Discover the rich and creamy goodness of a time-honored Indian classic, and turn a simple dinner into an exotic feast with the velvety, spiced layers of this Chicken Korma recipe.
If you’ve never tried your hand at making Indian Recipes at home, this should definitely be your starter recipe. It’s much easier than you’d think, as long as you have some basic Indian spices in your pantry.
Table of Contents
Why We Love this Recipe
We love how this Chicken Korma has a harmonious blend of creamy and aromatic spices, with a touch of sweetness from the brown sugar and onions. The mild heat from the red chili is beautifully tempered by the yogurt and coconut milk. What truly elevates the dish for me is the nutty hint from the ground almonds, creating a flavor we find irresistible. The sauce just begs to be soaked up by a piece of fresh homemade naan bread.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Chicken Korma Marinade Ingredients
The marinade for the chicken includes vegetable oil, garam masala, curry powder, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. The vegetable oil carries the flavors deep into the chicken. Garam masala brings a complex, aromatic warmth, while the curry powder adds a blend of spices for a deep, exotic flavor. With salt and pepper, these ingredients infuse the chicken with rich and spicy undertones that complement the creamy korma sauce.
Chicken Korma Sauce Ingredients
I love the korma sauce! The yogurt makes a creamy, tangy base, while onions add sweetness and depth, and tomatoes bring in richness. Almonds add creaminess and nuttiness. Garlic and ginger infuse the sauce with pungent, earthy, and zingy notes. A blend of spices provides floral, warm, and sweet nuances.
Creaminess Alternatives: If you want to avoid yogurt or are lactose intolerant, try using coconut milk or coconut cream for a tropical twist. Almond or cashew milk can also be a great substitute.
Nut Variations: If you’re allergic to almonds or prefer another option, consider using cashews, walnuts, or sunflower seeds. They can replace the almonds for a slightly different taste and texture.
How to Make Chicken Korma
Make the Chicken Korma Marinade
Step #1: Make the chicken korma marinade. Instead of a bowl, I prefer to use a 1 gallon zip top bag to marinate the chicken for a more even distribution of the marinade and easier clean up. Put the chicken in the bag. Drizzle the chicken with the oil and sprinkle on the garam masala, curry powder, salt and pepper. Massage into the meat and cover, leaving to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Cook the Chicken Korma Chicken
Step #2: Now, after the chicken has marinated for at least 2 hours, we will cook the chicken. Heat a cast iron or grill pan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes per side. Cook until you get an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F.
Step #3: Remove the chicken to a cutting board and cover with foil, allowing it to rest while you make the sauce.
How to Make Korma Sauce
Step #4: Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok set over medium heat. When hot, add onions and ¼ cup water. Sauté until onions are translucent and lightly browned, 12-15 minutes.
Step #5: Stir in the ground almonds and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Step #6: Add yogurt and remaining water to the bowl of a blender. Transfer the onion and almond mixture to the blender. Puree until smooth.
Step #7: Measure out the spices (curry powder through nutmeg) into a small bowl. In the same skillet or wok, heat remaining vegetable oil over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the spices. Then toast for 1 minute.
Step #8: Then stir in the onion-yogurt puree. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until it begins to darken in color.
Step #9: Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, red chili, ginger, and brown sugar. Stir well.
Step #10: Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching.
Step #11: Cut the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces and add it into the pan. Stir in the chicken well. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
Optionally garnish with cilantro or chives. Serve with steamed basmati rice and/or naan.
Chicken Thighs over Breasts: While chicken breasts are leaner, thighs tend to be juicier and can be more flavorful. If you prefer a richer taste, go for boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
Fresh Spices and Be Careful to Not Over Toast Them: A few readers have commented that the korma came out bitter. I’ve made this lots of times with no issues, and so have the majority of readers. I suspect that any problems were because the spices used were either bitter to begin with, or over-toasted. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of using quality spices!
Frequently Asked Questions
Chicken Korma is a traditional Indian dish made with chicken pieces simmered in a creamy, fragrant sauce made from yogurt, ground nuts, and spices.
While both dishes involve simmering chicken in a sauce, Korma typically has a creamier and nuttier base due to the addition of yogurt and ground nuts. Curries can have a wider variety of bases and flavors.
Absolutely! Bone-in chicken can add more flavor, but remember to adjust cooking times as it might take a bit longer to cook thoroughly.
Yes, after sautéing the onions and spices, all ingredients can be transferred to a slow cooker and cooked on low for 6-8 hours or until the chicken is tender.
Storage and Reheating
You can store this recipe in an airtight container in your fridge for 3-5 days. If you are looking to freeze this recipe you can do so in an airtight container for 2-3 months. If freezing, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
To reheat this recipe you can do so in 30 second increments in the microwave until everything has warmed through. You can also reheat this Chicken Korma on the stove top over medium-high heat until everything has warmed through.
More Delicious Indian Recipes
Indian Chicken Korma Recipe
For the Chicken Marinade
- 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Sauce
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil - divided into 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon
- 3/4 cup water - divided into ¼ cup and ½ cup
- 2 white onions - peeled and cut into quarters
- 1/2 cup raw almonds - ground
- 6 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
- 4 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 large tomatoes - 3 cups, diced small
- 1 cup unsweetened canned coconut milk
- 1/2 of a small red chili - de-seeded and minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar - packed
- 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
- Drizzle the chicken with 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil and sprinkle on the garam masala, curry powder, salt and pepper. Massage into the meat and cover, leaving to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Instead of a bowl, use a 1 gallon zip top bag to marinate the chicken for a more even distribution of the marinade and easier clean up.
- Heat a cast iron or grill pan over medium-high heat.
- Cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes per side, until cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F. Remove to a cutting board and cover with foil, allowing it to rest while you make the sauce.
- Meanwhile, make the korma sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok set over medium heat. When hot, add onions and ¼ cup water. Sauté until onions are translucent and lightly browned, 12-15 minutes. Stir in the ground almonds and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a blender. Add yogurt and remaining water; puree until smooth.
- Measure out the spices (curry powder through nutmeg) into a small bowl.
- In the same skillet or wok, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the spices and toast for 1 minute, then stir in the onion-yogurt puree. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until it begins to darken in color.
- Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, red chili, ginger, and brown sugar. Stir well.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching.
- Cut the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the pan. Stir in the chicken well. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
- Serve with steamed basmati rice and/or naan.
- Optionally garnish with chopped cilantro.
Please note that some misspell this recipe as: Indian chicken kurma recipe or Indian chicken corma recipe.