The ultimate Indian lamb korma is here, in saffron almond sauce whereby lamb cubes are braised in yogurt, nut and caramelized onion puree, infused with rich saffron and highly aromatic spices that gives a subtle touch to the dish without being too overpowering. Lamb korma / mutton korma or chicken korma for that matter essentially brings up the richness of nut and yogurt based sauce, which makes them quite regal in appearance like this amazingly good Afghani chicken korma.
Cold darker evenings with knee-deep snow outside the window, a steaming pot of stewed lamb on the stove, like this Aloo gosht , stewed mutton with potatoes, whose aromatic smells wafting through the house and a hot cup of tea snugly fitted in your palm and good book on your lap are perhaps the best ways to enjoy the winter luxuries. Winter is the season that I loved most for many reasons.
For gastronomes like me reading through literature and fictions is quite exhilarating experience when story books from afar are dotted with connotations, giving you the glimpses of life , culture and history of its people, so unrelated to yours, not native to my country.
So when I chanced upon Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children I can not ignore the context where he mentioned about the lamb korma, he is the man who loves to stir the pots and who loves to rejuvenate his fond memories of food in a very passionate way and it is scattered throughout his books, almost everywhere. Few months later the same lamb korma and the same name re-surfaced again, this time on American Sunday Magazine called Parade, and as I was leafing through the pages in the comfy of my hotel room, the lamb korma pops out from the magazine. I could not understand why the previous guest has left this magazine ? A trash for someone and prized catch for other ! See the cosmic connections !
But this lamb korma has other inspirations too. Madhur Jafrey’s lamb korma in her book At home is equally rich and delectable and since I have always trusted her recipes, I decided to combine the two. And wait, there is one more un-named person behind the recipe too. And he deserve the mention too – A Mid eastern chef who runs his own restaurant in NYC, after watching intently his process of lamb korma, I decided to use sour cream (after much procrastination, because I had to make myself convinced about using sour cream in korma recipes) in the recipe. To my surprise it realluy worked wonder in this korma recipe. Like all korma dishes that uses a braising liquid, this too begun by braising the lamb in liquid that contains yoghurt, nut puree and cream and are subtly spiced which is the characteristic of such dishes.
So in short my lamb korma is part Rushdie, part Jaffrey, part me and since I grew up on eating only kosha mangsho / braised mutton curry at home, so I can not share any magical memories from childhood. But I was destined to make this through some cosmic connection !
Indian Lamb / Mutton korma in saffron and almond sauce
- 1 kg Lamb (tender, lean and cut into cubes)
- ¾ cup hung curd (thick Greek style yoghurt)
- ½ cup Sour cream / or any thick cream
- ½ cup Almonds (chopped /sliced)
- 1 Red onion (large and thinly sliced , should yield 1 1/2 cup onions)
- 4 tsp ginger and garlic (both minced)
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Cumin powder
- 1 tsp Red chilli powder (+more depend upon taste)
- A large pinch of saffron
- A pinch of nutmeg powder
- Few cardamoms, bay leaf and one stick of cinnamon
- 2 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter)
- Salt to taste
- Wash and clean the cubed lamb pieces. The lamb should be lean for this recipe.Marinate the lamb pieces in yoghurt, salt and turmeric for one hour.
- In a pan, heat some ghee and braised the sliced onions till it nicely browned, almost caramelized. This process will take around 45 minutes.Once the onions are caramelized enough, cool them and puree them in a mixer along with minced ginger and garlic.
- Puree the soaked almonds with little of soaking liquid.
- Now in a deep bottom pot heat the ghee and add the cardamoms, bay leaf and cinnamon.Add the marinated lamb pieces, reserve the marinade for future use and braise on high heat till they become brown on all sides.
- Once the meat is browned, remove it and put it back in a bowl.
- In the same pan, add some more ghee if requires, and braise the pureed onion-ginger-garlic.
- Add the almond paste with little water and saute it for few minutes.
- Add turmeric powder,cumin powder, garam masala powder and kashmiri red chilli powder.Once the spices are sauteed, add the marinade, check for salt and saute it for couple of minute.
- Add the braised lamb pieces, mix it well, cover and simmer on low heat till done.
- Once the meat becomes tender, and spices and seasonings are just right, add the sour cream.Give it a gentle stir.
- In a seperate pan, toast a large pinch of saffron and crushed it, sprinkled over 2tablespoon of warm water in a small bowl and soak it for 5 minute. Let the color to appear.
- Add this saffron water in the pot, a dash of nutmeg powder and switch off the heat.
- Cover and let it stand for few more minutes before serving it with pulao / pilaf.
Have you checked our deliciously good Moroccan lamb tagine with apricots and almonds ?
Nosh Farmaaye !!! Bon Appetite
Do you also love to read the fiction which has good narration focused on food ? Any references you want to mention here ?
By the way have I mentioned before that this is my 200th recipe post !
Have a delicious start to a brand new week !
Stay healthy !