Murgh Korma – Chicken in Nutty Sauce


Understanding about the Mughal rulers and who conquered who was not something I enjoyed reading as a child. Let’s just say, history was never my favorite subject. However, it’s a whole different story when it comes to relishing the Mughal cuisine and later, cooking the same in my kitchen. I am just happy that the phase of trying to memorize the genealogical table of Mughal dynasty is over and now all I need to remember is what ingredients to add first. My history teacher wouldn’t appreciate this but I am sure he would excuse me once he savored this curry.


Mughal dynasty has contributed a lot to Indian culinary arts and making many bellies pleased at the end of the day. Their cooking style was rich, using spices like nutmeg, mace, clove and saffron. Nuts were used a lot along with yogurt and milk to create a creamy texture for the gravy. Most often, ghee (clarified butter) would be used to prepare the dish and that always heightens the flavor.


Murgh Korma 3


It’s not something I prepare on a daily basis, but when the season brings a festive mood, we indulge big time. Murgh Korma, which is also sometime referred as Mughlai Chicken, is one of the most popular dishes from Mughal cuisine.


Murgh Korma 4


What makes this dish special is the creamy gravy, which is made with almond, cashew and poppy seeds blended with yogurt. The key thing to remember is to always cook at low heat or else the yogurt might curdle. Mixed vegetables, paneer or egg can be used instead of meat and it would still taste equally exotic. It’s not a typical spicy chicken curry but more of a mellow type with a hint of fennel seeds, cumin and coriander.


Murgh Korma 1


The long list of ingredient might intimidate you at first, but once you read the directions, you will know that it doesn’t need a lot of mental preparation but a tad bit of advance planning. And at the end, it will be worth the effort. Trust me on this!


Murgh Korma - Chicken in Nutty Sauce

Murgh Korma - Chicken in Nutty Sauce


  • 1 lb chicken, skinless and with bone or boneless
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 medium size red onions
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro, plus more for garnishing at the end
  • 6 to 7 almonds, blanched and skin removed
  • 6 to 7 cashews
  • 1 tablespoon white poppy seeds
  • 3/4 cup plain, flavorless yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon cream (optional)
  • 1 cup tomato puree, canned or homemade
  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms
  • 2 tablespoons ghee/ cooking oil
  • salt to taste


  • Marinate the chicken with salt, turmeric, garlic and ginger and let it rest for a minimum of five hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Using a food processor, puree the onion, fresh cilantro and green chilies. Add 2 tablespoons of yogurt to that and mix once again. Keep it aside to be used later.
  • Next, blend the cashew, almond and poppy seeds to a fine paste and add 1 tablespoon of yogurt to that. Keep it aside to be used later.
  • Dry roast the cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Grind it to a fine dust and keep it aside.
  • In a wok on a deep pan, add 2 tablespoons of ghee and bring it to heat. Add fennel seeds, green cardamoms and let it release the flavor. This should take about 2 seconds. Add onion puree to the wok/pan, add a pinch of salt and cook at a medium heat for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the marinated chicken and continue cooking for about 5 minutes until the chicken in partially cooked through. Then, add the cumin and coriander powder that was kept aside along with chili powder and freshly cracked pepper. Continue cooking for a couple more minutes.
  • Pour the yogurt and nut blend to the wok and give it a mix. Continue cooking in medium heat until the oil starts to separate. If it gets too sticky, add a little bit of water. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Gradually stir in the tomato puree and the rest of yogurt to the wok. Add some water, if the gravy gets too thick. Cook for a couple more minutes and add cream, if you are using any. Check for salt and once the chicken is cooked through, switch off the heat.
  • Garnish with some freshly chopped cilantro and serve with rice, naan or your choice of bread.


Murgh Korma 2


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wow K! so yum! I love all creamy Mughal curries! hmmm maybe I will drive up to SJ tomorrow 🙂

The flavors sound incredible!

Nandita says:

Wonderful post Kankana!! Mughlai cuisine is something to die for and this curry of your look absolutely divine. Loved the presentation 🙂

Nicole says:

I love learning about all the different regions of India and different types of cuisine. Learning through food seems like a pretty good idea to me. Thanks for the lesson and the great recipe. Your photos are beautiful. Love all the dishes.

Rosa says:

Scrumptious! What fabulous flavors. A divine curry!



Simone says:

Gorgeous Kankana…. I love The flavors here and those photos are just beautiful!

Sudeshna says:

One of my favorite chicken preparations. Loved your photos Kankana

Arch says:

The pictures and presentation are beautiful. Love the recipe, so tempted to try this out over the weekend.

nisha says:

sounds elaborate, but im totally sold..i love any mughlai dishes 🙂

I love these kind of dishes. Looks perfect with naan and white rice! Yummy pics, as always

This dish really does sound so exotic. The list of spices mixed all together is so intriguing. I’ll bet your house smelled amazing! I especially like the knowledge of which dynasty the flavors derived as one dynasty after another ruled India.

