Mutton Korma | Lamb Korma
Make the best Lamb korma aka Mutton korma with this authentic recipe. This simple crowd-pleasing dish has tender & succulent pieces of lamb/ mutton simmered in an amazingly delicious and super flavourful gravy. Serve this incredibly tasty lamb korma over fluffy basmati rice, Jeera rice, Turmeric Rice or with flatbreads like Garlic Butter Naan, roti or Plain Paratha. Extend your menu with a Cucumber Raita, Biryani & Halwa for a luxurious feast.
Korma is a popular Mughlai dish, from the Indian Sub-continent where meat is slow cooked with spices, onions, yogurt, nut or seed paste. The word “korma” is derived from the Urdu word “qorma” meaning “braise”.
Though the name suggests “braised”, there are numerous versions of making it across the Indian Sub-Continent. North Indian and Pakistani recipes use brown onions and yogurt to make a korma, while the South Indian kurma is made with coconut milk.
This lamb korma is made in the North Indian style using ingredients like onions, yogurt, ghee and spices that yield a rich and delicious dish. Golden onions also known as fried onions or brown onions along with yogurt form the base of this mutton korma.
Slow cooking lamb helps release all of the juices from the bones and makes this dish taste amazingly delicious. While the yogurt tenderizes the meat, the aromatic Indian spices infuse all of the wonderful flavors.
So Ingredients like nuts, seeds, coconut milk and cream are not required here.
More Mutton Recipes
How To Make Lamb Korma (Stepwise Photos)
1. Transfer cleaned and rinsed mutton to a heavy bottom pot. Add in all of the whole spices – cinnamon, cardamom, black cardamoms and cloves.
2. Next add in spice powders – red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric and salt.
3. Fresh ground ginger & garlic paste is best for this recipe. Add in 1 tbsp paste.
4. Transfer thick curd or yogurt. Then throw in a slit green chili and crushed pepper corn. I use the Thai or Indian chilli here.
5. Mix well and marinate. Cover and keep refrigerated for at least 2 to 3 hours. I usually leave it in the fridge overnight. Resting the meat longer yields succulent and tender meat in your korma. Also longer resting time cuts down the cook time.
Make golden onions
6. Meanwhile wash and slice 3 medium sized onions very thinly. Separate the layers of onions. You may shallow fry or deep fry the onions to your convenience. I show you both the ways here for easy understanding. Choose one of the options.
Option 1 – To Shallow fry, heat 3 to 4 tablespoons of ghee in a heavy bottom pan. Spread the onions as shown in the picture and let them fry uniformly.
Keep stirring in between and fry until the onions are golden but not burnt. Note that burnt or over fried onions will taste bitter.
This is the right stage at which they need to be taken out from the ghee.
Option 2 – Deep fry in hot oil on a medium flame until uniformly golden but not brown. Drain them on a kitchen tissue until cool. You can also make this a day ahead. I used about 1 cup of fried onions. Please do not use store bought fried onions made in Vanaspati or vegetable oil.
7. Transfer the golden onions to a blender.
8. Pulse it several times to make a coarse powder or paste. Don’t worry if you get a paste as it depends on the fats absorbed. If it is too little for your grinder, simply add a few tablespoons of water or yogurt to help blend it.
Make Lamb Korma
9. When you are about to begin cooking, transfer the same ghee (in which we fried the onions) to the pot. You can also do it the other way by transferring the marinade to the ghee pan.
10. Begin to saute the mutton for at least 10 mins.
11. By this time, the marinade turns runny as the yogurt and mutton lets out water. Cook covered on a low to medium heat for at least 30 mins.
12. After 30 mins, put in the crushed fried onions. Then pour 2 cups of hot water. You can use more water as needed.
13. Mix well.
Slow cook mutton korma
14. Cover and cook until the mutton turns soft. Keep stirring in between to prevent the fried onions from burning.
15. When the mutton is almost cooked, put in mace and nutmeg powder. If you do not have, simply skip them.
16. Continue to cook stirring occasionally until the mutton is done completely. The mutton should fall off the bone when it is cooked completely. The meat is soft, juicy and succulent.
17. Add in kewra water (optional). If you do not like you can just skip it and add ¼ tsp of cardamom powder.
18. The consistency of the korma is thick. The oil separates and floats on top.
Mutton korma tastes best after resting it for at least an hour. I usually serve after 2 hours.
- Good quality lamb meat or mutton, whole spices, garam masala and ghee are the key contributors to a flavorful mutton korma.
- It is the quality of the meat that matters the most so buy fresh cut lamb or at least cut on the same day.
- Patience is the next big thing needed for a good mutton recipe. Always make sure and cook it on a low to medium flame. Meat cooked on high heat always turns hard.
- Always marinate the mutton as this process helps to tenderize and enhance the flavor of the meat. The longer it rests the more succulent & tender it turns out. You can also marinate the previous night & refrigerate. Ensure it comes to room temperature before you begin to cook.
- Traditionally ghee was the preferred fats to cook korma. But if you do not have it then just go ahead using oil.
