India’s rich and varied cuisine is thanks to the influence & amalgamation of variety of cultures; indigenous and foreign. Similarly, Kashmiri cuisine has two distinct flavors – Wazwaan, the food of Muslims and Butta, the traditional food of the Pandits (Hindu community). Both cuisines have many dishes in common and both carry influences of Mughal style of cooking. However, Pandits abstain from using onion and garlic. 

Wazwaan is a lavish 36 course meal – a gourmet feast fit for kings and due to its elaborate prepping and ceremonial presentation it is reserved for special occasions and celebrations. Dhaniwal korma is an integral and indispensable part of WazwaanThe word ‘dhaniwal’ refers to coriander in the local Kashmiri language. However, unlike other korma dishes that have a rich creamy, nut-paste & yogurt based gravy, Dhaniwal korma is an exception. It is a light and mellow yogurt based curry that has been infused with the aromatic flavours of cloves and cardamoms. If you remember my post on Yakhni Pulao you will be able to recall that I had used yogurt to form a mild curry for the pulao. Kashmiri cuisine uses yogurt instead of tomatoes to add tang to its dishes. 

I have adapted this unique and simple recipe from the repertoire of the famous Waza brothers who have been diligently carrying forward the traditional ways of cooking the Waazwan style of food. Their father was a legendary Waza or master chef of Kashmiri cuisine and the brothers have learnt the intricacies and nuances of the Wazwaan from him. Dhaniwal korma is not a hot curry and it is usually served with rice or roti. It tastes great with Peshawari naan (Scroll down for the recipe).

1 kilo lamb meat, cut in pieces (leg of lamb)
2½ litre water
½ cup desi ghee (clarified butter) – I used 3 tbsp
80 mls onion puree (2 large onions would yield the approx amount)
1 tsp garlic paste (I used 2 tsp)
4 cloves
8 green cardamoms
¼ tsp saffron strands
Salt to taste
1 cup cooked yogurt (recipe give below)
½ tsp turmeric
1½ tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp black pepper powder
3 tbsp chopped cilantro (hara dhaniya)
For the cooked yogurt:
Whisk 2 cups yogurt until very smooth.
Add ½ cup water and whisk again to blend it well.
Pour this mixture into a round thick bottom pan and put it on high heat.
Stir constantly till the mixture comes to a boil.
Then reduce the heat to low, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced to half its original quantity. 


For the Korma
Boil the 2½ litre water in a deep pan and add meat. Bring the water to a boil and blanch for 2-3 minutes. Remove scum from the surface of the boiling water. Drain the water and cool the meat. Keep aside.

Put the meat in a pan and add pure ghee, onion puree, garlic, cloves, green cardamoms, salt, saffron, cooked yogurt, turmeric and coriander powder.
Mix well and cook till the ghee separates from the mixture. Add just enough water so that when the lamb meat is tender very little water remains (It took me approx 2½ cups of water to cook the meat) and the gravy is medium thick in consistency.
Remove from heat and sprinkle and stir in the black pepper. 
Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with rice or Peshawari Naan.
Note: The amount of water and cooking time will vary and depend on the quality of meat.
Note: I added two chopped green chillies coz I wanted a little more heat in the korma. 
Note: As for the amount of cooked yogurt, I prefer 3/4 (scant) cup since one whole cup made the curry too tangy for my family’s palate. 
Note: I also add half a quill of cinnamon and one large bay leaf for a more aromatic korma.

PESHAWARI NAAN
For the Peshawari Naan I used my Bakarkhaani recipe. A little bit of tweaking and it yielded fantastic results. 

For Naan:
4 cups all purpose flour (maida)
1 tsp salt
4 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp baking soda
4 tsp yogurt (at room temperature)
4 tbsp oil or melted ghee
1 cup lukewarm milk

For filling:
2 generous tbsp almonds, finely chopped
2 generous tbsp pistachio, finely chopped 
2 heaped tbsp desiccated coconut
3 tsp caster sugar

2 tsp fennel seeds (I added these since fennel is liberally used in the Kashmiri cuisine)
(You can grind the almonds and pistachio in a coffee grinder so that they do not pop out of the rolled dough)

Updated on 23rd Sept 2013:  I just noticed that I had mentioned 4 tsp instead of 4 tbsp of yogurt. Extremely sorry for the typo error L


Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.
Dissolve the sugar in the milk. Beat the yogurt and add to the milk along with oil. 
Add the wet ingredients to the dry one.
When the dough comes together, knead it for 7-8 minutes. Moisten your hands to knead if the dough becomes hard.
The dough should be of medium soft consistency. 
Transfer the dough in a glass bowl and keep it aside for two hours. 


Preheat the oven at 240 degrees C; basically the broiler (using only the top element in the oven) 
Place a strong & thick bottom baking sheet in the oven and heat it. 
To start making the naan, knock the dough back and divide it into 12 equal portions. 
Make 12 balls of the dough and flatten them slightly. 
At this point you have two options
Either you can fill each ball with the filling and then roll it or stretch the dough on a flour dusted surface (just like pizza) 
OR you can roll each ball out and sprinkle the filling over the top; pressing a little to ensure it stays on the naan.
(I prefer the latter coz it makes the naan look beautiful and there is no stress of the filling popping out of the rolled dough)
Grease the hot baking sheet with a little oil and place the rolled naans (I placed 3 at a time). Pop the sheet back in the oven a few inches away from the broiler. 
Once the top of the naan starts getting blistered, turn over the naan and cook the other side.
Bake all naans in a similar way. Smear the hot naan with a little butter or ghee and serve hot with the korma.

Note: I do not use flour while rolling the dough. Instead I grease the surface with a little oil and roll the dough.
Note: Adjust the amount of filling to taste.

Serves 5-6


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