts, coconut shreds, and a bunch of aromatics.
If you have made our lamb vindaloo or vegetable korma before, you should try this lamb korma recipe, as you are bound to love it.
The lamb pieces are first marinated in yogurt and spices. They are then added to a sauce full of such fragrant ingredients as cinnamon and cardamom and slow-cooked until tender.
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What type of curry is a korma?
Korma is a curry typically flavored with spices such as cardamom and cinnamon. Common ingredients in korma also include yogurt and ground nuts.
It isn’t as spicy as a chicken tikka masala or as rich as a butter chicken. It is the perfect balance of both, so we make it almost weekly in our household. You’ll love it, too, because:
- Fall-apart lamb. If you want a surefire lamb recipe that will leave you with ultra-tender lamb, this korma recipe is one of your best bets.
- A creamy and flavorful sauce. The aromatic and creamy sauce makes this dish good enough to serve over a bed of plain white rice or mashed potatoes.
- Hands-off cooking. While this dish takes around an hour to cook, you only need to check on it a few times to ensure enough liquid in the pot (like chana masala). In the meantime, you have plenty of time to cook some naan to pair it with and some kulfi for dessert.
If lamb is not a protein you often cook with, try this korma recipe. It will become one of your favorite ways to incorporate this fine meat into your diet.
What is lamb korma made of?
There isn’t too much that goes into making this lamb korma recipe. This is everything it calls for.
- Lamb. Cut into small, even-sized cubes.
- Yogurt. Plain Greek yogurt to marinate the lamb.
- Spices. The spices I use for this korma recipe include ground cinnamon, coriander, cumin, paprika, black pepper, turmeric, chili, paprika, sticks of cinnamon, bay leaves, and some cardamom pods.
- Cashew nuts. Soaked in boiling water and blended into a thick paste.
- Onion. Slice it and blend it with three tablespoons of water to make a fine paste.
- Garlic. Sliced.
- Ginger. Peel it and blend it with three tablespoons of water and garlic to make a paste.
- Coconut. Shredded.
- Butter or ghee. To cook the marinated lamb and the remaining ingredients.
- Salt. To taste.
How to make it
Making korma and other curry dishes is easy when you get familiar with the basic techniques commonly used in Indian cooking. Here’s how you make a flavorful lamb curry in four simple steps.
Step 1 – Marinate the meat
Add the lamb cubes and the yogurt to a mixing bowl. Add the ground spices and salt to taste. Mix well, and allow the meat to marinate for at least 10 minutes but up to 24 hours.
Step 2 – Cook the aromatics
Add butter or ghee to a deep pan or pot and heat it medium heat. Add the cardamom, bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks. Cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add the onion paste and cook for 2 minutes. Next, add the garlic and ginger paste and cook for another minute.
Remove the cinnamon sticks and blend the remaining ingredients into a thick paste. Bring back the cinnamon sticks.
Step 3 – Add the lamb, nuts, and coconut
Add the marinated lamb pieces. Cook the lamb for a few minutes, add the shredded coconut and cashew paste, followed by a cup of water.
Step 4 – Cook until tender and serve
Bring the sauce to a simmer and set the heat to low. Cook the dish on low heat for an hour until the sauce thickens and the lamb becomes tender. Once cooked, give the dish a taste test and adjust the flavor as needed. Serve warm with naan bread.
Instant pot and slow cooker instructions
Aside from the stove, you can also use the instant pot or a slow cooker for cooking korma.
Instant pot instructions
- Set the instant pot to Saute mode.
- Heat some butter or oil and cook the spices with the onion and ginger paste for a few minutes.
- Add the marinated lamb, coconut, cashew paste, and water.
- Lock the lid and pressure cook for 20 minutes.
- Release the pressure naturally for 10 minutes, following it up with a quick pressure release.
Slow cooker instructions
- If your slow cooker doesn’t have a Saute mode, cook the aromatics in a heated pan on the stove. You can also use the heated pan to brown the lamb before you transfer it into the slow cooker.
- Transfer the flavorful paste to the slow cooker pot and add the lamb, coconut, cashew paste, and water.
- Cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
Tips to make the best recipe
- For the best-tasting korma, always use good-quality fresh lamb. Boneless lamb neck, shoulder, and leg are the best cuts for this recipe.
- Don’t skip the marinating step. It is essential for achieving tender lamb infused with spices. Marinate the lamb for at least 10 minutes or overnight if you have time.
- If you are marinating the lamb for over 30 minutes, don’t forget to cover it with food wrap and place it in the fridge.
- Cook the lamb on low-medium heat. Cooking the meat on high heat, aiming for a shorter cooking time, won’t produce the most tender results.
What to serve with this dish
This creamy korma pairs well with homemade naan bread. The next best thing to serve with it is rice. As korma is very flavorful, keep it simple with the rice. Plain basmati rice and coconut rice are both fantastic options.
If greens are your thing, keep them simple. We like using our air fryer for cooking up some broccoli, carrots, or even a baked sweet potato (trust me on this!). You can also cook up both potatoes and carrots while the curry is simmering.
To store. Place leftovers in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days.
To freeze. You can freeze the korma in a shallow container for 2 to 3 months.
To reheat. Reheat lamb korma on the stove over medium heat, adding a dash of water or broth if needed. You can also reheat it in the microwave.
More recipes using lamb to try
Frequently asked questions
Thanks to the nuts and spices used to make korma, this curry has nutty and earthy notes. It is also creamy and somewhat sweet.
Korma is a type of curry dish just like tikka masala and vindaloo. Korma tends to be richly spiced and creamy but not overly spicy. It almost always contains coriander, yogurt, and ground nuts.
In general, korma is sweet and creamy and only mildly hot. With this said, you can make korma as fiery as you like.
For the lamb
For the sauce
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1 small onion thinly sliced
- 1 inch ginger sliced
- 2 1/3 cups warm water divided
- 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 5 whole cardamom pods bruised
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 5 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons shredded coconut
- Combine the lamb meat with the spices and yogurt and mix well. Allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes or up to 24 hours.
- Blend the cashews with one cup of boiling water to create a paste. Blend the onion with 3 tablespoons of water to create an onion paste and blend the ginger with 3 tablespoons of water to create a ginger paste.
- Heat the butter in a pot over medium heat and add cardamom, coriander, bay leaves, and cinnamon. Cook for 1-2 minutes, add the onion paste, and cook for two more minutes. Add garlic and ginger paste and cook for one more minute.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and blend the rest of the ingredients from the pot into a thick paste. Place back into the pot along with the cinnamon, followed by the marinated lamb.
- Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the shredded coconut, mix, and add cashew paste with the remaining cup of water.
- Bring to a simmer, adjust the heat to low, and cook for 60 minutes, occasionally stirring, or until the lamb becomes tender.
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