Sunday, April 4, 2010

Lamb Korma Pilaf


This is my first time making lamb pilaf and thanks to Camellia Panjabi's "50 Great Curries of India", it turned out superb and delicious! The aromas of lamb cooked in korma gravy and the basmati rice in turmeric powder were fantastic. It's a truly wonderful recipe too good not to be shared. The recipe does need a rather long list of spices and condiments, but the result is going to worth all the efforts you have to make to get the ingredients complete and the time you have to spend in the kitchen preparing this flavorful Indian meal. A short intro in the recipe page about this lovely meal says:
'Lucknowi cuisine is a refined version of Moghul cuisine, with an accent of aromas, hence the mace, nutmeg, saffron and rosewater. Contrary to common belief, Lucknow is famous for its wide range of pulaos, rather than biryani. This pulao recipe is from the home of Bulu Hamied, who was born and raised in Lucknow'.
Serves 6-8

400g basmati rice
65ml oil
4 large onions, finely chopped
2.5 x 1cm piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 green chillies, chopped
5 cloves
5 cardamoms
5cm cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
1kg boneless lamb
1 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 level tsp cumin powder
1 1/2 tsps red chilli powder
3 pieces mace (I omitted this)
1/4 nutmeg powder
100ml full-fat plain yoghurt
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp salt

For the rice
2 cassia leaves or bay leaves
1 tsp oil or butter
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 level tsp salt
a few strands of saffron
2 tbsp rosewater or milk

1. Wash the rice a few times. Leave the rice to soak in a bowl of water for 30 mins.

2. Heat the oil in a shallow pot or large pan. Fry the onions till they are medium to darkish brown. Add the ginger, garlic, chillies, cloves, cardamoms and cinnamon and fry for 2-3 mins. Add the lamb and stir fry over a low to medium heat, stirring continuously for at least 10-15 mins. The longer you do so, the better the taste.

3. Add the coriander powder, stir for 2 mins, then add the other spice powders and mix well. Add 65ml water and stir and let it simmer for 2 mins.

4. Whisk or whip the yoghurt with a fork and add to the pot. Add the tomatoes and salt. Stir, cover with a lid and leave to cook until the lamb is 90 per cent done, but checking every 15 mins or so to see if the pot has dried up completely. If it does, add 100ml water or more. When the lamb is done, it should have a thick spice coating, but not a runny gravy. (I added eggplants 15 mins before the lamb is done)

5. Drain the rice. Put in a separate pot with equal quantity of water (measure using a cup or bowl). Put the same volume of water to boil with the bay leaves. When boiling, add the oil, salt and turmeric powder. Then add the rice. Leave pot uncovered. When the water is absorbed, the rice will be three-quarters cooked.

6. Soak the saffron in 2 tbsp of rosewater or milk and set aside.

7. Take a large ovenproof serving dish. Brush the bottom with a little oil. Put half the rice in and spread it evenly. Then put the cooked lamb on top and spread over. Put the rest of the rice on top. Cover with lid and cook in preheated oven at 160 deg C for 20 mins. The rice will have cooked and absorbed some of the moisture from the korma. You will also get a curried rice at the bottom and the fragrant rice at the top, making a delectable korma and rice combination. Sprinkle the saffron and rosewater/milk on top.



  1. OMG, all that spices and herbs I am sure your neighbours would try to peep into your house to see what's cooking...I am sure it smell good ! Must xplore Indian recipes....thanks

  2. Delicious way to celebrate Spring lamb!

    Happy Easter!

  3. This is really a flavourful lamb rice dish!
    Happy Easter!

  4. I too just cooked some Briyani rice but I did it with beef as we don't take lamb. I am too lazy as I used the ready briyani mix :)

  5. It does use lots of spices, but it looks delicious!

  6. Great result for your first attempt! Now I am craving for a plate of that!

  7. Nice...I could imagine how tasty it would be!! I was craving for curry, but couldn't make something needed too many ingredients, because there are some changes in my life ...I could only cook something fast and simple. But some curry prawn for my dinner to satisfy my crave! :-p

  8. So aromatic, so delicious! Yums!

  9. W0w very nice post delicious tasty :p

  10. Yum yum! I took (ta-pau) this from and Indian shop next to my office for lunch just now..hee hee! I'm sure yourstaste great...thanks for sharing..:)

  11. Such a delicious pilaf with lamb! I can't wait to try it!

  12. this is such a classic, thank you for the recipe!

  13. I never cook lamb before, but your dish makes me want to buy some and cook this rice, look so delicious !

  14. Hey, let me know when you are making this next time! Drool, drool......
    He! He!

  15. You and Gert are both killing me with al these stories and recipes of Briyani and Pilaf. Must make!!! Can I know what is mace called in Malay? i might just ahev it inmy pantry you know. Thanks!

  16. hi Quinn, i don't know what is mace called in Malay but it's part of the inside of a nutmeg. There is mace powder too which you can use if you can't get the dried piece version.

  17. Lamb, wowooo, I love lamb.

  18. A lovely recipe with lamb. I would love this rice, so full of flavour with all the spices.

  19. totally reminds me of nasi briyani which is my fave. You're making me so hungry!

  20. I just love the fragrant of pilau rice, amazing delicious!

  21. this does sound good n looks good! ur adventurous. i will mark this ..believ it or nt ive never made a pilaf...i think i shd for a change. thnks

    csn contacted u?....did they offer u a giveaway? u shd do it ...its fun. :))pity its only for us and canada isnt it....?

  22. Looks heavenly. I love Indian spices and recipes....

  23. your pilaf look so delish!!yummy!! but when glancing at your receipe my kepala pusing!! hahaha!!

  24. Thank you all for your comments! Always delighted to read them ;)

    Asian Kitchen, you're so funny! ya, memang kena pakai banyak rempah! lol!

  25. I love lamb kurma! And yours look really yummy. Haven't seen for awhile, guess you must been busy. However, have a great weekend!

  26. Oh, Lamb is a tradition fare in France for Easter. I love your recipe!

  27. Hi, is it possible to use chicken instead of lamb? Thanks

  28. I have cooked this recipe (From the book) a few times.
    This Christmas I am on Holiday in England at my Sister-In-Laws and have just used this online recipe to make a combined Lamb and Chicken Pilaf (My wife does not like Lamb so much, so 1/4 of the meat layer is Chicken).
    Thanks for putting this online -although to anyone who uses the recipe and likes it - Buy the Book - The book is more than just recipes and is probably the best cooker book for Indian Food there is.

    This is such tasty dish, and needs no special skill, just some time to get the ingredients (If you live in England that is easy - India as well I guess, But I live in Germany and it takes some time to find all the ingredients).

    Don't just look at it on here, cook it.

  29. Hi Langton, thanks for dropping by. Glad you know of this book too. Yes the recipes in this book are just amazing!! Esp for Indian food lovers like us!! You should stock up on your spices and condiments while in England. Plenty of Indian stuff available there. Have a Merry Christmas and enjoy your lamb/chicken korma pilaf!!