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Lamb korma

Korma curry came about during the Mughul Empire in India. It's usually a mild curry, although some versions include Kashmiri chilli to add a little heat, which we've done here. Our version starts with chaunk, a mixture of onions, ginger and spices slowly cooked in ghee, and we finish the dish with a paste made with almonds, coconut flesh and poppy seeds to flavour and thicken the gravy. We've used lamb neck here for its full flavour and served it with lacha, a raw onion salad, for a nice clean lift to the dish.

You'll need

100 ml ghee 1.6 kg lamb neck, cut into 7cm pieces onions, finely chopped 80 gm ginger, coarsely chopped 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 1 piece cassia bark 1½ tbsp garam masala 1 tbsp ground ginger 1 tbsp each coriander and cumin seeds, coarsely ground 2-3 tsp ground Kashmiri chilli, or to taste (see note) 1 tsp ground turmeric 200 gm plain yoghurt, plus extra to serve To serve: diced cucumber To serve: curry leaves (optional)   Nut paste 60 gm blanched almonds 50 gm finely grated coconut flesh 3 tsp white poppy seeds   Pilau 2 tbsp ghee 4 golden shallots, thinly sliced 6 fresh curry leaves 2 garlic cloves, crushed 4 cardamom pods, bruised 1 piece cassia bark Large pinch of saffron threads 400 gm basmati rice, rinsed 750 ml (3 cups) chicken stock   Onion lacha 1 Spanish onion, diced Juice of 1 lime 3-4 small green chillies, or to taste


  • 01
  • Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a large wide saucepan over high heat. Season lamb neck well, then add to pan in batches and brown all over (5-7 minutes). Transfer to a plate.
  • 02
  • Process onion, ginger and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Heat remaining ghee in the pan over medium heat, add onion mixture and cassia, and stir until very tender and starting to caramelise (20-25 minutes). Increase heat to high, add spices and stir continuously until fragrant (3-4 minutes). Return lamb to pan, stir to coat and add 1 litre water, season to taste and bring to a simmer. 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 meat (2-2¼ hours; add a splash of water if necessary during cooking). Remove lamb and set aside loosely covered with foil to keep warm.
  • 03
  • For nut paste, meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C and roast almonds on an oven tray until toasted and golden (10-12 minutes). Cool briefly, then pound with a mortar and pestle with coconut flesh and poppy seeds until smooth, adding 2-3 tbsp of oil from the lamb sauce one at a time to help form a paste. Add to lamb with yoghurt, season well to taste and stir occasionally over a very low heat until sauce is thickened (20-30 minutes).
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, for pilau, heat ghee in a large ovenproof saucepan over medium-high heat, add shallots and stir until fragrant and golden (about 5 minutes), then add curry leaves, 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 simmer, stirring occasionally, then cover with a lid, transfer to oven and bake until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed (15-20 minutes).
  • 05
  • For onion lacha, 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 (2 minutes).
  • 06
  • Scatter korma with extra curry leaves and serve with pilau, onion lacha and yoghurt topped with cucumber and ground black pepper to taste.

Note Ground Kashmiri chilli are available from Indian grocers and online from

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people

Drink Suggestion

Full-bodied traditional Aussie shiraz cabernet blend.

Featured in

Jul 2015

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