The easiest and most authentic Chicken Korma recipe is here to make your life easier! Try this wonderfully flavored and mildly spicy korma, and you will never go back to what you used to eat.
Indian cuisine is famous for the intense flavor and spices in its dishes. But this is a mildly spiced curry that is perfect for anyone who is new to Indian cuisine! It’s a favorite internationally, as well as within India and Pakistan.
It’s a simple recipe with straightforward ingredients, but it’s a royal (Shahi) recipe for a reason! It’ll woo you with its creamy texture and beautifully rich yet mild flavor.
This recipe is as authentic as it gets, but with instructions so simple that anyone can make it at home (even if it’s your first time ever cooking a curry!). If you want to try a lighter-seasoned chicken curry, try my Mallur Chicken Recipe.
What is Korma?
Korma is a classic curry from North India and Pakistan. The word ‘korma’ or ‘qorma’ means to braise in Hindi and Urdu. It comes from the method used to prepare the meat in this recipe, traditionally the most common being chicken.
It’s a dish that’s served on special occasions in India and Pakistan, from weddings to Eid – you name it!
Where did Korma originate from?
This recipe is many times also referred to as ‘Shahi Korma’. Shahi means royal, and that’s because of the origin of this recipe. It was invented in the 16th century during the Mughal Era in the Indian subcontinent (mainly Northern India and present-day Pakistan).
It is commonly said to have been the dish served at the inauguration of the Taj Mahal! Now you see what I mean when I call it Shahi?
Due to its Mughal influences, it’s more mildly spiced than other curries, making it an excellent curry to try if you’re new to Indian cuisine.
Since it also includes nuts, such as almonds and cashews, it’s rich and worthy of a royal dinner.
What does Chicken Korma taste like?
Before you attempt to make chicken korma, you’re probably wondering what it’s going to taste like. Rest assured that the curry is a quick, easy and delicious dish.
It’s very mildly spiced, especially compared to other Indian curries such as Chicken Tikka Masala and Chicken Karahi, yet has richness. Expect a thick, creamy, scrumptious curry that you can easily scoop up with your favorite bread (that would be naan for me!).
What is Korma sauce made of?
The Korma sauce that’s available in grocery stores pales in comparison to the real deal. The base of an authentic Korma sauce is fried onions along with yogurt. This is added to braised chicken and spices, that Is then slowly simmered.
Although you’ll find recipes that include tomatoes in it, traditionally, Korma does not include it. It takes away from the subtle flavor the curry is known for!
So save yourself those extra dollars, and don’t add tomatoes to your Korma. Follow along with my recipe, and you’ll have the most delicious Korma you’ve ever tasted.
What you need to make Korma at home
This recipe requires simple ingredients that you’ll easily get from your local grocery store! Let’s look at what these are:
Chicken: This is the protein we’ll be using to make this dish. It’s the one that is most commonly used to make Korma, although you can definitely make it using beef or lamb meat. You can go for chicken breast or bone-in chicken pieces.
Onions: One of the star ingredients of this dish! These are fried till they’re golden brown.
Yoghurt: This thickens up the curry and forms the base of it.
Cashew paste: You can make one easily at home by taking 16 soaked cashews and blending them into a paste by adding three tablespoons of water.
Ginger and garlic paste: This helps add an extra layer of flavor to the curry. If you don’t have the paste at home, just add fresh ginger and garlic to the blender while making the delicious Korma sauce.
Spices: This recipe requires simple spices, which you can easily find on Amazon or your local grocery store. We’ll be using red chilli powder, ground coriander, garam masala, ground cumin, turmeric powder, and whole cardamoms. In some recipes, you will find dried fenugreek leaves (also known as Kasuri methi in Hindi and Urdu).
A note on the spices: You might feel these are a lot, but by having your tiny stash of these authentic Indian spices (that are now readily available!), you’ll be able to make almost every Indian curry there is! Definitely, worth it, trust me.
How to make Chicken Korma Step by Step
Making Chicken Korma at home is simpler than you think! If you follow my recipe, you’ll have fool-proof Korma in no time.
- Prepare the cashew paste: Soak the raw cashews in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain the cashews and place in a blender; add three tablespoon water and saffron strand and blend.
- Fry onions: In a large pan, heat the oil and ghee. Add sliced onions and fry them till they turn golden brown in color. Remove the onion and place it on the kitchen towel. Chop the onion and keep it aside. Now add the whole spices to the remaining oil and fry for a few seconds.
- Braise chicken: Add the chicken to the oil and pan-sear it on each side. Braising it this way will add a delicious flavor to your curry. Korma isn’t korma without this step!
- Add the ginger and garlic paste to the chicken and cook for a minute.
- Combine everything: Add the remaining spices to the chicken and mix for a minute, then beat the yogurt and add it to the chicken along with the cashew paste. Now, add the chopped fried onion and ¼ cup boiling water if required. Let it simmer till the curry thickens up.
- Add the garam masala and mix for a minute.
- Ready to serve: Your delicious Chicken Korma is now ready to serve with some delicious naan, roti, or basmati rice!
Tips to make the most authentic Korma
- Follow my recipe to a T, and you’ll have the best tasting, most authentic Korma ever. By this, I also mean skipping tomatoes as this recipe does. Trust me, you might have heard of other people adding it, but it will completely take away from this mildly flavored, beautiful curry.
- Get a good sear on the chicken and braise it to get that authentic taste.
- If you’re planning on making this recipe tomorrow, soak your cashews overnight. It’ll make it easier to turn them into a smooth paste.
- Fry the onions till they’re light brown, almost golden. Onions turn dark really fast at this stage, so be careful of that. A light, golden brown is what you’re after!
Shahi Chicken Korma
- 1- kilo chicken skinless and cut in quarters
- 3 medium onions thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste
- 2 teaspoon ginger paste
- ¼ cup raw cashews soaked in hot water for 15 minutes.
- ¾ cup plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoon ghee
- 2 tablespoon cooking oil
- ½ cup water if needed
- ½ teaspoon saffron strands
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- 2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon garam masala Add it at the end and
- 3- inch cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cloves
- 5 whole green cardamom
- In a blender, add the soaked and drained cashews and three tablespoons of water and saffron strands. Blend until smooth in texture. Keep aside.
- Add the oil and ghee; when hot, fry the thinly sliced onion until light brown. Remove the onion from the oil and spread on a kitchen towel. Chop the onion into small pieces and keep them aside. (Please read the notes for other options).
- In the remaining oil, add the whole spices and fry on medium heat for a few seconds. Add the chicken and fry until you see brown patches on both sides of the chicken.
- Add the garlic and ginger paste to the chicken and stir for a minute—cover and cook on low heat for two minutes. The chicken should continue cooking in its juices and should not burn; however, if there are not enough juices coming from the chicken, add ¼ cup of boiling water.
- Uncover the pan and add the salt and the spices; mix well for a minute. Beat the yogurt and then add it to the chicken and mix again.
- Pour the cashew paste and mix well, then add the previously fried and chopped onions and mix for a minute. Add the garam masala and mix for another minute.
- If the gravy looks dry, add ¼ cup to half a cup boiling water, mix, and cover until the chicken is fully cooked.
- Instead of cashews, you can use almonds. After soaking the almonds, remove the skin and blend it with saffron and water. You can also mix cashews and almonds.
- I always use red onions since they have a stronger flavor, but you can use yellow onion.
- Use plain yogurt, and it is better to taste the yogurt before adding it to make sure it is not too sour.
- Never use tomatoes in this recipe, or the flavor will change.
- Add two tablespoons of heavy cream and mix a minute before turning off the heat for a richer version.