Those who love Indian-Pakistani foods know what chicken korma is. It’s a flavorful curry of tender chicken pieces in a rich, creamy sauce.
The dish has its roots in Mughlai cuisine, which originated in the Indian continent during the Mughal empire. Now, it has become a staple dish that many households make occasionally.
This curry is also a popular menu among the food spread at gatherings, festivities, or celebrations. You come across this chicken korma at weddings, Eid celebrations, etc.
It is also a prevalent menu option at Indian or Pakistani restaurants.
When you try it, you’ll understand why the dish is well-loved. Its enticing aroma, well-balanced spiced gravy, and succulent chicken pieces are delicious and perfect for any rice dish or just hot plain Basmati rice. It’s also flavorsome to eat with any flatbreads, though our favorite is naan bread.
Some recipes add nuts such as cashews or almonds in the sauce. However, I do not put any nuts in this easy chicken korma recipe. So, it suits everyone, including those with a nut allergy.
Why You’ll Love This Curry
- Creamy Texture: The rich and creamy texture of chicken korma and its velvety consistency give a satisfying mouthfeel with a simply moreish aroma.
- Mild Spices: This curry is known for its mild but well-balanced spices. It does not use many spices, yet it has a distinctive aroma.
- Versatile: You can enjoy this dish with any side dish, such as rice dish, naan, or chapati. Its adaptability makes it a convenient and flexible choice for different occasions and preferences.
- Comfort Food: The creamy, spicy, and tasty chicken korma makes it a comfort food for many. It gives a warm and satisfying mealtime, especially during colder seasons.
- Appeal to Various Palates: Chicken korma tends to appeal to a wide range of palates thanks to its moderate spice levels and rich flavor profile. It can be enjoyed by those who are not good with spicy food.
- Cultural Heritage: People often appreciate the connection of this dish to the culinary heritage of Mughlai cuisine, giving cultural significance to the enjoyment of the dish.
Ingredients You Need
- Boneless and skinless chicken thighs: Feel free to use chicken breasts or bone-in chicken pieces.
- Cooking oil: You can use any neutral cooking oil. I often use canola (rapeseed) or sunflower oil.
- Cinnamon stick.
- Bay leaves.
- Green cardamom pods.
- Brown onion.
- Ground coriander.
- Ground cumin.
- Garlic paste: You can blend three cloves of garlic with one tablespoon of water in a food chopper or food blender. I often make it in bulk and use it as needed.
- Ginger paste: Similar to garlic paste, you can blend 1.5-inch ginger root with one tablespoon of water. A food chopper or food blender can do this job.
- Tinned chopped tomato: If you want to use fresh tomatoes, you can use two medium-sized tomatoes for this recipe. Blitz the tomatoes in a blender or food chopper before using. This way, you can get a smooth gravy from your curry.
- Kashmiri red chili powder: If you don’t have this chili powder, you can use any Asian chili powder or cayenne pepper powder.
- Single cream.
- Himalayan salt: Use any salt you usually use for cooking and put the amount according to your taste.
How To Make Chicken Korma The Easy Way
Essentially, you have to make the sauce first and then add the chicken pieces.
Heat the oil in a cooking pot to make the sauce, and add the bay leaves, green cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks. After frying for about 30 seconds, add the chopped onion and stir-fry until the onion turns golden brown.
Next, add the remaining spices, such as ground coriander, ground cumin, ginger-garlic paste, chili powder, and salt. Continue cooking until the spices release a delicious aroma.
Pour the tinned chopped tomatoes (or blended tomatoes) into the spices. Cook it as you keep stirring and mashing the tomatoes now and again.
Add the chicken pieces and cook at medium-high heat once the masala is smooth and the oil separates from the edges. Let it cook until the chicken is just cooked through. Then, pour in the cream and stir well. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the gravy is bubbling hot.
What To Serve Chicken Korma With
If you want to make it part of the food spread, you can serve this chicken korma and aloo gosht or palak.
Substitutions and Variations
- You can use boneless chicken breast or bone-in chicken.
- Flavorless natural yogurt can replace the single cream. If you want to use yogurt, choose the Asian natural yogurt as it has a sharper taste. Whip the yogurt well before mixing it with the chicken.
Storing and Reheating
Once the chicken korma is at room temperature, please keep it in a tight-lid food container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat the curry in a microwave or a pot over the stove. Only reheat the amount you need and finish, as it is not recommended to keep reheating chicken.
You can also freeze it for up to 6 weeks. Ensure you consume the curry within a few days after thawing, and you must not refreeze it once it is thawed.
What Does Chicken Korma Taste Like?
It tastes creamy from the cream in the sauce with well-balanced spices that give chicken korma a distinct aroma and delicious aromatic flavor.
Is Chicken Korma Spicy?
No, it is not spicy unless you put more chili powder in the masala.
How is Chicken Korma Different From Chicken Curry?
Chicken korma uses different combinations of spices, and cream is added to the gravy. Meanwhile, chicken curry uses tomatoes as its masala base and does not use any dairy products in it.
Is Chicken Korma Like Butter Chicken?
Even though both curries use cream in their sauce, chicken korma uses different spices and has a straightforward method compared to butter chicken. The latter uses the grilling method for the chicken before adding it to the sauce.
Chicken Korma Recipe
- Chopping board
- Kitchen knife
- Cooking pot with lid
- 1.5 pounds/ 700 grams boneless chicken thighs cut into small pieces
- 3 tablespoons/ 45 milliliters cooking oil
- 1.5- inch cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 green cardamom pods
- 1 medium brown onion chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste
- ½ cup/ 120 milliliters tinned chopped tomato
- ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
- ¼ cup/ 60 milliliters single cream
- ¾ teaspoon Himalayan salt or according to taste
- Heat the oil in a cooking pot, then add cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and green cardamom pods. Stir fry for about 30 seconds.
- Add the chopped onion, and stir fry until the onion is slightly golden brown.
- Put the ground coriander, ground cumin, garlic paste, ginger paste, chili powder, and salt. Stir well and cook until the spices release aroma.
- Add the tinned chopped tomatoes and cook at low heat until the oil separates from the edges. Keep checking, and try mashing the tomatoes so you get a smooth masala sauce.
- Once the sauce becomes smooth with oil separates from the edges, add the chicken pieces.
- Stir and toss around until all pieces are covered with the sauce. Cook at medium heat and stir it every now and again. Add ¼ cup of water if you want more gravy in your korma.
- When the chicken is cooked through, pour the cream in. Stir well and let it cook for about 2-3 minutes.
- Check the taste and add salt if needed. Enjoy your chicken korma with plain Basmati rice or naan bread.
- To make a tablespoon of garlic paste, you will need about 3 garlic cloves. Peel them and put them in a food blender or food chopper. Add a tablespoon of water and blend until you get a smooth paste.
- For one tablespoon of ginger paste, you need about ¾-inch ginger. Blend it with one tablespoon of water.
- You can use boneless chicken breasts or bone-in chicken pieces. If you use bone-in chicken, you must cook it longer to ensure the chicken is cooked through.
- Use any neutral cooking oil, such as rapeseed oil or sunflower oil.
Replace the Himalayan salt with any salt you usually use and add it according to your taste.
- Chicken releases water, so I do not add water to this recipe. However, if you prefer your chicken korma to have more gravy, feel free to add ¼ cup of water. Please adjust the salt accordingly.
Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.