Korma Me Happy!

by Aida Azizuddin Photography FriedChillies on Fri, October 01, 2010

I love a good, earthy korma don't you? Not as spicy as a curry, a korma gets it's subtle heat from the spices. It is even tempered and a comforting dinner suitable for kids to get them prepared for spicier fare in the future.

The almond meal thickens the gravy and makes it earthier...

Sometimes I'm more in a mood for Pakistani or Afgani style korma. They of course do not use coconut milk but rather goat's milk or yogurt. This results in their korma being thicker than ours. I always think of them up in the mountains being semi nomadic, they travel with their goats and lambs, dried spices and long-life roots like potatoes.

So all the ingredients are there. The goat gives meat and milk for curds and the other ingredients are simple to carry. I imagine them huddling around embers of a fire, great mountains in the backdrop and stirring a wonderful, fragrant pot of fresh lamb korma.

Another additional ingredient is almond meal since there are also an abundance of nuts there. This they add at the end to thicken the gravy. I guess lamb korma is also a sign of celebration. In the past, when we have weddings, there will be a cry, "rebahkan lembu!" And soon the fresh meat would be bubbling in curries and rendang. Probably not far off from nuptial celebrations up in the mountains of central Asia. Don't be put off by the amount of ingredients- many of them will already be in your pantry.

Lamb Korma

11/2kg lamb shoulder/ chops
1 kg potatoes
11/2 red onions, sliced
5 cloves garlic, pounded
1 inch ginger, pounded
4 Tbs korma powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 cup almond meal
2 Tsb chilli paste
1 tsp biji kas kas (poppy seeds)- this is optional
4 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
2 stalks curry leaves
4 green chillies
5 tbs cooking oil
1 tin evaporated milk
2 tbs yogurt
1 cup water


Fry onions, garlic and ginger with curry leaves, cardamom and cinnamon.
Once it's fragrant and a little crispy, add in the korma spices and kas kas.
When the oil breaks through, add lamb and cumin.
Once the lamb is half cooked add in evaporated milk and yogurt.
Stir it around and add water.
Add in potatoes, almond meal and chillies. Simmer for about 1/2 hour.

The korma goes wonderfully well with nasi udang (prawn rice)


1/2 kg large prawns
4 cups rice
1 red onion, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, minced
Enough oil to fry prawns in.
1 cinnamon
2 cardamom
1 tbs ghee
1 tbs tomato sauce
4 cups water
11/2 tsp salt to taste
1 daun pandan
1 tbs rose water (optional)

Fry prawns in oil until they turn a little golden (not to cook).
Get rid of access prawn-scented oil until you are left with 3 Tbs. Add in the ghee.
Once hot fry garlic, ginger and onions until fragrant. Add cinnamon and cardamom.
Add in tomato sauce and stir in rice. Add back the prawns, pandan leaves, salt and water.
Close the pot and let it simmer until the rice is cooked.


This is an earthier korma. A dish you can really lick your lips around.

To balance up this dish, you need something refreshing. Try eating it with a simple cucumber and vinegar salad (jelatah) or acar

Chef Says:

I use evaporated milk because it's healthier than using cream but if you're feeling indulgent, go ahead! Get the best cream your money can buy.

If you are not a fan of lamb, this recipe also goes wonderfully well with chicken or beef and you can even make a vegetarian one by using hard boiled eggs.