Chicken Korma
145 min

Chicken Korma

Korma, a word that originated in Urdu language, simply means a braise. A rich and royal preparation of meats, vegetables, nuts, cream, and aromatic essences like rose and vetiver during the Mughal times in India, it was often decorated with silver or gold leaf and served to kings and queens. Over a few hundred years, korma went through many transitions and eventually came to denote a mild, creamy curry during the British Raj.

Today, every home or restaurant makes their own iteration and here is a recipe for chicken korma that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It’s creamy and delicate yet packs a serious punch with aromatic spices. The recipe allows for a lot of flexibility ~ swap the cardamom and cloves for cinnamon or nutmeg, instead of cashews, use toasted almonds or almond butter. 

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Cook Time

2 hours and 25 minutes + refrigeration time



Step 1
Marinate the chicken in 2 tablespoons yogurt, garlic, turmeric, chile, cardamom seeds, cloves and salt and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours or up to 2 days.
Step 2
To make the sauce, in a Dutch oven or a thick bottom stock pot over high heat, warm up roughly half the ghee and add the onions. Cook them slowly and at medium heat and let them soften and caramelize to a golden brown. This will take 10 to 15 minutes or longer.
Step 3
Then transfer the caramelized onions, saffron, cashews, coconut milk, remaining yogurt, ginger and salt into a blender and puree until smooth. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of water as well. Set this sauce aside.
Step 4
Warm up the same Dutch oven over high heat and pour in the remaining ghee. As soon as the ghee is warm, add the chicken pieces and let them fry on all sides until golden brown. This will also soften the cardamom and cloves.
Step 5
Pour in the pureed sauce, turn the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a slow boil. If the mixture appears too thick, add a few tablespoons of water. Turn the heat down, cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the chicken rest for at least an hour or two.
Step 6
Serve with garnished with herbs alongside rice, flatbreads, or toasted buns.

Chicken marinade:

2 pounds skinless bone-in chicken thighs & drumsticks

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon red chile

2 teaspoons crushed cardamom seeds

1 teaspoon crushed cloves

1 teaspoon sea salt

Korma sauce:

1/3 cup ghee

1 1/2 cups of minced onions

Generous pinch of saffron threads

1/2 cup toasted cashews

1 14-oz can coconut milk

1 cup plain yogurt

2-inch piece of ginger, chopped rough

1 teaspoon sea salt

Herbs for garnish

Notes & Variations

  • The cardamom seeds come from the green cardamom pods – you can buy the seeds separately at most Indian grocers. To crush them and the cloves, use a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin.
  • Use sesame seeds if you want to stay away from nuts. Instead of chicken, make it with lamb or beef but try to make it with meat on the bone. Or make it with hearty vegetables like carrots, mushrooms, or butternut squash…
  • The saffron adds a note of luxury to the sauce, feel free to leave it out.
145 min

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