Mughlai Chicken

By Lee Jackson ↣ Published on: February 14, 2020

Last Updated: November 12th, 20235 Comments on Mughlai Chicken

Mughlai Chicken is a rich, creamy and impossibly delicious curry from the North of India. A mildly spiced marriage of fragrance and flavour. The Mughal Empire gave the world so many culinary delights, and this curry is one of them. Fit for an emperor.

A bowl of Mughlai Chicken Curry garnished with Almonds, cilantro and pomegranate seeds with a spoon on the side.

The Mughal Empire reached dizzying heights of culinary excellence during its three Centuries. Excuisitely spiced food with extravagant preparations - many of the Indian dishes we know and love today were born out of Mughal royal cuisine.

One such curry is the korma-style Mughlai Chicken. A magical blend of nuts, spices and juicy chicken. Rich, luxurious and creamy it's a pure celebration of flavour. It's also one of my all-time favourite curry dishes. For real!

Mughlai chicken is really very easy to make at home too. As Indian curries go, it's relatively light on ingredients but absolutely manages to pack an amazing warm, fragrance to the rich, glossy sauce. Are you ready to eat one of the most amazing curries of your life?

A bowl of Mughlai Chicken Curry garnished with Almonds, cilantro and pomegranate seeds with a spoon on the side.

What is Mughal Cuisine?

Mughal cuisine is a blend of Indian, Persian, and Central Asian culinary traditions that developed during the Mughal Empire. It is known for its rich and aromatic dishes, elaborate preparation methods, and use of exotic spices and ingredients.

Some of the popular Mughal dishes include biryanis, kebabs, curries, and kormas, which are often made with tender meats such as lamb, goat, chicken, and beef.

Mughlai chicken is a korma-style preparation. The word "korma" translates from Urdu as "braise" or "cooked in a pot", describing the long cooking times that achieved meltingly tender meats in rich, glossy sauces.

Why it works

It's so damn tasty - while not a spicy curry, don't let that fool you into thinking it's bland! It has one of the most alluring warming spice and an appealing creamy sauce that clings to every inch of the juicy, tender chicken. I'm salivating just thinking about it!

The ingredients for a Mughlai chicken curry.

Stuff you'll need

As Indian curries go, Mughlai chicken is relatively modest in its ingredients. Each brings a little bit of magic to the party.

  • Chicken thighs - you can use a whole jointed chicken, or like I do, chicken thighs which remain juicy during cooking. Breast meat dries out, so I avoid it always when cooking curry.
  • Spices - Cardamom, cinnamon, mild chilli powder, a little hot chilli powder and garam masala are al you need.
  • Onion, garlic and ginger - the backbone to the sauce. It's blended before cooking to help us achieve a creamy sauce.
  • Almonds - the nuts are blended with a little milk into a smooth puree. This is the key to achieving the rich, creamy sauce. They act as a thickener and bring a wonderful subtle nuttiness to the sauce. We also toast them and scatter generously as a garnish to add texture and more nuttiness.
  • Cream - Cream or yoghurt (or both) is added to the sauce to add even more creamy decadence.

Step by Step

Here's how to make Mughlai chicken curry - nothing too taxing, all you need is some kind of blender. I use a stick blender as it saves on washing up. You can use a bullet blender, regular blender or food processor.

  1. Step 1 - Blend the onion garlic and ginger until smooth and set aside.
  2. Step 2 - Blend the almonds and milk until smooth and set aside.
  3. Step 3 - Heat the oil and fry the whole spices; cardamom and cinnamon
  4. Step 4 - Add the onion and fry until the raw onion smell is gone.
  5. Step 5 - Add the ground spices and stir briefly
  6. Step 6 - Add the chicken and stir to coat everything in the spiced onion mix
  7. Step 7 - Add the almond mix and a little water and simmer for 30 minutes or so
  8. Step 8 - Stir in the cream and let is simmer for 5 minutes! Done - now eat!
Pureeing onion, garlic and ginger with an immersion blender
A puree of almond and milk with a spatula
Cinnamon and cardamom frying in oil
onion frying in oil with a wooden spoon
Spices being added to fried onion pureeing a pan with a wooden spoon
Chicken being stirred into spiced onion
Almond paste being added to a curry
A mughlai chicken curry simmering with a little cream.