- The fried onions is the star of any korma recipe, so always make them at home. You can also make it ahead and refrigerate in a glass jar. Avoid store bought fried onions fried in vanaspathi or vegetable margarine as it ruins the entire dish.
- This recipe can be made in a slow cooker & instant pot. Slow cooking the lamb korma brings out the flavors of the lamb and also makes the gravy rich. So do not cook mutton korma in a rush.
- Lamb korma can be made ahead and refrigerated. This flavor & taste of the korma enhances the next day.
- Avoid using sour yogurt and use fresh. I use homemade fresh yogurt.
Lamb Korma | Mutton Korma
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 500 grams mutton or lamb
- 1 cup yogurt (thick curd)
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste fresh
- ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder (use as needed)
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder (ground coriander)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric (haldi)(optional)
- 1 green chili paste or slit
Whole spices (or use 1½ tsp garam masala)
- 4 to 6 cloves (laung)
- 2 inch cinnamon piece (dalchini, refer notes)
- 6 green cardamoms (elaichi)
- 2 small black cardamoms (badi elaichi)
- ½ teaspoon pepper corn lightly crushed black pepper
- 3 medium onions thinly sliced or use 1 cup fried onions
- 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter or oil)
- 2 cups hot water Use more if needed
Optional (for authentic flavors)
- 1 strand mace (javithri , refer notes)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (jaiphal powder, refer notes)
- 1 teaspoon kewra water (or ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder)
Marination for mutton korma
- Wash the mutton well and drain the water. Put it in a a bowl for marination.
- Next transfer all the spices – coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric & garam masala. (or whole spices – cinnamon, cardamoms, black cardamoms, pepper and cloves)
- Add ginger garlic paste, green chilli, salt and yogurt.
- Mix all of these and cover it. Keep this for marination for at least 2 hours to overnight in the fridge.
- The marinade works as a tenderizer. So longer the lamb meat is allowed to rest the more tender it turns.
How to make lamb korma
- Heat ghee or oil in a wide heavy bottom pan or pot.
- Separate the layers of onions and slide them to the hot oil or ghee.
- Fry them until deep golden stirring often. The onions must be uniformly browned without burning. This may take about 8 to 10 mins.
- Cool these completely and pulse them coarsely in a blender. Do not over blend as they begin to release lot of oil. If your grinder is unable to grind, you may add 2 tbsps of water or yogurt to help grind. Set this aside.
- To the same pan, add the lamb marinade and mix it. Begin to saute on a medium heat for about 10 mins.
- Yogurt and lamb lets out lot of moisture. Cover and let the mutton cook in this for 30 mins.
- After 30 minutes of cooking the mutton, add the crushed fried brown onions.
- Pour 2 cups hot water and mix well. Cook covered until mutton turns slightly tender stirring occasionally. This may take about 1 hour or more.
- Add mace and nutmeg at this stage (optional). Continue to cook until the mutton falls off the bone easily. Optional – Add kewra water at this stage. Mix and turn off.
- Allow lamb korma to rest at least for a hour to absorb the flavors. Serve with naan, roti, paratha, rice, biryani or pulao.
- The recipe requires only 2 inch piece of cinnamon (single layer). It is not a 2 inch stick. If your cinnamon is paper thin like ceylon cinnamon, then you may use 2 layers of 2 inch length.
- 1 strand of mace is just a thin single strand. Using a lot will make the korma taste bitter.
- 1 large pinch of nutmeg is what is used here.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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Hi. Well I must say this was a success, but I adapted your recipe. I had a lot of leftover leg of lamb and my husband suggested an Indian recipe, as we love the flavors and I spent some time there. I cut up the left over lamb and marinated it in yogurt, coconut cream and the spices overnight. The next day I cooked it in more coconut cream, but it wasn’t your beautiful red, had chili flakes not powder. So I added some paprika and tomato paste. I also added some golden raisins, olives and left over poached pear. We had it with raita, jasmine rice and naan. It was spectacular and a great way to use left over lamb, it made it so tender. Thankyou.
Glad it turned out good. Love the way you made the meal! Thank you!
Made it now. It looks a terrible pale colour and not spicy. The only orange colour is the oil
Red chilli powder, brown onion paste and mutton itself contribute to the deep red color. What kind of red chilli powder did you use? I guess that’s what made the difference. I am just wondering how the red meat did not make your curry dark.
Sadly this didn’t seem to work for me. I followed it closely but instead of creamy it all seemed to curdle? 😔
Low fat yogurt or yogurt with a lot of whey can curdle the korma. This recipe requires thick curd (yogurt) and homemade runny yogurt won’t work here. The other reason can be reducing the quantity of ground spices.
I made this but it came a pale yellow as opposed to the dark colour of this recipe . I used the correct amount of spices
I’m an ardent fan of all your recipes and of you. Your the first person I’m a fan of, I don’t usually get swayed by anybody. And this comment is long overdue. I’ve been trying out your recipes for awhile now and most were a hit at home. The rest, we’ll I’m not a very good cook. Is there a substitute for yogurt in this recipe?
