Indian Chicken Korma

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.

Chicken korma in a steel dish.

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.

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.

Recipe Ingredients

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Chicken Korma Marinade Ingredients

The Chicken Korma marinade ingredients in white bowls.

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

Ingredients for chicken korma sauce in bowls.

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.

Variations

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.

Chicken marinating in a bag on a table.

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.

Chicken cooking in a skillet.

Step #3: Remove the chicken to a cutting board and cover with foil, allowing it to rest while you make the sauce.

Chicken resting on a cutting board.

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.

Onions sautéing in a pan.

Step #5: Stir in the ground almonds and garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Almonds and garlic being added to the onions in the skillet.

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.

Sauce for Indian Korma being made in a blender.

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.

Spices for chicken korma being added to a pan.

Step #8: Then stir in the onion-yogurt puree. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until it begins to darken in color.

Onion and yogurt puree poured into the pan.

Step #9: Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, red chili, ginger, and brown sugar. Stir well.

Tomatoes, coconut milk, red chili, ginger and brown sugar being added into the chicken korma sauce.

Step #10: Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching.

Korma sauce simmering in a pan.

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.

Chicken korma sauce and chicken all mixed together in the skillet.

Optionally garnish with cilantro or chives. Serve with steamed basmati rice and/or naan.

Bowl of chicken korma and plated chicken korma with rice in a bowl on a wooden table.

Expert Tips

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

What is Chicken Korma?

Chicken Korma is a traditional Indian dish made with chicken pieces simmered in a creamy, fragrant sauce made from yogurt, ground nuts, and spices.

What’s the difference between Chicken Korma and Chicken Curry?

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.

Can I use bone-in chicken for Korma?

Absolutely! Bone-in chicken can add more flavor, but remember to adjust cooking times as it might take a bit longer to cook thoroughly.

Can I make Chicken Korma in a slow cooker or crockpot?

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.

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Indian Chicken Korma Recipe

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.
4.5 from 1328 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free
Prep Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 574kcal
Author: Linda
Print Recipe

Ingredients

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

Optional Garnish

  • 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro

Instructions

  • 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.

VIDEO

NOTES

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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 574kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 59g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 883mg | Potassium: 1298mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 748IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 159mg | Iron: 4mg

Please note that some misspell this recipe as: Indian chicken kurma recipe or Indian chicken corma recipe.

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About the Author

Linda

Hi, I'm Linda! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel adventures from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. Be adventurous and try a new recipe and travel somewhere you have never been before.  Bon Appétit! Bon Voyage!  

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Comments:

  1. What a wonderful recipe. My troop is in for seconds. Only thing I changed is the stages of cooking. It’s outlined for more than 1 person cooking. Delicious

  2. 3 stars
    I saved this recipe in December 2020 and finally got around to making it today. My (huge) mistake for not checking back to see if you had made any updates.

    I see that you’ve updated the “blend the onions and garlic with water and then ‘brown’ them” step. That’s the right call.

    I was at an absolute breaking point trying to get that onion puree from your previous directions to brown. Did you EVER get it to brown??? Let alone in 2-3 minutes?? My mind is blown that that step passed your quality control “check” to make it into the recipe. It creates a grainy sauce. Yuck.

    If I can overcome my frustration, maybe I’ll try it again with your updated directions. Again, my fault for not checking for any updates. But I still can’t believe that step was ever included in the first place.

    ::sigh::

    To add insult to injury, I tripled the recipe for my back-to-school freezer meals. Lesson learned.

    1. Hi Frustrated, sorry about your experience. We test each recipe twice to make sure it works fine, but if others have problems later, we will look at updating the instructions as needed.

  3. 5 stars
    Awesome recipe. The whole family loved it! This is now in our meal rotation as a family favourite.