Monday, December 24, 2012

Lamb Korma

A creamy stew with tender chunks of lamb. Lamb shanks take a long time to cook, but are cheap, flavourful, and yield a gelatin-rich broth. Based on this recipe from

Onion paste

  • 4 medium sized onions, halved and peeled
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 inches ginger, peeled
Whiz in a food processor and set aside.

Nut paste

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup cashews
The quantity and ratio of nuts is approximate and open to adjustment. Chop the nuts in a food processor, adding water a little at a time until a slurry forms. From 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water will be needed. Set aside in a covered container. This nut paste won't be needed until the korma is almost done.

Spice load

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 8 black cardamom pods (crack open, save insides, discard shells)
  • 16 pepper corns
  • 14 cloves
  • 1-2 dried hot peppers (optional)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, 3" long, each broken in half
Except for the cinnamon sticks, grind the spices with a mortar and pestle and set aside. The recipe takes a long time to cook, so a medium-coarse grind is enough. Be sure to crack open all the peppercorns, as they never seem to disintegrate on their own.

Yogurt thickener

  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 2 tsp flour
Whisk together and set aside.

The main event

  • 5-6 lbs lamb shanks, bone in. (Have the butcher cut each lamb shank into 3 pieces.)
    • Alternately, an equal mix of lamb shanks and lamb shoulder. If using this, debone the shoulder and add that meat later so it doesn't disintegrate during the long cooking time.
    • If the lamb shanks did not get cut by the butcher, a hack saw works too. Just make sure to clean it before and after.
  • Bacon fat saved from previous fry ups, or ghee, or olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • 2 cups water (approximate)
  1. Brown the lamb (while still frozen is ok, but watch for leftover bits of plastic wrapping) with the bacon fat in a large, heavy bottom pot and set aside.
  2. Let the pot cool for a few minutes.
  3. Add another spoon of bacon fat if necessary, and fry the cumin seeds for about a minute on medium heat.
  4. Add the onion paste, and fry until some of the moisture has evaporated. It will start turning greenish brown.
  5. Add the ground spices and broken cinnamon sticks, and fry for another 2 minutes.
  6. Add the lamb (shanks, bones, and tougher cuts as applicable) and mix well.
  7. Turn off the heat and stir in the yogurt / flour mixture. Slowly heat the mixture up to a bubble. Gradual heat is needed so the yogurt does not curdle. (Note: I use a medium heat and stir frequently. I've never seen the yogurt curdle yet.)
  8. Stir in the red wine and add water until the lamb is almost covered. Gently bring the mixture to a bubble again. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally.
  9. After about an hour, consider adding the tender cuts of lamb if you used them.
  10. After about 1.5 to 2 hours since cooking began, the meat will start falling off the bones. Debone or cut the meat off some of the larger chunks manually, to reduce cooking time. If desired, remove the bones, but scoop or push any marrow back into the pot.
  11. Optional: add raw, chopped potatoes, carrots, or other vegetables, and simmer until they are done. Cooked chickpeas can also be added.
  12. Once the lamb is tender and once the vegetables (if any) are done, but before the lamb falls apart, stir in the nut paste to thicken the broth. Simmer an additional 5-10 minutes on low heat.
  13. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with (basmati) rice.

No comments:

Post a Comment