Mutton korma recipe – This Indian lamb korma is one of the best I made in the recent times. Mutton korma is a dish made by slow cooking mutton along with yogurt, whole spices and spice powders. There are so many ways a korma is made. This is one of the versions that is close to the authentic mughlai dish except for the use of turmeric and coriander powder.
This lamb korma is a very simple dish that’s made with minimum ingredients. It is popular in North India & is prepared in ghee or clarified butter. If you do not prefer ghee, then you can use oil. But korma gets it flavor by using the best quality ghee.
1. Transfer washed mutton to a heavy bottom pot. Add in 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.
5. Marinate everything and keep refrigerated for at least 2 to 3 hours. The longer the mutton is marinated the better it is. I usually leave it in the fridge overnight.
Making fried onions for mutton korma
6. Meanwhile wash and slice 3 medium sized onions very thinly. Separate the layers of onions and deep fry in hot oil until crisp and golden. 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 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.
How to make lamb korma
9. When you are about to begin cooking, transfer the same ghee 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 water. You can use more water as needed.
13. Mix well.
Slow cooking 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.
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. 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.
Tips to make the best mutton korma
- 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 recipe
Mutton korma (lamb 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 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.
- 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. 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 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. 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