Afghan Gosht Korma

So, the kid only had one request for his birthday dinner ~ goat. But it turns out that the local Afghan markets don’t carry it, so I tracked down a local butcher. The most common cut appears to be cubed, with the bones in, which makes it ideal for stews.

This dish comes out thick and slightly creamy from the yogurt. It’s a nice hearty dish, but not too heavy for a warm evening.

“Gosht” roughly translates as “meat” (from the original Persian) but across the ME, Pakistan, and India it’s what I’ll loosely call “stew meat”, specifically red meat.  Goat is very common, as is mutton, stew lamb, stew beef, etc. Goat will be slightly gamey, where cheap lamb is probably the best middle ground.

“Korma” seems to have moved in the opposite direction, and a lot of people refer to it as gravy. In general it’s a yogurt-based thick stew, usually with tomatoes.

For simplicity-sake I’m going to use gosht here, just because I get tired of saying “meat” all the time.

[no photo yet, sorry]

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 bowl
Servings Per Container 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 425 Calories from Fat 126.9
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14.1g 22%
Saturated Fat 3.4g 17%
Trans Fat 3.4g
Cholesterol 131mg 44%
Sodium 292mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 20.7g 7%
Dietary Fiber 4.9g 20%
Sugars 12.2g
Protein 52.8g 106%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Shopping list:

  • 1 lbs gosht ~ cheap stew lamb, stew beef, goat, (1), mutton
  • 1 Large yellow onion
  • 2 lbs large tomatoes
  • Yogurt, plain full-fat (2)
  • Garlic
  • Ginger (fresh or paste)
  • Cardamom
  • Chili powder
  • Cinnamon (powder)
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Turmeric
  • Salt
  • Olive oil

(1) you’ll probably want 2 pounds of goat, because at least locally there is a lot of bone.
(2) I’ve started using Persian yogurt, as Greek yogurt tends to clot when cooked. Damavand is a local brand available in local Middle Easter/halal markets.

Food prep:

  • For the gosht, what you need to do depends on what you have. Goat comes in bone-in ~1.5″ cubes, which is fine for stewing, but you can cut it off the bones in large chunks if you like. Lamb and beef, there’s often boneless stew meat, or thick-ish bone-in cheap chops. For the latter, debone the meat and cut it into approx. 1″ pieces. Set aside in a bowl, bones and all.
  • Mince 2 tbsp garlic and 2 tbsp ginger (or ginger paste)
  • Dice the onion.
  • Chop the tomatoes coarsely, seeds and all.
  • In a small dish, combine the dry spices:
    • 1/2 tsp cardamom
    • 2 tsp chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (powder)
    • 1 tbsp coriander
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 2 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup of full-fat yogurt. Greek or Persian is best

To begin,  brown the gosht in several tablespoons of oil in a karahi or dutch oven. Remove from the pot and set aside. Add in the garlic and ginger, and saute for a minute until the aromas start to come out. Next, add in the onion and saute until just soft. Try to not overcook or they’ll come out mushy later

Add in the dry spices, and mix until it’s a sticky mess at the bottom of the pan. Pour in 1/2 cup of water, and stir to deglaze the pot, then add the gosht back in along with any bones. Saute for a minute or two, just enough to coat the meat with the spices.

Next, turn the stove down to medium.  Then add the chopped tomatoes along with 1 cup of yogurt. Simmer, stirring regularly for 3-4 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to sweat. Don’t let it come to a boil or it might “break” the yogurt and ruin the texture.

Cover the ingredients with water, and bring back to a simmer. Cover and cook until the gosht is soft. Add small amounts of water if necessary, but the stew should thicken. Cooking times can vary wildly, particularly depending on the meat used, but figure on at least an hour.

Remove any loose bones before serving in bowls.