This chicken korma recipe is made with classic Indian spices and ingredients, with chicken marinated in a homemade korma paste and yogurt, then cooked quickly and simmered with cream. Mild in heat, but big on flavor, it's a spicy food lover's dream, so creamy and comforting.
Chicken Korma Recipe
If you're a spicy food lover, I'm sure you've worked your way into curries. Curries are typically quite spicy though the levels of heat will vary from dish to dish.
Spicy, of course, means the recipes uses a lot of spices and certain fresh ingredients. It doesn't always mean "hot", though it can. Most people who enjoy spicy food find their way to Indian restaurants or Thai restaurants, seeking out those curries and other dishes with big spice.
I had my first taste of chicken korma at a local Indian restaurant quite a long time ago and was instantly smitten. Such a delicious dish. Like many Indian recipes and curries, it doesn't have a lot of heat, though you can adjust that to your own personal tastes, as I do.
But when it comes to flavor, BOOM! Chicken Korma truly delivers.
What is Korma?
Korma is the general name for a dish of meat and/or vegetables braised in a yogurt or cream sauce. A variety of spices can be used, as well as stock or water, along with various meats and vegetables. As the mixture simmers, it thickens into a flavorful sauce.
Korma originated in India and has spread through the local region. As with any type of recipe like this, you'll find variation after variation, depending on the location and the preferences of the cook.
My recipe is a result of numerous efforts. I've made different korma recipes and versions, and this is the one that I prefer. When I make it, this is the exact way I make it. It's the best recipe for chicken korma around.
Let's talk about how to make chicken korma, shall we? I will also offer ingredients alternatives so you can make the recipe your own.
Breaking Down Chicken Korma - Recipe Steps
When making this dish, it is easiest to break it into simple steps, as there are quite a lot of ingredients. Don't let that frighten you. It is still an easy recipe that I make all the time.
The steps for making chicken korma include:
- Making the Korma Paste
- Marinating the Chicken
- Cooking the Chicken Korma
- Garnishing and Serving
Chicken Korma Ingredients
- FOR THE SAUCE/MARINADE
- Boneless Chicken. I used boneless, skinless chicken breast, but chicken thighs are great.
- Cashews. You can also use almonds.
- Tomato Paste. Optional.
- Fresh Garlic and Fresh Ginger.
- Spices. Garam masala, red pepper flakes, paprika, turmeric, ground coriander, ground cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, salt and black pepper.
- Yogurt. Green yogurt is great here.
- FOR THE CHICKEN KORMA
- Olive Oil. Or use ghee.
- Chili Peppers. I use serrano peppers though you can use other peppers to your preference.
- Chicken Stock.
- Heavy Cream. Or use coconut milk.
- For Serving. Fresh chopped herbs, spicy red chili flakes, and cashews
How to Make Chicken Korma - the Recipe Steps
First, make your korma paste.
Making the Korma Paste
Add the cashew nuts to a food processor and pulse to break them up. Add the tomato paste, garlic, ginger, and seasonings. Add salt and pepper to taste and pulse to form a thick paste. If it is too thick, add a couple tablespoons of water to thin it just slightly.
It looks like this in the food processor.
Next, Mix the paste in a small bowl with the yogurt. It gets nice and wet.
Marinating the Chicken
Next, spoon the korma sauce over the chopped chicken and mix well.
Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to marinate and let the flavors develop. You can leave it overnight to develop even more flavor.
TIP: You can do this at home in the morning or the night before to save you lots of time making the next dinner. I often like to get the marinade going the night before to give it more time for flavor to develop. So delicious.
Cooking the Chicken Korma
When you’re ready to cook, heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat.
Add the onion and cook with the peppers. Cook them down for 5 minutes to soften.
Add the chicken and cook with all of the marinade (Korma sauce) along with the chicken stock. Stir and cook for 15 minutes, stirring here and there.
Stir in the heavy cream or coconut milk and simmer for 10 more minutes. Do not let it boil. You can simmer longer if you’d like to let the flavors develop more. I usually let it simmer for a good 20 minutes or longer for more flavor.
Garnishing the Chicken Korma
Garnish with fresh chopped herbs, spicy red chili flakes, and cashews to serve. You can garnish with parsley, basil or cilantro, or whatever herbs you might prefer.
Boom! Done! It turned out great! Very easy chicken korma recipe for quick weeknight meals if you can get the marinating going ahead of time. We love Indian food. Absolutely HUGE on flavor.
It’s very easy to double up on this recipe and make a big batch.
- Adjust the Spices. This is a classic Indian dish similar to butter chicken or other curries, and they're easy to customize. Feel free to incorporate a spicy chili powder into the mix. Or use spicier peppers.
- Serving Chicken Korma. Indian Chicken Korma is great over steamed white rice or brown rice. Top it with spicy chili flakes and fresh herbs for a pop of flavor. Fried onions adds nice texture and flavor as well.
Serve it up with some spicy chilli pickle!
Storage and Leftovers
Store any leftover chicken korma in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 5 days. Heat in a pot on the stove or in the microwave to enjoy it again.
I like to freeze it – it freezes well in freezer containers. It's great for quick and easy lunches during the week this way. Just thaw it out, heat and serve it up.
Try Some of These Other Popular Curry Recipes
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Butter Chicken
- Spicy Beef Vindaloo
- Massaman Curry
- Spicy Thai Curry Chicken Soup
- Coconut Chicken Curry
- Chicken Saag
- Khao Soi – Northern Thai Coconut Curry Soup
- Sweet and Spicy Cashew Chicken
- Korean Fried Chicken
- Easy Chickpea Curry
- Homemade Yellow Curry Paste
- Aloo Gobi (Indian Spiced Potato and Cauliflower)
Check out my Curry Recipes for more wonderful curries.
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Chicken Korma Recipe
FOR THE SAUCE/MARINADE
- 2 pounds boneless chicken breast or thighs, chopped into bite sized pieces
- ½ cup cashews lightly chopped (or use almonds)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup plain yogurt Greek yogurt is great
FOR THE CHICKEN KORMA
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2-3 spicy chili peppers chopped - I used serrano peppers
- 1 medium onion chopped
- ½ cup chicken stock or more as needed, to simmer
- 1 cup heavy cream or use coconut milk
FOR SERVING: fresh chopped herbs, spicy red chili flakes, and cashews
- Add the chopped chicken to a large bowl and set aside.
- Add the cashew nuts to a food processor and pulse to break them up. Add the tomato paste, garlic, ginger, and seasonings. Add salt and pepper to taste and pulse to form a thick paste. If it is too thick, add a couple tablespoons of water to thin it just slightly.
- Mix the paste in a small bowl with the yogurt.
- Spoon the marinade over the chopped chicken and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to let the flavors develop. You can leave it overnight to develop even more flavor.
- When you’re ready to cook, heat the oil in a large pan.
- Add the peppers and onion and cook them down for 5 minutes to soften.
- Add the chicken with all of the marinade (Korma sauce) along with the chicken stock. Stir and cook for 15 minutes, stirring here and there.
- Stir in the heavy cream or coconut milk and simmer for 10 more minutes. You can simmer longer if you’d like to let the flavors develop more.
- Garnish with fresh chopped herbs, spicy red chili flakes, and cashews to serve.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 3/5/21 to include new information and video. It was originally published on 4/1/19.