BTW I love reading your answers to all the queries and admire the patience and your perseverance in answering all of them to the ‘T’.
Best wishes in your work and everything else you do.
Thank you so much! This means a lot me! You can try with half cup fresh coconut or 1/3 cup thick coconut milk. The other option would be to use nuts. 15 to 18 cashews should be good enough. Hope this helps. Thank you so much again for the wishes!
I understand you mean I can use coconut paste, coconut milk or cashew paste in the marinade instead of yogurt? Or should any one of these be added towards the end?
Coconut paste or coconut milk can go into the marinade with lemon juice. If you want to use only cashew paste add it after the mutton is tender. I haven’t cooked much with mutton and cashew paste but I know my mom used poppy seeds paste that way. You can check this chicken korma to use coconut and cashews. But for mutton use the paste later after the meat is tender.
Perfect recipe!.. Just wanted to know can I use the same ingredients for beef korma?
I don’t cook beef so I have no idea
Hello! I love your recipes and excited to try this one! Can you please share the cook time for this same in instant pot?
Thank you! I haven’t tried this in instant pot yet.
Hi I am looking for Lamb Kaliya Recipe
I don’t have the recipe on the blog
I ruined the fried onion portion. I was not sure what type of onion is best or what oil to fry them in. At first I used yellow onions and regular vegetable oil, the kind we have in the US. The onions turned out soggy even after draining the juice. I tried a second time using red onions and coconut oil. They ended up less soggy, but burned. But the rest of the dish is so wonderful I think it will forgive the unkindness of the burned onions.
Thanks for writing. Sorry to hear that you had a trouble with the onions. I will update the post with clear instructions that should help you for the next time. Thanks again for rating the recipe
make sure you dab the cut onions in a paper towel before frying and sprinkle a little corn flour to right before being dropped in to the oil
can i add low fat yogurt
Yes you can use
Good with your recipes an keep up to the followers.
Hi! I made your chicken korma last week. It was amazing even I am an absolute beginner in Indian food!! Now I’m planning to try mutton korma and wondering how to add a bit of cashew nut flavour to it as I really liked it in the chicken korma.
Also what parts of mutton are the best for korma?
Glad to know! You can try with 10 cashews. Grind them along with the onions the same way you did for chicken korma. But mutton dishes don’t need any nuts or cream as the main flavor comes from simmering the bones.
When the bones are slow cooked in the korma, the flavor from the marrow is released which is the key. This flavor is altered with the addition of cashews or coconut milk. You may give a try. Hope this helps
Fantastic lamb recipe! I made this along with your naan recipe (the version with yeast) and they were so great. The naan was chewy and so soft inside with lovely char marks. I decided to toast and grind the whole spices and they made a wonderful masala. I had to make the masala twice because I didn’t realise two cinnamon was two layers and not two inches of entire sticks. Haha! The first time it just tasted like cinnamon. Stupid me! Indian recipes can be hard to find good ones but this is my new source that I trust.
So glad to know both turned out good. Oh yes that can be a lot of cinnamon. I will put a note on it. Thank you so much!
Swasthi, the lamb korma was so very interesting and flavoursome – a great success. Matched with your jeera rice and carrot poriyal recipes – my thanks for your passion for cooking and sharing your insights. My family thanks you 🙂
Glad to know Sandy
Can this recipe be made using boneless mutton instead?
And if yes, how much boneless mutton replaces 500gms of bone-in mutton?
You can use the same amount of boneless mutton – 500 grams
Hi, may I ask what is the difference between korma and curry ? Thank you!
If it’s your recipe, I KNOW it can never turn out bad. You’re so good!
Thank you so much!
Amazing recipe. Tasted better than restaurant. What can I substitute cashews with?
Wow amazing authentic taste, we just wanted to keep on eating, as good as any restaurant or I’d say even better ?
Glad you all liked it
Do you powder the strand mace og put the entire thing in? I’ve never used strand mace before…
I’m so looking foreward to cooking this for my birthday.
I put the entire strand of mace as I don’t stock the powder. The strand has more flavor than the powder and also it is easy to discard it while serving. You can just skip it if you don’t have or just add a generous pinch of the powder. Hope you enjoy it! Happy birthday!
Thank you so much – I do have the strand of mace, but I’ve just never used them. We don’t usally use this many spices in the Danish cuisine, but I’m just a big fan of the Indian flavors. That led me to your blog 🙂
You are welcome Helle,
Hope you like the recipe
Planning to try some of your mutton recipes.
For the yogurt, can I use Greek yougurt?
You are welcome.
Yes you can use greek yogurt. Hope you enjoy the recipes!
This recipe is speechless.
Thank you so much!
hats off to all your recipes
tried many of your recipes
and this mutton korma with so little oil it was
very very tasty
each and every recipes of yours are THE BEST
Thank you so much for the comment. Very happy to know the recipes were useful.
All your recipes are so good! Trust me that’s the first place I look when I want to try something delicious for my husband! Thanks a lot! Keep up the good work!!! You’re my motivation to cook ??
You are welcome. I am very very happy reading your comment. Thank you very much!