A Chicken Korma recipe that's really satisfying and hits the right balance of flavours from sweet, caramelized onions, whole spices and cashews. Restaurant style taste that can be so easily achieved at home!
A good korma can seriously beat everything else, except butter chicken in my book but a good korma is also hard to make. I've had some really bad ones that are cloyingly sweet from too much sugar in the curry or just bland. Korma has an underlying sweetness to it, but not from a sweetner. It comes from onions that are cooked slowly till they gain colour and get mildly sweet in the process. Slightly hard work, but so so worth it.
Korma - what is it really?
Korma or kurma can refer to a range of curries in India and there are different ways to make it. It primarily refers to whitish-yellow gravies that have their base in onions, cashews and whole spices or garam masala. The level of heat can vary depending on how hot you like your curry. But they are mostly mildly sweet but like I said before - not from added sweeteners. And they are originally made with mutton or lamb, and are rich or 'shahi'. Sometimes the ingredient list will also include saffron but we've decided to skip it today.
Slicing Onions for Korma
Good chicken korma needs a little patience. Because the base starts with browning onions slowly. This recipe asks for 4 large onions to be sliced. If that sounds like too much work, make this process faster by using a mandoline if you have one. The advantage is that you'll get evenly sliced onions and its much faster than slicing them on your own.
Best cut of meat for Chicken Korma
I prefer using boneless skinless chicken thighs for chicken korma, because they remain tender and juicy by the time the curry is cooked. You can easily use bone-in chicken too, where the bones will again prevent the meat from drying out.
This korma sauce or gravy is rich and delicious. And so fragrant. So so fragrant from all the whole spices. The whole spices are sauteed in ghee, which releases their natural oils and literally flavours the whole gravy.
Ghee and not oil is used in this recipe, and I highly recommend sticking to it, if you can get your hands on it. It's so worth it. Because ghee is added not just as a fat, but for its nutty flavour.
Chicken Korma might seem like a little effort but trust me, it's so worth it in the end. Make this a weekend meal which can be followed by a nap!
Serve this with
- Soft Rotis if you want a lighter bread
- Instant Naan that's ready in 30 minutes!
- Jeera Rice if you love basmati
- Coconut Rice because they go so well together.
How to make Chicken Korma Recipe Video
Easy Chicken Korma made at home!
- 1 kg Chicken boneless skinless thighs ,cut into 1.5 inch pieces
- ½ cup Yogurt
- 2 teaspoon Salt divided
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper ground
- 4 tablespoons Ghee
- 4 Onions large (sliced)
- 10 Cashew nuts soaked in water for 30 minutes
- 6 Garlic cloves peeled
- 1 inch Ginger peeled
- 3 Green Chillies / Serrano Peppers
- 2 Cardamom Pods
- 1 Bayleaf
- 3 Cloves
- 1 inch Cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
- ½ teaspoon Chilli Powder / Cayenne Pepper
- ½ teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
- 3 tablespoons Cream
- Salt to taste
- Marinate the chicken in yogurt, salt and pepper and set aside for 20 minutes. Soak the cashews in water at the same time so that they soften by the time you are ready to use them.
- Heat 2 tablespoons ghee and cook the onions till golden brown. Browning the onions takes a while, because it’s important to brown them without burning. Keep stirring them every few minutes as they cook to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. Once they are evenly deep golden brown and soft, you know they are ready (or refer to the video above for colour).
- Transfer them to a mixer grinder along with soaked cashews, garlic, ginger, green chillies and a little water and grind till smooth.
- Heat the remaining ghee and add whole spices (cardamom pods, bayleaf, cloves, cinnamon) and the chicken. Stir fry the chicken on high heat for a few minutes till slightly brown. Add the onion paste with ½ cup water, coriander powder, chilli powder and salt. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally while the chicken cooks, and and add more water if necessary.
- Once the chicken is cooked, add garam masala and cream, mix well and turn it off. Serve hot.
- Onions: You can use white or red onions in this recipe. I prefer white onions because of their flavour but they can be hard to find sometimes. We've tested the recipe with both.
- Slicing Onions: Slicing four onions can seem like too much work. So either get some help, or use a mandoline if you own one. It makes this really fast and you'll get even, thin slices
- Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken thighs is my meat of choice for this recipe because they remain tender and juicy. If you'd like to use chicken breasts, skip the step where we stir fry the chicken on high heat to get some colour and just add them directly along with the onion paste and simmer so that they don't overcook.
- Is korma unhealthy? Not really. The richness in the gravy comes from onions and cashews and not from too much cream or butter.