Lamb with Spices and Yogurt (Korma)

Photo by yennyo/flickr

Serves 6.


1 kg/2 lb boneless lamb
2 large onions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons blanched almonds
3 or 4 large dried chillies, seeded
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon saffron strands
1 tablespoon ghee
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons salt
125 ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup natural yoghurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves


Cut lamb into large cubes. Peel onions, slice one finely and set aside. Chop other onion roughly and put into the container of an electric blender with ginger, garlic, almonds and chillies. Add 1/2 cup water to blender, cover and blend on high speed for a minute or until all ingredients are ground smoothly. Add ground spices and blend for a few seconds longer.

Toast saffron strands over low heat for 1 minute, then turn onto a saucer to cool. Crush to powder with the back of a spoon, and dissolve in a tablespoon of boiling water.

Heat ghee and oil in a large saucepan and fry the sliced onion, stirring frequently, until soft and golden. Add the blended mixture and continue to fry, stirring constantly until the spices are well cooked and the oil starts to separate from the mixture. Wash out blender container with an extra 1/4 cup water, add to pan together with salt and continue to stir and fry until liquid dries up once more. Add the meat and stir over medium heat until each piece is coated with spices. Add dissolved saffron to the yoghurt and stir into lamb. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook at a gentle simmer until meat is tender and gravy thick. Stir occasionally, taking care that the spice mixture does not stick to base of pan. When lamb is cooked, sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with rice.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)