Serving and suggestions

  • Garnish the curry with generous handfuls of toasted almonds and a light scattering of cilantro. I also like to add a few tart and sour pomegranate seeds and/or caramelised and crispy fried onions.
  • You can also drizzle over a little more cream. If you're feeling super decadent, lightly crown the curry with some edible gold leaf too!
  • Serve Mughlai chicken with basmati rice or Indian breads. Personally, I love this curry with breads, which is perfect to mop and soak the creamy sauce. A fluffy naan bread or flaky paratha will do the trick!


  • You can switch out the almonds for cashew nuts or even pistachio for a similar, creamy sauce.
  • Instead of cream, you can use yoghurt or a combination of yoghurt and cream to achieve the same luxe texture


  • Fridge - Leftovers will stay good in the fridge for a week. Make sure you keep them in an airtight container.
  • Freezer - Portion into single serves in airtight containers and keep in the freezer for 3+ months. Reheat from frozen in the microwave until piping hot, stirring once or twice during cooking. Alternatively, defrost and reheat in a pan until piping hot.
A bowl of Mughlai Chicken Curry garnished with Almonds, cilantro and pomegranate seeds with a spoon on the side.

Ready to get cooking?

I've said all I can about the wonders of Mughlai chicken curry! Now it's up to you to determine if you agree. If you do or don't, be sure to let me know how you go in the comments below. Enjoy!

A bowl of Mughlai Chicken Curry garnished with Almonds, cilantro and pomegranate seeds with a spoon on the side.
A bowl of Mughlai Chicken Curry garnished with Almonds, cilantro and pomegranate seeds with a spoon on the side.

Mughlai Chicken

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4.80 from 5 votes
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Recipe by Lee
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Persian
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 6
Calories (per serving) | 555



  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds (toasted in a dry frying pan until lightly golden)
  • 2 tbsp cilantro (chopped)


  • Using a stick blender or food processor, blend the onions garlic and ginger together into a puree. Set aside.
  • Using a stick blender, blend the almonds and milk into a puree and set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a moderate heat. Add the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick and fry for 1 minute.
  • Add the onion mix and fry gently for 5-6 minutes until brown.
  • Add the Kashmiri chilli powder, hot chilli powder, garam masala and salt and stir briefly.
  • Add the chicken, and stir for a few minutes to fully coat all the chicken.
  • Stir in the almond puree and then pour in 1½ cups water and stir well.
  • Bring the curry to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and let it gently bubble for 35 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked.
  • Remove from the heat and serve. I like to garnish mine with a generous handful of toasted slivered almonds and cilantro. Serve alongside Indian breads or basmati rice.


Suggestions and Serving:
To add a finishing touch to the curry, sprinkle it with toasted almonds and fresh cilantro, along with some tangy pomegranate seeds or crispy fried onions. For an extra touch of indulgence, drizzle some cream and even add some edible gold leaf on top.
Mughlai chicken can be served with basmati rice or Indian breads, like naan bread or paratha, which are ideal for savoring the creamy sauce.
For a variation of the creamy sauce, you can use cashew nuts or pistachios instead of almonds. Additionally, yoghurt or a combination of yoghurt and cream can replace cream for a similar texture.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. To freeze, divide into single servings and store in airtight containers for up to 3 months. When reheating from frozen in the microwave, stir occasionally until it's piping hot. Alternatively, defrost and reheat in a pan until piping hot.


Calories: 555kcal (28%) | Carbohydrates: 11g (4%) | Protein: 32g (64%) | Fat: 43g (66%) | Saturated Fat: 13g (81%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 187mg (62%) | Sodium: 543mg (24%) | Potassium: 583mg (17%) | Fiber: 3g (13%) | Sugar: 3g (3%) | Vitamin A: 697IU (14%) | Vitamin C: 4mg (5%) | Calcium: 104mg (10%) | Iron: 2mg (11%)
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