Chicken Korma

By Lee Jackson ↣ Published on: December 15, 2020

Last Updated: February 22nd, 20240 Comments on Chicken Korma

Rich and creamy, a decadent and luxurious and ancient curry from India’s north, Chicken Korma is a fragrant and flavourful extravaganza. A mild combination of juicy chicken, nuts, yoghurt and spices.

A bowl of Chicken Korma Curry with a spoon

There are few curries as satisfying as the luxurious Korma. One of my personal favourites, this chicken korma is a rich, decadent combination of flavour and texture. A lightly spiced curry, it has the most amazing velvety texture and aromatic flavour. Juicy chicken is the perfect vehicle for the sauce, and it clings to every piece. It's a curry fit for royalty and a winner for any home cook wanting to impress.

What is Korma? क़ोरमा, قورمہ, কোরমা

Korma or 'Qorma' has been traced back to the 16th Century Mughal Cuisine. Derived from the Urdu word for 'Braise', qormā has been one of the most revered and special dishes in all of India. The dish originated in the Indian subcontinent, but versions of the dish are also eaten in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Korma is generally a combination of meat or vegetables with dairy like yoghurt and cream. It also usually features pounded nuts, or nut flour to aid in thickening the sauce. Korma is typically a mildly spiced curry.

Why it works

The texture - The sauce is luxurious, rich, creamy but not heavy. The almond flour is used to great effect in creating a truly delicious sauce.

It's fragrant - Not all curries need to set the world on fire! My chicken korma is mild and lightly spiced. It's all about fragrance.

It's easy - This is not a difficult curry to make at home. And it's head and shoulders above anything you could take-out!

Stuff you'll need

Making this delicious chicken korma doesn't require a massive roll-call of ingredients, here's where the key flavours come from.

Step by Step

This Korma has a few simple steps. All you need is some kind of blender and you're set.

  1. Step 1 - Mix together the ground spices with a little water. This is the foundation for all the flavour.
  2. Step 2 - Make an onion paste. By bending onion, ginger and garlic into a puree we create more flavour for the sauce, plus fast-track our texture by breaking down the onion - that would normally happen naturally over a longer cooking time. Quick tip, if you're up for an extra cooking stage there is also a technique with Korma, where you can cook the onion, garlic and ginger in oil until soft, then blend into a paste. You'll get a super-smooth curry sauce.
  3. Step 3 - Fry the onion paste in a little oil until lightly golden
  4. Step 4 - Add the paste and let it fry for a minute or two.
  5. Step 5 - Add the chicken and stir to coat with the paste.
  6. Step 6 - Add the yoghurt and stir well, then add a little water. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. Step 7 - Reduce the sauce until thick and creamy.
  8. Step 8 - That's it! Serve hot.
Ground spices for a curry powder to make Indian Chicken Korma including cloves, cardamom, paprika, garam masala, cumin, coriander, pepper and finally some almond flour.
Blending onion, garlic and ginger into a paste for Chicken Korma curry
Frying onion, garlic and ginger paste for Chicken Korma curry
Adding the curry paste to the onion, garlic & ginger paste for a Chicken Korma curry
Adding the chicken to the curry paste for Chicken Korma curry
Adding yoghurt to the Chicken Korma curry
Simmering the Chicken Korma curry until it's creamy
Tasting Chicken Korma curry

Pro Tips to make your life easier

  • Pre make the curry powder - I've selected pre ground spices for this recipe to make life easier. I also make a lot of my curry powders in advance and store them in an airtight container until I need them, I'll usually make 3-4 x the recipe so that I always have plenty to use. It'll stay good for 6+ months.
  • Fresh Cream - For an even more decadent texture to the sauce, you can stir in 1/2 cup fresh cream at the end and let is come to a very light simmer then remove from the heat.
  • Bone-in chicken - Use bone-in cuts like thighs or legs for a great flavour.

Serving and storing suggestions

  • Serving - Being a northern Indian curry, Korma works well with Indian breads. Chapati, roti, naan, paratha all word splendidly well. Of course a good quality fluffy basmati rice is excellent too.
  • Salad - A simple crunchy salad works well to cut through the richness. Try my delicious recipe for Kachumber salad.
  • Garnishes - I'll often serve this curry with elaborate garnishes of slivered almonds that I've toasted in a dry frying pan, pomegranate seeds, rehydrated sultanas, cilantro or mint, radishes and a drizzle of whipping/double cream. For a special curry party, I once also topped the korma with a few leaves of edible gold leaf, to much fanfare and applause.
  • Rose water - At the request of a reader, I once drizzle a little 'Kewra' water (pandanus water) and it was a revelation. You can also use Rosewater
  • Fridge storage - Make the curry in advance and keep refrigerated for a day to see amazing taste enhancement. Leftovers will stay good in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
  • Freezer storage - Portion up into airtight containers and freeze for 3+ months. Cook from frozen in the microwave, stirring frequently until piping hot throughout. Alternatively, defrost thoroughly and heat in a pan until piping hot.
A bowl of Chicken Korma Curry with a spoon

Ready to get cooking?

