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1 April 2019

My chicken korma recipe is derived from classic ingredients and spices from India, 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.

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 Indian 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.

Chicken Korma in a pan with garnish

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 we make chicken korma, shall we? I will also offer ingredients alternatives so you can make the recipe your own.

Breaking Down Chicken Korma

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
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breast (or chicken 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 (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

Chicken Korma Recipe Directions

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.

Chicken Korma paste in a food processor

Here I’ve moved it to a large bowl. You can see how thick it is.

Chicken Korma paste to make our marinade

Next, Mix the paste in a small bowl with the yogurt. It gets nice and wet.

Chicken Korma paste mixed with yogurt to make our marinade

Marinating the Chicken

Next, spoon the korma sauce over the chopped chicken and mix well.

Chicken added to the Korma marinade

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.

Cooking the Chicken Korma

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. Do not let it boil. You can simmer longer if you’d like to let the flavors develop more.

Simmering the chicken in our Korma sauce

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.

It turned out great! Very easy chicken korma recipe for quick weeknight meals if you can get the marinating going ahead of time.

Chicken Korma in a pan with garnish

It’s very easy to double up on this recipe and make a big batch. I like to freeze it – it freezes well.

Recipe Notes

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. 

TRY SOME OF MY OTHER POPULAR CURRY DISHES

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
Print Recipe
5 from 8 votes

Chicken Korma Recipe

My chicken korma recipe is derived from classic ingredients and spices from India, 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.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Marinating Time1 hr
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Indian
Keyword: chicken, curry, recipe, spicy
Servings: 4
Calories: 671kcal

Ingredients

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 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

    Instructions

    • 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.

    Notes

    Heat Factor: Mild, though it is very BIG on flavor. You can easily add some heat by incorporating spicier chili peppers and/or spicy chili flakes.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 671kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 56g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 235mg | Sodium: 464mg | Potassium: 1324mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1600IU | Vitamin C: 12.6mg | Calcium: 146mg | Iron: 3mg

    18 comments

    1. 5 stars
      This was amazing!! Made it for my finance and he loved it! Such wonderful flavors!! Will make this again! Thanks for the fabulous recipe!

      1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

        Thanks, Teresa! Nice! Super happy you enjoyed it. I love this recipe! Delicious.

    2. 5 stars
      I have grown up with a deep appreciation for India cuisine. My mom cooked it, and I’ve been to plenty of restaurants, but only recently decided I need to learn to cook it for myself. This was my first attempt at a main dish and WOW was I impressed at the results. AND it was pretty simple dish to create.
      The only question I had was what I was supposed to do with the chilis. I split them, removed the seeds and let them cook while simmering, removing them before serving. This worked out great and gave it a good amount of heat without being over the top.
      I can’t wait to make this for Mom!! Thanks very much for the keeper. And after reading the reviews, I’m absolutely going to make your Korean Chicken!

      1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

        Thanks, Becca! I appreciate it! Glad you enjoyed it, and I hope you enjoy the Korean Chicken, too!

      1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

        Oh yeah! Thanks, Stephanie. Glad you enjoyed it.

    3. 5 stars
      We tried your Korean Chicken recipe and loved it so we couldn’t wait to make your Korma. It was worth the wait! What fantastic flavors and very easy to make. We made the marinade the night before and let it sit with the chicken for 24 hours. Wow the flavor and not to spicy with 2 Serranos. As with the Korean Chicken, this recipe will become one of our go to’s when we make Indian food. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

        This is great to hear, Dan! I’m glad you enjoyed this one. It’s such a good recipe, with lots of flavor. Enjoy it again and again for sure!

    4. 5 stars
      Chicken Korma looks really good and alluring, The method is a bit different from what I employ but certainly seems interesting, I will try out your method too very soon. Thank you once again 🙂

      1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

        Great, Sarah! Super happy you’ve discovered a new regular recipe. Enjoy!

    5. 5 stars
      Made this recipe last night and it was very good, Had the left overs this morning with a fried egg on top.

      1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

        Outstanding! I love the leftover idea! Making that for myself soon!

    6. This is a nice chicken dish but not a qorma plz .. original qorma dish never uses tomatoes turmeric corainder .. qorma gravy has a dark look not turmeric look .

      1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

        Shirazi, there are many regional variations of korma, so the ingredients will differ from region to region. Tomato paste is optional.

        1. 5 stars
          Very true. Korma varies from place to place and color depends on the amount of turmeric, coriander cayenne pepper. If you want to enhance the taste and almond paste too. Its awesome.

          1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

            Thanks, Vardhini. Excellent advice, my friend. More almond paste for me for sure.






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