Korma is one of our favorite curry types, and we make it whenever we can get the ingredients together and the time to cook it. This North Indian curry gets its richness from its unique sauce, based on ground nuts – usually cashew or almond – and yogurt. As I had a big jar of almonds in the pantry and found some nice lamb shank in Makati Supermarket, I made this dish for Cat.
INGREDIENTS (for 3-4 persons)
½ kg lamb shank or neck or shoulder
1 cup yogurt
1 cup toasted almond or cashew nuts, ground fine
1 large white onion, chopped
1 tsp chopped ginger
3 cloves chopped garlic
3 pcs cardamom pods (or ½ tsp cardamom powder)
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander seed
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp clove powder
1-2 bay leaves
salt to taste
about 1 liter water
2 tbsp cooking oil or ghee
Cut lamb into serving pieces. Prepare onion, garlic and ginger, and grind the spices fine. Combine the ground spices in a bowl.
In a deep pot or pressure cooker (I prefer the latter as it shortens my cooking time), saute the onions til soft and light brown, then add the garlic and ginger; saute these until garlic is also light brown, turn the heat to medium-low, and add the ground spices and bay leaves. Fry until the spices start to smoke, stirring constantly. Add in the ground nuts. The paste thus formed will form the base for the sauce.
Add the lamb and stir, making sure to coat the lamb pieces thoroughly in the sauce base. Add the water, at least enough to cover the lamb, more if you’re going to cook this using the slow-boil method.
Cooking time for the slow method is about 2-3 hours; let the pot come to a boil, cover, and turn down the heat to let the contents simmer til the lamb is tender. If using a pressure cooker, you can get lamb or mutton falling off the bone in about 45 minutes.
When lamb is tender, turn off the heat and remove the pot cover. If using a pressure cooker, let the pressure out first before doing this! Turn up the heat again, let the pot come to a boil, and turn off the heat as soon as it does so. Add in the yogurt, and stir to blend thoroughly.
This is traditionally an all-meat curry, but potatoes and carrots may be added in cooking if desired.