An authentic recipe for goat korma, a classic and much celebrated Mughlai dish cooked with yoghurt and warming spices like mace and the perfume of kewra. This is a long and elaborate recipe so save it for a special occasion. It takes time to cook this properly but it’s worth it believe me. This is not to be confused with milder coconut based or tomato based versions. It is said that Korma can be traced to the 16th century. It is one of the stars in Mughlai cuisine and to this day the best versions in Delhi are served in restaurants whose chefs descended from the royal chefs of the Moghuls. It is also a dish that is cooked in many homes and when I was growing up it was very common to see women knocking up elaborate feasts in their modest kitchens. Nowadays food like this is ordered in a lot as many suppliers have sprung up to make it easier for families where women work outside the home. One of the ingredients in this dish is poppy seed or khus-khus which has a dark history. Poppy seeds became popular in certain regional cuisines as they were a byproduct of the opium poppy crop. The East India Company trade in opium impoverished millions of small farmers who grew and sold opium at very disadvantageous terms. Fortunately poppy cultivation has now discontinued in those parts of the country and what remains is a rich culinary legacy. I have to say that Khus Khus does add a lot of texture and body to the sauce.
- Heavy bottomed pan like a le creuset with a well fitting lid
- 1 kg goat meat on the bone (shoulder, ribs or leg), cut into 2" pieces
- 2 large red onions, thinly sliced or ground into a paste
- 100 g unsalted butter
- 6 green cardamom
- 2 brown cardamom
- 6 cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground mace
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 8-10 black peppercorns
- 200 g plain yoghurt
- 1/2 tsp garam masala homemade is best
- 1 tsp kewra water available in Asian shops
- 2 tsp Kashmiri or Deghi chilli powder this is for a red colour and my twist on the dish
- 4 tsp coriander powder homemade is best
- 2 tbsp fresh garlic paste
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger paste
- 1 tbsp lightly toasted poppy seeds (khus khus) optional
- 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder optional if the curry is too mild for your taste
- Heat the butter until it has melted completely and started to sizzle a little. Add the meat and garlic and ginger pastes. Fry this on a high heat, stirring frequently to ensure the meat doesnt catch at the bottom. Continue until the butter (which is now ghee) separates. Add half a cup of water and repeat. The raw smell of garlic needs to become mellow and less acrid.
- Add the ground onions and continue to stir until the ghee separates once again.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the yoghurt slowly, one table spoon at a time stirring in between so that it does not curdle. Add the remaining spices except the garam masala and kewra. Stir and fry on medium heat until the ghee separates once again. It should now have a deep red colour.
- Add 1.5 cups of water and a teaspoon of salt. If using ground poppy seeds add now.
- Add the kewra and garam masala, simmer on a low heat until the meat is completely tender and comes away from the bone easily. Serve with roti, naan or pulao.