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Lamb Korma - Old Delhi Style

A delectable lamb korma, redolent of the spices originally used in dishes common the Mughal royal court
Course Main
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 5 -6 people
Author Shinta


  • 500 grams lamb chops with the bone-in
  • 2 Onions finely sliced and deep fried (see notes)
  • 2 tsp. Rose Water/Kewda Water
  • Ingredients for Marination:
  • 1 Cup yogurt hung and strained for at least 20 mins
  • 1/8 tsp Nutmeg powder
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder 3 parts paprika to 1 part cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed powder
  • 1 tsp coriander seed powder
  • 3 tsp ghee
  • For the dry spice mix grind in a grinder (spice grinder or coffee grinder):
  • 2 whole black cardamom pods
  • 4-5 whole green cardamom pods
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 5-6 peppercorns
  • For the wet spice mix grind together the following in a mortar and pestle or in a grinder:
  • 1- inch piece of ginger peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 green chilies


  • Begin by washing the lamb and pat the pieces dry.
  • Grind the fried onions to a paste and keep this aside.
  • Prepare the dry spice mix by grinding together the cardamom pods (green and black), cloves and peppercorns.
  • Prepare the wet spice mix by grinding together the ginger, garlic, chilies. In a heavy-bottomed vessel, place the lamb along with the strained yogurt, ghee and all the prepared ingredients for marination. Add salt to taste, and mix the lamb thoroughly in the marinade mixture.
  • Let the lamb marinate for around an hour, or overnight if possible.
  • Once you are ready to cook, heat the vessel on a medium flame, cooking for 10-15 minutes until you see the fat escaping the sides. At this point, add 4 cups of water and lower the heat.
  • Add the fried onion paste to the vessel and give it a stir, continuing to cook on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally for another 25 minutes until the lamb is cooked, and the water reduced.
  • Lower the heat add the rose water, and turn off the heat.
  • Serve with lime wedges, raita (spiced yoghurt) and rice or naan (flatbread).


1) To prepare the fried onions, slice them finely and deep fry the sliced onion in vegetable oil. Using a slotted spoon, strain the fried onions and drain them on paper towels. Fried onions are called as 'birista', and popular in Mughal and Pakistani cooking. They are great as a paste in kormas, and as a garnish in biryanis and pulaos
2) Straining the yoghurt (especially if you are using low-fat yoghurt) will help prevent splitting while the korma is cooking