Korma is a mildly spicy, aromatic Indian sauce made with curry powder, pureed almonds, cashews and a bit of yogurt, which adds a creamy texture to the sauce. While this version is prepared with lamb, it is also often made with chicken or braised vegetables.
The lamb is seared, then slowly simmered in the sauce in a tightly closed Dutch oven until the meat is “fork tender”. This curry-based sauce is mild in flavor and with the addition of the creamy nut mixture, it is perfect for those who don’t always enjoy intense curry-flavored food. The dish is topped with chopped cilantro, additional cashews and pomegranate seeds for a bright finish.
¼ cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup whole cashews
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 pounds boneless lamb leg, cut into 1” cubes
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons Ghee*
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon Turmeric powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1½ cups chicken stock
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup plain whole milk yogurt
¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
¼ cup chopped cashews
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
Basmati rice, for serving
Naan bread, for serving
Add the almonds, cashews and 1/3 cup water to a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade and set aside.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add two tablespoons of the oil and heat through. Generously season the lamb with salt and pepper. Working in batches, sear the lamb until golden brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Remove the lamb from the pan and set aside on a plate, reserving fat in the pan.
Return the Dutch oven to medium heat then add the ghee and allow to melt. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, stirring to combine and sautéing for about 30 seconds. Stir in the curry powder, paprika and turmeric and continuously stir for about an additional 30 seconds to toast the spices.
Stir in the tomato paste followed by the nut mixture, chicken stock, tomatoes, bay leaf and seared lamb. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to medium-low and cover. Continue to braise, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is cooked through and tender, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and yogurt.
Serve the lamb korma ladled into bowls and serve with basmati rice and naan bread. Garnish with cilantro, chopped cashews and pomegranate seeds.
*Note: Ghee is clarified butter often used in Indian cooking. You can buy it or you can make it yourself by removing the milk solids and water from the butter. This type of butter has a much higher smoke point and can withstand cooking at higher heats much better. You can easily make it by melting unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. As the butter simmers the water evaporates. Continue to simmer until the butter stops sputtering and the milk solids brown and sink to the bottom -- this means the water has evaporated and you are left with the milk solids at the bottom and the ghee on the top. Skim any remaining foam off the top and discard. Let the ghee cool for just a minute then carefully pour the golden ghee into a glass jar or container.