Traditionally cooked over a long period and a low flame, korma is the perfect dish to prepare using the slow cooker technique. Commonly made with meat such as chicken, beef or lamb, we’ve put together a slow cooker mutton korma recipe that is excellent for making overnight or when you’re out at work. Mutton tends to be a very tough meat and the process of slow-cooking it over several hours will result in succulent and tender morsels of meat that pairs perfectly with a plate of hot rice or flat bread.
Rich and heady, korma has deep roots originating from the Mughlai cuisine in India. Consisting of meat and vegetables, traditional korma is braised in yogurt and spices, then slow cooked to form a thick sauce. Despite the distances travelled to reach our shores, the korma Malaysians are familiar with is not a significant departure from the traditional Indian variation, although it has certainly been adapted to suit our taste buds while incorporating local flavours and ingredients.
The local kurma
Just like its ancestor, Malaysian korma is traditionally cooked with yogurt and spices. However, it features local ingredients like pandan leaves and lemongrass, not forgetting some fresh chilies for a little bit of heat. Much like curries and roti canai, korma has become part our local traditional cuisine, especially within the Malay community. It is not unusual to find this dish as part of a regular home-cooked weeknight meal. Yet, it also requires enough effort to be deemed worthy of making an appearance during special occasions, like for Hari Raya celebrations.
If you’re a first timer making korma, you may find the long list of ingredients somewhat daunting. After all, whenever you’re having it for a meal, a bowl of korma doesn’t seem to contain much apart from some meat and potatoes swimming in a rich, thick sauce. But if you’re feeling hesitant, trust us, it’s not a difficult dish to put together. Even the ingredients don’t require much elbow grease, apart from the usual peeling and cutting. And if you’re trying our slow cooker mutton korma variation, you don’t even have to worry about keeping an eye on the pot or stirring regularly.
Let’s get your korma on.
- 5kg mutton on the bone, chopped into large chunks of about 6cm to 8cm square
- 210g cooking oil
- 9g (3) pandan leaves, knotted
- 40g (3) lemongrass, white parts only & bashed
- 260g tomatoes, diced small
- 2 tsp salt
- 200ml coconut milk
- 280g fresh yoghurt
- 50g garlic, peeled
- 60g ginger, peeled & cut small
- 45g green chilies, tops removed
- 170g red onions, peeled & quartered
- 6g (4) cinnamon sticks
- 2g (2) star anise
- ½ tsp (16) cloves
- 1 tsp (10) cardamom pods
- 7g (1 tbsp) turmeric powder
- 100g korma powder for chicken & meat
- 200ml water
Final fresh ingredients
- 500g potatoes, peeled & cut into large cubes
- 190g (1) large red onion, cut into 8 segments
- 80g (4) large red chilies, tops removed and sliced in half from the bottom tip till about 1cm away from the top
- 270g tomatoes, halved
- 22g mint, roots chopped off and cut into shorter stalks
- 20g coriander, roots chopped off and cut into shorter stalks
Sautéing slow cooker mutton korma ingredients
- Blend all base ingredients with a little bit of water until fine.
- Add cooking oil into the slow cooker and set it to sauté/sear on high temperature until the oil heats up. You’ll know it’s ready when a layer of bubbles starts to form on the bottom of the pot.
- Add blended base ingredients and stir occasionally to mix and cook until the mixture is emulsified for about 13 to 15 minutes. As the heat of the slow cooker is not very hot, there is no need to stir too often.
- Add spices next and stir it into the mixture for about 1 minute.
- Then, add bashed lemongrass, knotted pandan leaves and diced tomatoes, stirring to combine. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture and spices smell really fragrant.
- While waiting, mix all korma paste ingredients and stir until it becomes a paste. More or less water may be needed depending on the powder used.
- Once the spices are fragrant, add kurma paste into the pot and stir it through with the rest of the ingredients thoroughly. It’s important to cook your korma paste well so your dish lasts longer. This will take about 10 minutes.
The slow cook
- Add your chunks of mutton into the pot with about 200ml water (or just enough to cover your mutton) and salt. Give everything a good stir
- Set your slow cooker on low temperature on the meat and poultry setting for 8 hours.
- After 8 hours, add potatoes, red onions, tomatoes and chilies from the final fresh ingredients list into the pot. Stir it through and let it slow cook on low temperature for another 2 hours.
- Set the slow cooker to the sauté/sear low temperature setting and add in coconut milk and yogurt. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Finally, add in mint and coriander, giving the dish one final stir to mix the ingredients.
- Let everything come to a first boil and turn off the heat on your slow cooker (or set it to warm for later eating).
- Remove pandan leaves, lemongrass and cinnamon before serving hot with cooked rice or flat bread. Yum.
- We used a Philips all-in-one cooker which has a nifty sauté/sear function. If your slow cooker doesn’t have this option, prepare the steps in the “Sautéing slow cooker mutton korma ingredients” in a wok, pot or pan. Do note that the cook time will vary as the sauté/sear temperature tends to be lower than gas or convection stove heat. Once these steps are completed on your stove top, transfer all the ingredients into your slow cooker before proceeding with the slow cooker steps.
- Coconut milk, yogurt, mint and coriander can also be added along with the other fresh ingredients during step 3 of the slow cook process if your cooker does not have the sauté/sear function.
- If you’d like to test for saltiness, the best time to do this is after adding the coconut milk and yogurt. Use less salt in the earlier part of preparing this dish if you’d like to err on the side of caution.
- Because of its creamy nature, slow cooker mutton korma can also be served with pasta for a fusion twist!
- Not into mutton? Swap your meat with beef or chicken instead. Reduce cooking time by about 2 hours for beef and chicken. Also, remove turmeric powder if using chicken.
Korma can be a bit of an acquired taste, but if you like your sauces rich, creamy and flavoured with spices without the heat, this is a great dish to try making. Slow cooker mutton korma is great for making overnight and having for lunch the next day, or cook it while you’re at work for a lovely warm dinner at the end of the day. And don’t forget to share with us your slow cooker mutton korma pictures by tagging them with #butterkicap!