Creamy Lamb Korma in Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

December 10, 2017 (Updated: June 23, 2020) By Aneesha |

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In this easy Instant Pot recipe for Creamy Lamb Korma, an Indian restaurant delicacy, lamb stew meat is cooked in a creamy coconut sauce, seasoned with toasted spices and pressure cooked to a melt-in-the-mouth perfection.

Lamb korma served in a bowl, garnished with a cilantro sprig

What is Korma? What is Korma Sauce Made of?

Korma is a dish from Mughal cuisine that originated in the Indian subcontinent around the 16th century. The word ‘Korma’ comes from the Urdu word ‘Kormah’, which means ‘braising.’

Lamb Korma, also known as Mutton Korma, is very popular in most Indian and Pakistani restaurants. In this mild curry meat or vegetables are braised in a yogurt, cream, or a nut-paste based sauce, and seasoned with mild aromatic Indian spices like cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, and coriander.

Traditionally, when making Korma, the meat is simmered for hours to reach the perfect tenderness and rich flavor. In this much easier version, I cook lamb stew meat with aromatics in a creamy coconut sauce, season it with toasted Indian spices, and pressure cook it in the electric pressure cooker, until it tenderizes and soaks up all the flavors.   

Building the Flavors in this Curry

The process of cooking Korma is all about building layers of flavor. A big part of that comes from using a high quality Garam Masala, a popular Indian Spice blend.

This Indian spice mix commonly includes cardamom, cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, and a few other spices, and is used in many Indian food dishes. Here’s an easy homemade recipe, but you can also use any high-quality store-ready brand.

The creamy component of the sauce comes from using either yogurt, heavy whipping cream, cashew paste or coconut cream.  The spices and aromatics flavor the base curry and the meat is simmered in this sauce till it cooks through and gets infused with all the flavors.

Lamb korma served in a white bowl with cilantro garnish

Ingredients – Notes & Substitutions

Here is a list of ingredients I use to make this simple yet satisfying curry:

  • Lamb: For best results, I prefer to use ‘grass-fed’ lamb leg meat, which I get from Whole foods or any quality halal shop. If that’s not available, then I get lamb leg steak and cut it in 2-inch pieces. Fresh meat gives better results as compared to previously frozen. You can also make this curry with goat meat. Simply follow the instructions and adjust the pressure cooking time to 30 minutes at high pressure.
  • Aromatics: Freshly chopped onions, ginger and garlic form the foundation of this curry. I prefer to use red or white onion in this recipe. If you can’t find fresh ginger and garlic, the next best option is to use the frozen cube trays found in most stores like Trader Joes, Safeway and Whole Foods.
  • Tomato paste: This adds a perfect blend of acidity and a subtle sweetness, which compliments the coconut milk. If using fresh tomatoes, substitute with 3 Roma tomatoes and remove the seeds for best results.
  • Coconut Milk: Korma curry base can be made with either coconut milk, yogurt, heavy whipping cream or a cashew paste. My family loves the taste of a coconut milk based sauce, so that’s what I end up making most of the time.  Using coconut milk also makes this dish dairy-free, so people with lactose restrictions can also enjoy this amazing curry. Alternatively, you can use 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream with an additional 1/2 cup water. For a cashew based sauce base, refer to this recipe for Vegetable korma.
  • Spices: I season this curry with mild spices, including salt, turmeric and garam masala. Paprika adds a wonderful color and a touch of cayenne balances the sweetness from coconut milk. You can skip the cayenne to make it absolutely mild.

How to Cook Lamb Korma in Instant Pot or any Electric Pressure Cooker

In this easy curry recipe, I am able to mimic the slow-cooking setup by cooking it in my electrical pressure cooker, Instant Pot. This recipe will also work with any comparable brand, like Mealthy Multipot.

Pressure cooking the lamb helps infuse the spices with the meat, and the end flavor is to die for.  Also, I am able to cut down the ‘active’ cooking time from hours to under 30 minutes. Here’s how:

Prep: Finely chop onions, mince or grate peeled ginger and garlic. You can do everything together in a mini food processor. Start by pulsing ginger and garlic 5-6 times and then add onions and pulse another 6-7 times. If not already cut, cube lamb leg meat in 2-inch pieces and keep aside.

  1. Turn on Instant Pot in SAUTE mode. Wait 30 seconds. Add oil, chopped onions and ginger-garlic paste and saute for 3 minutes, until the onions become tender.  Add a pinch of salt at this stage to speed up the sweating of the onions.  (Pic 1)
  2. Add tomato paste with 1/4 cup of water. This deglazes the pot as well as helps blend the tomato paste. (Pic 2)
  3. Add all spices and stir well. (Pic 3)
  4. Add coconut milk, remaining water and lamb cubes. Stir. (Pic 4)
  5. Lock the lid in place and set Manual or Pressure Cook for 20 minutes on sealing mode. (For 1-inch pieces, reduce the time to 15 minutes) (Pic 5)
  6. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then follow the quick release instructions. If not in a rush, let it release naturally. Add chopped cilantro and ground cardamom. (Pic 6) You can add a few drops of fresh lime juice before serving, but this is totally an optional step.
Six Step by step images of Lamb Korma recipe in the Instant Pot

Stovetop Recipe for Indian Lamb Korma

Heat a heavy bottom sauce pot or dutch oven on medium-high heat. Follow the instructions above to prepare the sauce. Add lamb, coconut milk and water (with an additional 1 cup).

Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for about 40-45 minutes, or until the meat is tender.

Note: Keep stirring every 10 minutes to prevent the sauce from sticking at the bottom.

Pairing Suggestion for Lamb Korma

Close up view of Indian lamb Korma curry in a white bowl

Lamb korma and butter naan are a terrific Indian food combination.  This lamb recipe also goes really well with Saffron rice, cumin rice or nutty brown rice. Other popular pairings include a homemade flatbread called, Paratha or Naan.

Low Carb Pairing Suggestion

If you’re eating low-carb, you can have this with Cauli-rice (riced cauliflower).

I serve this with a side of garden salad with a simple lemon vinaigrette.  The salad adds a beautiful contrast to the creamy korma, and adds some greens to your meal too!

Top shot of instant pot lamb korma with a paratha and yogurt side

Recipe Tips

  • Lamb– For best results, use lamb leg meat, cut in 2-inch pieces. Fresh meat gives better results than frozen.
  • Cook time Varies: Pressure cooking time varies depending on the size of the meat stew. For 2-inch pieces, set 20 minutes. For 1-inch pieces, reduce pressure cook time to 15 minutes.
  • Add salt while sautéing aromatics: Adding a pinch of salt to chopped onions helps them caramelize faster, which enhances the end flavor.
  • Coconut Milk substitute: You can add 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream instead of coconut milk if you like. add an additional 1/2 cup water in that case.

More Korma Recipes from my Kitchen

Popular Lamb Recipes on the Blog

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Lamb korma served in a bowl, garnished with a cilantro sprig

Creamy Lamb Korma in Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

In this easy Instant Pot recipe for Creamy Lamb Korma, an Indian restaurant delicacy, cubed lamb meat is cooked in a creamy coconut sauce, seasoned with toasted spices and pressure cooked to a melt-in-the-mouth perfection.
4.53 from 55 votes
Print Pin Rate Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
NPR: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 271kcal

Ingredients

For Finishing

  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder fresh is ideal (2-3 green pods)
  • 2 tablespoon cilantro chopped for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon lime juice before serving (optional)

Equipment

Instructions

  • Turn on Instant Pot in SAUTE mode. Wait 30 seconds. Add oil, chopped onions and ginger-garlic paste and saute for 3 minutes, until the onions become tender.  Add a pinch of salt at this stage to speed up the sweating of the onions. 
    Sautéing onions, ginger and garlic in the instant pot
  • Add tomato paste with 1/4 cup of water. This deglazes the pot as well as helps blend the tomato paste. Add all spices and stir well.
    Adding tomato paste in the pot
  • Add coconut milk, remaining water and lamb cubes. Stir well.
    Adding coconut milk and lamb stew meat to the instant pot
  • Lock the lid in place and set Manual or Pressure Cook for 20 minutes on sealing mode. 
    Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes at least, and then follow the quick release instructions. If not in a rush, let it release naturally. 
    Lamb in coconut sauce in the pressure cooker
  • Add chopped cilantro and ground cardamom. (Pic 6) You can add a few drops of fresh lime juice before serving, but this is totally an optional step.
    Garnishing the lamb curry with cilantro

Video

Notes & Recipe Tips

  • Lamb– Use the best quality of stew meat you can find. I typically get mine from Whole Foods.
  • Cook time Varies: Pressure cooking time varies depending on the size of the meat stew. For 1-inch pieces, set 15 minutes. If the lamb is cut in 2-inch pieces, increase pressure cook time to 20 minutes.
  • Add salt while sautéing aromatics: Adding a pinch of salt to chopped onions helps them caramelize faster, which enhances the end flavor.
  • Coconut Milk substitute: You can add 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream instead of coconut milk if you like. add an additional 1/2 cup water in that case.
 
If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.
 
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.

Nutrition

Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 728mg | Potassium: 516mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 435IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 3.4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free
Keyword: instant pot lamb korma, lamb curry, Lamb korma
Did you try this recipe?Mention @SpiceCravings or tag #spicecravings!

This recipe was updated in 2020 with updated images, recipe tips and process shots.

HEY! NICE TO MEET YOU!

Aneesha holding a glass of white wine Hi, I'm Aneesha, a foodie by birth and the mind, body and soul behind Spice Cravings. Here I share quick, easy & healthy Indian & global recipes that are low in effort and big on taste! A recipe doesn't make it on the blog unless it is tested multiple times and gets a thumbs-up from my taster-in-chief, my husband, and my teen-chefs, my twin girls!

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