One of my favourite curries, chicken korma is sure to impress whoever is lucky enough to have it cooked for them. My recipe makes light work of the preparation and simplifies all the stages to ensure it's not too taxing for the home cook. Are you ready for a big bowl of creamy deliciousness?

Any Questions? (FAQ)

Have a question about my Chicken Korma recipe, let me know in the comments.

What is korma sauce made of?

Typically korma sauce features aromatic spices, yoghurt, nuts and often coconut milk or cream too.

Is chicken korma very hot?

Korma is commonly a mild curry, aromatic rather than spicy hot. You can add chilli powder in whatever dose you feel like to spice things up.

How do you eat Korma?

Korma pairs well with Indian breads like Naan, roti, paratha and chapati. Basmati rice is a great partner to korma too. Typically a cooling element like salad, raita or lassi is served alongside a chicken korma.

A bowl of Kofta (meatball) curry drizzled with yoghurt and garnished with chopped cilantro

The Best Curry Recipes in the Cook Eat World.

Discover all my favourite curries from around Asia. Here are my Best Curry Recipes in the Cook Eat World.

A bowl of Chicken Korma Curry with a spoon

Chicken Korma

Rate this recipe

5 from 1 vote
Print Recipe Pin Recipe Save Recipe
Recipe by Lee
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 6
Calories (per serving) | 539

Video Recipe


Curry Paste

Onion Paste

Other ingredients


To make the curry paste

  • Mix all the curry paste ground spices together with 1/3 cup water and set aside

To make the onion paste

  • Using a food processor or stick blender, blend the onion, garlic and ginger together into a smooth paste. Set aside.

Making the curry

  • Heat a large pan over a moderate heat until hot. Add the oil and when melted add the onion paste, bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Fry for 4-5 minutes until the paste has browned slightly. Don’t let it stick too much, so add a little water at a time if it does.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the curry paste. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes to cook out the spices before adding the chicken pieces.
  • Turn up the heat to medium and stir well to combine and coat all the chicken. Let this cook for 3-4 minutes until the pan is hot again.
  • Add the yoghurt and about 2 cups water and stir well. Let this come to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes.
    Remove the lid and cook for a further 10-15 minutes to reduce the sauce until rich and creamy.


Alt Cooking Methods
  • I use pre-ground spices to save time, but you can also use whole spices. To make the powder, dry toast the whole spices (same volume) in a small pan and then grind into a fine powder using a spice grinder or pestle & mortar.
Serving suggestions
  • I like to serve chicken korma with some kind of Indian Bread or on a bed of fluffy basmati rice.
  • I often garnish this curry with lots of toppings that can include; toasted almonds, pistachio, pomegranate seeds, cilantro or mint, radishes, rehydrated sultanas and often a drizzle of whipping/double cream. And one time I garnished with edible gold leaf!
  • At the suggestion of one reader, I tried a few drops of Kewra water (a pandanus plant extraction) which is common in Mughali cuisine, which was a revelation of fragrance. You can also use rosewater.
  • Fridge storage - Make the curry in advance and keep refrigerated for a day to see amazing taste enhancement. Leftovers will stay good in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
  • Freezer storage - Portion up into airtight containers and freeze for 3+ months. Cook from frozen in the microwave, stirring frequently until piping hot throughout. Alternatively, defrost thoroughly and heat in a pan until piping hot.


Calories: 539kcal (27%) | Carbohydrates: 12g (4%) | Protein: 31g (62%) | Fat: 41g (63%) | Saturated Fat: 17g (106%) | Cholesterol: 174mg (58%) | Sodium: 557mg (24%) | Potassium: 572mg (16%) | Fiber: 2g (8%) | Sugar: 6g (7%) | Vitamin A: 211IU (4%) | Vitamin C: 5mg (6%) | Calcium: 152mg (15%) | Iron: 2mg (11%)
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @CookEatWorld or tag #cookeatworld!

This recipe uses affiliations and may receive a commission based on your activity (link clicks). Learn more.