Goat Korma (Spicy Curried Braised Goat Meat)
Korma is a spicy curried dish of braised meat, made with fried onion paste. My favorite meat for korma is goat. Goat meat is not very popular in Western cuisine but it's quite common in South Asian dishes. It has a very similar taste to lamb but is much more tender. This is one of Lulu's grandma's recipes. She taught it to my mother-in-law, who passed the recipe on to me.
Contrary to murgh makhani curry (butter chicken), the meat doesn't require marinating time but tastes best when prepared the day before. Korma is also a lighter version of butter chicken since it contains no cream.
Korma is usually served with naan (Indian round fluffy bread made of white flour), basmati rice or some roti (flat Indian wheat bread).
Yields: 62 pounds goat meat, boneless and bone-in meat
1/4 cup canola oil (or any neutral oil)
5 black peppercorns, freshly ground
2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
8 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, freshly ground
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon mace, freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons paprika powder
3 teaspoons cumin seeds, freshly ground
1 tablespoon full-fat Greek yogurt
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 cups fried yellow onions (about 2 onions), chopped and fried
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
2 dried red chiles, stemmed
1 pinch nutmeg, freshly grated
2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter), see tips
The day before:
Wash the goat meat and pat it dry with paper towels.
Dry roast the cumin seeds, cloves, bay leaves, coriander seeds, caraway seeds and black peppercorns. Grind all the spices in a spice grinder (I use a coffee mill that I use exclusively for grinding spices).
Extract the seeds from the cardamom pods. In a mortar and pestle, grind the cardamom seeds. Crush all the nits and gather about 3/4 teaspoon cardamom powder.
In a blender or a mini-blender if you have one, mix the onions, about 2-3 tablespoons of water so the onions blend more easily. Set aside.
In a large deep saucepan, heat the oil. Add the ginger garlic paste, red chili powder, the freshly ground spice mix, mace powder, cardamom powder, 1 teaspoon of paprika powder and turmeric powder. As soon as it's golden and fragrant, add the meat chunks. Stir over high heat until all the moisture from the meat has evaporated (about 5-8 minutes). Add about 1 cup of fried onion paste, the tomato sauce and the yogurt. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add about 2-1/2 to 3 cups of water. This should cover the goat meat. Bring to a full boil then lower the heat to medium-low. Cover with a dome-shaped lid to enable the steam to fall back in the saucepan. Cook for about 40 minutes, stirring often.
Check the taste. Season with salt. It should counter-balance the sour taste of the tomato sauce. Bring to a full boil one more time, cover with the lid. Turn off the heat and let cool completely. Chill in the refrigerator overnight (if possible).
The next day:
In a mortar and pestle, grind 3/4 teaspoon of saffron threads into a fine powder.
Reheat the goat dish on top of the stove. Add the remaining fried onion paste; it will add some sweetness to the dish. Add the saffron to the sweetened gravy. Add about 1/2 cup of water into the mortar and pestle to gather the possible remaining saffron powder. (Saffron is quite expensive, don't waste it!). Pour the saffron liquid to the gravy.
In a small pan, melt the ghee with the dried whole chiles. As soon as the ghee is melted, add the remaining paprika. Transfer the paprika-flavored ghee to the goat dish. Leave on very low heat for another 2 minutes.
I served it with some saffron and butter-flavored basmati rice.
The key to a flavorful, tender goat korma is to use fresh (non-frozen) goat meat. I do not recommend buying goat meat at Asian or regular local chain stores; the best place to buy it is from Iranian or Middle-Eastern stores, which always carry fresh goat meat since it's popular in the local cuisines. Make sure to ask the butcher for both boneless and bone-in meat as the marrow of the bone will dissolve in the gravy and make it more potent in flavor. If you think goat is tough and unpleasant, it's because you haven't tried it fresh. I love how tender goat turns out in this dish.
Like murgh makhani curry (butter chicken), the authentic dish has almond powder for a creamy texture. But since my 10-year-old sister-in-law is allergic to nuts, I omit this ingredient, which I don't think affects the taste of the meat dish.
These spices are very inexpensive if you buy them at an Indian store. It can cost a lot more if you buy them, for example, at Safeway or Whole Foods.
Basic spices for the gravy, check my garam masala post.
You can use the same base for the sauce and make this dish with chicken, lamb, beef or mutton, which is also pretty common in Indian cooking.
Indian cuisine often calls for ginger garlic paste. It tastes great and is very healthy for you as well. Just clean the ginger, carefully removing any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife, then finely chop it. Place the chopped ginger and 5 cloves of garlic in a blender and add about 2 tablespoons (or more) of water for a smooth flow. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator. You can keep this paste for at least a week in the refrigerator.
Ghee is the Indian version of clarified butter. You can find it in jars at Indian stores. But if you don't have ghee, you can add regular butter to the gravy instead.
Saffron is quite expensive; I usually get it at a more reasonable price at the Indian market. Indian cuisine often calls for the use of saffron.
Frying onions is easy. Chop the onion. Heat about 1 inch of canola oil in a skillet. Fry the onions in the oil, stirring frequently to prevent the onions from burning until the color is evenly golden brown. Drain the oil on paper towels. I always make extra so that I can vacuum-seal and store them in the freezer for future use. I place about one cup per bag. You can store them up to 3 months. I think it's the best way to keep the same flavor without getting freezer burn. I keep them exactly the same way I would with extra pesto or (papaya) meat tenderizer for poultry.
In general, traditional Indian cooking calls for a layer of red colored oil on top of the dish. This is considered an attractive decoration; in times past, ghee (clarified butter) was considered a luxury in India.Published By: on September 8, 2009.