Rich Lamb Korma

2 February 2021 By

Korma is often thought of as a fairly mild and creamy curry with its origins traced from the Mughal Empire in India. Some versions especially those from middle and southern India include a healthy dose of heat by way of whole green chillies or hot red chilli powder.

This version – my Rich Lamb Korma – starts with a caramelised base consisting of onions fried, crushed and then cooked with ginger and spices slowly cooked in ghee. The dish is finished off with a nutty paste made with cashew and almonds, fresh grated coconut and poppy seeds to flavour and thicken the gravy.

This recipe is accompanied by a raw onion salad, called Laccha used in similar way to Onion Raita. Onion Laccha is an easy side dish to make and is both tangy and spicy and works well with this rich dish.

Rich Lamb Korma

Ingredients − Serves 12

  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 kg lamb neck, cut into 7 cm pieces

Nut Paste

  • 1 tbsp raw skinless almonds, soaked overnight.
  • 1 tbsp raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 2 tbsp finely grated fresh coconut flesh
  • 2 tbsp white poppy seeds, soaked overnight.


  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 4 golden shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1 piece cassia bark
  • Large pinch of saffron threads
  • 400 gm basmati rice, soaked for half an hour then drained and rinsed
  • 750 ml (3 cups) chicken stock

Onion Laccha

  • 1 Spanish onion, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 red chilli, 1 green chilli sliced in rounds

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  1. Season lamb neck with 1 tsp turmeric and stand for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a large wide saucepan over high heat and add seasoned lamb to pan in batches and brown all over (8 minutes). Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Heat 100 ml ghee and 50 ml oil in the same pan over medium heat, add cinnamon and onion slices and stir fry until onions are very crispy and dark golden brown (20 minutes) but not burnt. Remove onions with a slotted spoon into a side bowl, leaving the cinnamon in the pan. Turn the heat off. Reserve 3 tbsp of the oil.
  4. Meanwhile crush the fried onions in a blender then mix with yoghurt. Pour this marinade over the lamb in a bowl, cover and keep aside for ½ hour.
  5. Heat the same saucepan used earlier containing the cinnamon and oil. Add the grated ginger and minced garlic and stir continuously until fragrant (3-4 minutes).
  6. Then add Latasha’s Kitchen Korma (Kuruma) Masala Paste, Garam Masala and all the rest of the spice powders. Stir in ⅓ cup water and cook the mixture on gentle heat for about 10 minutes.
  7. In the same blender used to crush the fried onions (don’t wash) crush all the soaked nuts, coconut and poppy seeds with the 3 tablespoons of reserved oil from Step 3 until a smooth paste forms. Keep aside.
  8. Return marinated fried lamb to pan, stir to coat with the spice mixture for 5 to 10 minutes until the meat and yoghurt is well absorbed by the spice mixture then add 1 litre water, season to taste and bring to a boil.
  9. Add the nutty paste from Step 7 and the split green chillies. Then after 5 more minutes of simmering on high, reduce heat to low and simmer half-covered with a lid, stirring occasionally, until lamb is very tender and sauce is reduced to just cover the meat (2 hours). Remove lamb and set aside loosely covered with foil to keep warm.
  10. For Pilaf: heat ghee in a large ovenproof saucepan over medium-high heat, add shallots and stir until fragrant and golden (about 5 minutes), then add garlic and spices, and stir until fragrant (1 minute). Add rice and stir until well combined (1 minute), add chicken stock and bring to a boil. stirring occasionally, then cover with a lid, transfer to oven and bake in a hot pre-heated fan forced oven set at 180˚C until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed (15-20 minutes).
  11. For Onion Laccha: toss onion, lime juice, chillies and a large pinch each of salt and ground white pepper in a bowl and set aside for flavours to develop (4-5 minutes).
  12. Serve Lamb Korma with Pilaf, Onion Laccha and Yoghurt Raita made with grated cucumber and ground black pepper to taste.