Really enjoyed this post! Your pictures are beautiful, as always and the dish looks scrumptious!

Soma says:

One of my favorites!! the colors of the photographs are stunning!!It is almost like I can smell and taste from here!

Soma says:

Beautiful pictures, absolutely mouthwatering. I agree that the mughlai dishes are an indulgent but well worth it.

Manju says:

I have only one word to say…Creamy and looks delicious(okay 3 or 4 words)


Mughlai dishes are devine.

Dixya says:

the korma looks so delicious and comforting for this weather. will make it soon 🙂

That looks so good! Have you started using your new cam for food pictures? I love murgh kurma with nuts. So creamy and delicious! Sometimes I make it with just cashews or almonds and sometime with both of them. Whatever nuts you use, it is sure to please the taste buds. Oh! I am craving for it now.

Eha says:

The more I cook Indian food, the more both Mughlai and Keralan seem to get chosen! What a fullbodied elegant recipe 🙂 !

WOW, this is right up my alley. 🙂 YUMM

Sarvani says:

I make more or less a similar version.. and I prefer the creamy, nutty gravy to some of the red-hot spicy ones… and ghee always helps!!beautiful photographs!! pssst… saw your blog on the saveur’s ‘sites we love’.. brilliant!!!

sulagna says:

Kankana this smells of royalty and grandeur and over the top celebration..perfect for a winter dinner when we have called a visiting Kaku Kakima home :)thanks for the idea

I really love the color & consistency of the gravy Kankana. Yummy looking! My husband wud be so happy if I made this for him everyday, I havent for ages.

I’m surely convinced that this majestic Mughal dish is worth all the effort for a festive table. What a great dish, Kankana! The last similar dish I had was during the Diwali festival at a friend’s place in Malaysia. His chef wife prepared a massive spread and one of the dishes was spiced nut chicken. She told us that she ground the almonds & cashews with the traditional mortar & pestle. Yep! It was just a memorable meal! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I’d definitely try making it, but with the modern food processor:)

Deepa says:

So you have decided that you are gonna kill me with your killer recipe pictures !! The addition of fennel seeds, poppy seeds makes it so creamy and flavory..Would love to have this with some naan.

tigerfish says:

I so love your photos! So professionally taken fit for the food magazines cover page. Thanks for sharing the background about Mughal dishes.

Pia says:

The mix of metal props and masala is stunning, Kankana! And the Korma looks divine. I’ve learnt to avoid Korma in the UK; it’s usually sweet enough to be dessert.
Before we take off for Kolkata: a very merry Christmas to you and your family, from me, D and Chotto-Ma. Holiday hugs; and catch you in the new year! 🙂

maha says:

Delicious and creative, I’d love to try it….BTW plz visit my space n check out new FB page if u free..Hope u will ..thanx in advance.

Woooowww my mouth is watering now! This looks amazing, thanks so much for sharing Kankana. Happy Holidays!

I haven’t had this since my trip to Australia ten years ago… but I remember it so well. It was out of this world delicious!
GORGEOUS photos, as always.
Hope you are enjoying your Holidays!! xo

Karen says:

So-o-o yummy! The preparation was intriguing and different from any other Indian dish I’ve made. A lot of different steps but it wasn’t overwhelming. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the dish and can’t wait to heat up the leftovers.

Jacqueline says:

Another one of your glorious tasty dishes Kankana! It looks so delicious! Sending you warm wishes over the Holidays and all the best for 2013 🙂

nipponnin says:

This story and dish are so interesting. The beautiful photos are very enticing.

nipponnin says:

Oh. I forgot to tell you. Have a wonderful holiday!

Mallika says:

Beautiful Kankana, the pictures are gorgeous. Loved reading the fact you disliked history and why history teacher wouldn’t appreciate this! This will make up the perfect dish for this festive season. Happy holidays ahead!

sumika says:

Wow this looks delicious…. !!

Nami | JOC says:

Although history wasn’t my favorite subject (lots of memorization!), I realized it was fun reading about history behind food actually. What a delicious meal. I hope you had a happy Christmas and I look forward to more of your amazing posts next year!

Namitha says:

How have you been ? Saw your pictures from Paris, lovely 🙂 Hope you are having a great holiday season.
This is one of my favorite chicken dishes, so rich n creamy. I am in love with your pictures, so classy they look !

Zee says:

I’m usually not a big fan of korma but this one looks so different from what we make at home.. The addition of nuts is what’s getting me excited to try out. Beautiful pictures!

Hi Kana… Indonesia has the same dish with nutty sauce as what you have here.
As usual, your photos are amazing. Thanks for submitting your photo to DMBLGiT January 2013 Edition. Wishing you good luck !