Chicken Korma is a luscious nut and tomato curry. It's flavored with warm earthy spices and finished with a drizzle of cream. It’s an indulgence and definitely not meant for days when you want to eat light. Some people might think that it’s a huge effort to make Chicken Korma, but the fact is that it's actually an easy curry to make. This super easy Chicken Korma curry takes about 30 minutes from start to finish. You do want to marinate the chicken overnight or at least 4 to 5 hours for the best result. Marinating chicken also helps in cooking the chicken faster while keeping the flavor intact.
What is Chicken Korma?
Chicken Korma/Murgh Korma is also sometimes referred as Mughlai Chicken. It is one of the most popular dishes from Mughal cuisine. It’s not a typical spicy chicken curry but more of a mellow type with a hint of fennel seed, cumin and coriander. What makes Chicken Korma special is the creamy gravy that is made with almond, cashew and poppy seeds blended with yogurt.
This is one of most favourite curry to prepare, especially on weekends. Sometimes instead of Chicken Korma, I prepare the same curry with vegetables or paneer or egg. The korma paste is what makes it so delicious. Every time I have a party, and my guests requests for chicken curry, I often make this curry. It is always loved by everybody and I don't have have any leftovers.
What ingredients are used in Chicken Korma Recipe?
Don't get intimidated with the long list of ingredients. Once you read the directions, you will realize it needs a little prep but other than that, it's easy!
Chicken – I always prefer to use a combination of boneless chicken thighs along with drumsticks. The cooking time will cut down a lot more if you use just boneless chicken thigh. I would recommend not to use chicken breast as it can get overcooked very easily as you simmer the curry.
White Poppy Seeds – While a lot of people may not use this in the Korma paste, using white poppy seeds adds a beautiful aroma and creaminess to the curry.
Yogurt – Plain white yogurt is added with nuts and white poppy seeds to make the korma paste.
Spices that go in – Fennel Seed and Green Cardamom, followed by the combination of Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder, Chili Powder, Fennel Powder and Turmeric. Apart from these spices, Garam Masala is also added right at the end.
Onion, Garlic and Ginger – The combination of red onion with garlic and ginger is almost a mandate in most chicken curries. For chicken korma, I do prefer to chop it very finely.
Chicken Korma is a nut based gravy, if you are allergic to nuts, you can make the korma paste with just poppy seeds and yogurt.
Almond and Cashew – Chicken Korma is a nut-based curry and the combination of almond with cashew makes it quite delicious!
Fresh Green Chili and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper – The korma paste gives a mild sweetness to the curry which calls for a good balance of heat. A couple of green chilies along with black pepper makes that beautiful flavor balance.
Ghee – It is a rich curry and so, I prefer to prepare it in ghee, but you can choose oil too.
Heavy Cream – A little drizzle of heavy cream at the end makes the Murgh Korma curry rich and luscious.
Can you use Coconut Milk instead?
Yes! You can absolutely use coconut milk instead of heavy cream and avoid the dairy. However, the taste of the chicken korma will also change a lot based on that.
I have prepared this murgh korma/chicken korma several times in the past. I have also made the same curry with paneer and mixed vegetables. The korma curry is always a hit with my friends and family. It tastes great with steamed white rice or with Indian flat bread (paratha), but with my Instant Naan, it is a feast!
Few other delicious Chicken Curry you would love to try:
Chicken Tikka Masala
Caramelized Onion Chicken Curry
Chicken Ghee Roast
flavored with warm earthy spices and finished with a drizzle of cream. It’s an
indulgence and definitely not meant for days when you want to eat light.
- 1 lb. chicken (mix of boneless thighs and drumsticks)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ cup nuts (cashew and almond)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1- inch fresh ginger
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 green chili
- 1 tablespoon white poppy seeds
- 2 tablespoons plain thick yogurt
- 2 teaspoons ghee
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 5 green cardamoms
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- ½ tablespoon fennel powder
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- If you are using drumsticks, make sure you score it before marinating the chicken. In a mixing bowl, add the chicken pieces with ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon turmeric and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Give it a mix and leave it aside for at least 4 to 5 hrs. Letting it marinate overnight in the refrigerator is advised as it helps in cooking the chicken faster.
- When you are ready to prepare the curry, soak the nuts in a bowl and leave it aside for 15 minutes.
- In the mean time, finely chop the onion, garlic and ginger along with the green chili (I removed the seeds of the green chili because my kid still can’t eat spicy food).
- After 15 minutes, peel the almond. The skin would come out easy. Discard the water and add the nuts in a small blender along with the poppy seeds and the yogurt. Blend it to a smooth puree.
- Place a pan at medium heat and once the pan heats up, add the ghee. Sprinkle the fennel seeds and cardamom. Let it sizzle for a few seconds. Then, add the chopped onion, garlic, ginger and green chili. Mix it around and add ½ teaspoon salt along with all the cumin powder, coriander powder, fennel powder, chili powder and rest of the turmeric. Give a mix and let it cook for 2 minutes.
- Layer the marinated chicken pieces and mix it around. Let it sizzle for 5 minutes.
- Add the nut puree and mix it around.
- Pour the tomato puree, give it a mix and cover the pan. Cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the chicken should be cooked through. If not, continue cooking covered until the chicken is no longer raw.
- Finally, add the garam masala and cook for 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle the finely chopped cilantro leaves followed by the heavy cream. Mix it around. Check for salt and add any, if needed.
- Serve warm with your choice of bread or rice.
DISCLAIMER: This is an old post that I have updated with better photos and content.
Turned out to be really yummy 😋. Thank you for the recipe.
So glad you tried and liked it 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!
Look forward to trying this. If I use butter instead of ghee would it make a big difference. Maybe better to substitute oil? Which do you recommend if I don’t have ghee?
Butter will work too! It will not make a very big difference. Butter makes it rich and ghee gives a lovely aroma. So you could surely use either. For a healthier version you can also use oil instead 🙂
Wow Kankana! This chicken korma looks incredible! My family would absolutely love it.
I just want to sit at your table! This meal is gorgeous and delectable!!
Wish you did! Thank you so much Annie 🙂
Leanne @ Crumb Top Baking
I've never had chicken korma, but it looks and sounds so flavourful. Love that it is nut based, and I have most of those ingredients in my kitchen right now!
I hope you make it then, it's quite luscious and comforting!
David @ Spiced
I would never have guessed that chicken korma is a 30-minute recipe! This looks like you spent all day making it. Well done, Kankana! I'll have to put this on the menu here sometime soon for sure!
Yeah most often Indian curries has this bad reputation of being too much hectic and lengthy. I really hope you give this korma a try 🙂
What a wonderful Chicken Korma recipe Kankana. Its little wonder that this is requested by your guests and that you don't have any leftovers. If you made this for me first, your guests would be very lucky if there was any left!! 🙂
ha ha ha you are funny Neil! I do wish I could cook this curry for you.
I love all the warm spices that you have used in this korma. Looks seriously yummy and flavoursome.
Thanks Angie! These warm spices is what makes the gravy so tasty!
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
I absolutely love Chicken Korma, but I've never made it myself. Obviously I will be changing that in the very near future, because this recipe looks absolutely perfect!!! Approachable to make and filled with delicious flavors!!! PERFECTION!
I hope you do that Chayenne. Sometimes these Indian curries can sounds too lengthy to prepare but in reality it is not. You will love this curry 🙂
John @ Kitchen Riffs
Wonderful dish! I haven't made a korma-anything in ages. You have me craving it -- specifically Chicken Korma. Thanks!
Thanks a lot John! Go get cooking korma 🙂