International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Shahi Korma

Shahi Korma (Indian lamb in a creamy nut curry sauce)

(Indian lamb in a creamy nut curry sauce)

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Average: 3.6 (36 votes)

Korma is a mild, creamy curry thickened with ground nuts and with origins in the Mughlai cuisine of the 16th century. While there are endless variations to the basic recipe, shahi korma is typically made with mutton or lamb.

4 to 6 servings


  • Almonds or cashews, toasted -- 1/4 cup
  • Garlic -- 6 cloves
  • Ginger, minced -- 2 tablespoons
  • Water -- 1/4 cup
  • Stewing lamb, cubed -- 2 pounds
  • Oil -- 1/4 cup
  • Whole cloves -- 4 to 6
  • Cinnamon stick -- 1-inch piece
  • Cardamom pods -- 5
  • Onions, finely chopped -- 2
  • Heavy cream -- 1 1/4 cups
  • Water -- as needed
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Garam masala -- 1 to 2 teaspoons


  1. Place the nuts, garlic, ginger and water into a food processor or blender and process to a puree. Remove the puree to a large bowl, stir in the lamb and marinate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet, wok or kadhai over medium-high flame. Add the whole cloves, cinnamon and cardamom and toast in the hot oil for about 30 seconds, taking care not to burn. Add the onions and saute until cooked down and just starting to brown, 4 or 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the meat and its marinade and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned and the liquid has reduced.
  4. Pour in the cream, add enough water to make a nice gravy and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is very tender. Add water as necessary to keep the dish from drying out.
  5. Skim of any excess fat from the top of the dish, adjust seasoning and stir in the garam masala at the last minute before serving.

Shahi Korma Variations

  • Substitute beef or chicken for the lamb. With chicken, the dish becomes murgh shahi korma.
  • Prawn shahi korma: Marinate 2 pounds of peeled prawns in the nut-garlic puree for about 30 minutes. Remove the prawns from the marinade before adding it to the onions and set them aside. Proceed with the recipe, and simmer the sauce for only 15 to 20 minutes. Add the prawns back in the last 3 or 4 minutes of cooking and simmer until just cooked through.
  • Kashmiri korma: Stir in 1/3 cup of dried fruit -- raisins, dried cherries, etc. -- in the last 15 to 20 minutes of cooking. Especially good with murgh shahi korma.
  • To use ground spices, eliminate the toasting step and add them at the same time as the onions.
  • Some recipes call for ground coriander. Use about 1 tablespoon and add with the onions.
  • Substitute low-fat yogurt for the cream if you prefer to reduce the amount of fat. Or use half yogurt and half milk or cream.
  • Add a pinch of saffron with the onions for a richer color and more exquisite flavor.
  • Save some of the nuts aside and garnish the finished dish with these and some garam masala.


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