What Is Mutton Korma?

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  • Written By: Lakshmi Sandhana
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 25 October 2019
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An aromatic meat curry, mutton korma is a blend of various spices, yogurt, and other ingredients with goat meat or mutton. Considered a traditional dish in Pakistan and India, the preparation has its roots in Mughlai cuisine. A favorite with many Muslims, this korma is prepared for special events and occasions such as Eid. Ranging from mild to extra hot, this curry has a creamy, rich texture that can almost be called silky. A staple dish at home for many nonvegetarians, many also serve mouthwatering mutton korma as a classic party dish.

The korma gets its unique flavor from the ingredients and the way it is prepared. Aside from the basic preparation, there are many different types of this korma based on the ingredients. Paneer, pickles, or almonds could also feature in the dish, and it is named accordingly. White mutton korma has a creamier texture and gets its name thanks to the light colors of the ingredients and the nonfried onion.

Eaten as a light dinner or as a satisfying main course, the korma is typically served with naan, a type of flatbread made in an oven or tandoor. Another favorite combination is mutton korma with parathas, a flaky type of flatbread. It also goes well with chapathis, a thin flatbread, or is served over rice. It may be accompanied by a crispy, green salad and a raita.


To get the flavors right, cooks follow the recipe quite closely. The major ingredients are mutton with or without bones, finely chopped onions, and chopped tomatoes. Cooks also use fresh, unsweetened yogurt and ginger-garlic paste. Cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, and mace are some of the major spices. Split green cardamom, peppercorns, and green chillies may also feature in the recipe.

Some recipes also call for using rose water, blanched almonds, and ghee for additional taste. Cooks may also use saffron soaked in hot milk to add more color to the dish. Other recipes utilize spice powders like cumin, coriander, and nutmeg powder to make an authentic mutton korma. Cooks may use curry leaves, chopped nuts, and coriander leaves as a final garnish.

To make the mutton korma, cooks marinate the mutton with yogurt and spices and set the meat aside for a while. They add the chopped onions to hot oil in a deep pan and fry them until they turn a pale gold color. The ginger-garlic paste goes into the pan next along with all the whole spices. Cooks fry the spices until they become more fragrant or a tad darker.

At this stage, cooks add all the spice powders and fry the aromatic mixture until the oil separates from the other ingredients. They add the marinated meat and fry it for a little while. Cooks then add the tomatoes and occasionally stir the mixture until it becomes mushy. They cover the gravy and leave it to simmer until the meat is fully cooked and the gravy is very thick.

To cook the dish in the traditional way, cooks may use a clay pot instead of a deep pan and cook it entirely on low heat. Some recipes call for adding yogurt to the cooking gravy. Cooks take care to cook the gravy on very low heat to prevent the yogurt from curdling.


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