Chicken Korma
Chicken Korma
5 from 12 votes
Experience the timeless magic of cooking authentic chicken korma at home. This guide offers simple steps to re-create this flavourful, creamy classic without any fuss, even if you're a beginner in the kitchen!
Chicken Korma

Guess what we’re making today? Yes, it’s the irresistible Chicken Korma, a star on any Indian cuisine menu! Chicken Korma holds a grand status in the culinary world and for a good reason.

Its origins trace back to the grand kitchens of the Mughal empire in India, where chefs blended aromatic spices with thick, creamy sauces to create a delectable feast fit for royalty.  

Our Korma, beloved by food enthusiasts worldwide, still carries the aroma of those ancient times. A symbol of the rich, cultural fusion that Indian cuisine represents, its rich and opulent flavours make it a signature dish worth mastering. 

As I dive into my rendition of this epicurean delight, let me dispel any concerns about the complexity of making this dish. Despite its long ingredient list and deeply layered flavours, Chicken Korma is not as daunting to create as it might appear.  

With some patience and practice, even culinary newbies can learn to make a Chicken Korma that could put even experienced chefs to the test. 

Every ingredient in this dish is meticulously chosen to build a symphony of flavours. The chicken, carefully seared and cooked, absorbs the rich mix of spices and aromatic pastes, and the coconut, an essential player in this performance, lends a tropical hint to the dish.  

Finally, the double cream and yoghurt orchestrate a delightfully creamy texture that clings lovingly to the palate with every bite. 

Like any good story, the magic lies not just in the tale but in how it’s told. The same is true for our Chicken Korma. The dish’s allure lies as much in the ritual of its making as in its tantalizing taste.  

The mere act of sautéing the onions and toasting the spices fills your kitchen with an aroma that’s nothing short of therapeutic. The final act of simmering everything in the creamy base is akin to witnessing the climax of a well-narrated tale. 

Don’t be intimidated by the seemingly intricate dance of ingredients and spices; cooking, like any art, requires a certain amount of flair. And remember, practice is your best friend.  

Over time, you’ll intuitively understand how the flavours blend and influence each other, leading you to your perfect version of Chicken Korma. 

Ultimately, the joy of creating Chicken Korma at home is not just about producing a restaurant-quality dish. It’s about participating in a culinary tradition steeped in history and culture. It’s about the smiles on the faces of your loved ones as they dive into their first bite.

Most importantly, it’s about the sense of accomplishment you feel when you’ve created something truly delicious from scratch. 

So, strap on that apron, brave culinary warrior, and let’s conquer the kitchen with the tantalizing, timeless Chicken Korma. Here’s to creating magic, one spice-laden dish at a time! 

What Ingredients to Use & Why 

Chicken Korma, an iconic dish hailing from the Indian subcontinent, is well-loved for its flavourful profile that derives its richness from a myriad of ingredients.  

This deeply aromatic, creamy and spicy curry becomes a luxurious feast when accompanied by Peshwari naan. The following breakdown will explore the individual roles of each ingredient and their potential alternatives. 

Oil: Acting as the cooking medium, oil is crucial for sautéing the onions and spices. It carries the flavours, ensuring they permeate the chicken thoroughly. You can use various types of oil, but I prefer neutral ones like canola or sunflower that don’t add their own flavour.  

For a more authentic touch, you could use ghee, a clarified butter popular in Indian cuisine. 

Onion: This is the base of the curry, providing a sweet undertone and textural body once cooked down. It also carries the other flavours well. Shallots can be used as an alternative to onions for a milder and slightly sweeter flavour. 

Chicken: The main protein in this dish. The chicken absorbs the flavours of the curry and becomes tender during cooking, adding substance to the meal. For vegetarians, paneer (Indian cheese) or tofu could be great substitutes. 

Garlic Paste & Ginger Paste: They form the heart of Indian cuisine, providing a pungent kick and warmth that beautifully counterbalances the creaminess. Freshly grated garlic and ginger could be used, but pastes save on prep time. 

Salt: Fundamental to amplify all the flavours in the dish, salt is an essential ingredient. Himalayan pink salt, sea salt, or even kosher salt could be used depending on personal preference. 

Sugar: Added to counterbalance the heat and acidity, sugar enhances the subtle sweetness in the curry. Brown sugar or honey can also be used as alternatives. 

Coconut Powder: A unique addition that provides a slight sweetness and rich, creamy texture to the korma. Alternatives could include coconut milk or grated fresh coconut. 

Spices (Turmeric, Garam Masala, Coriander Powder): These lend the signature depth and warmth to the dish. Turmeric imparts a golden hue, garam masala contributes a heady, aromatic note, and coriander powder adds a lemony touch.  

Although these spices are traditional, variations can include cumin powder, cardamom, or clove for different flavour profiles. 

Yoghurt: This adds tanginess, contributing to the overall complexity of the curry. It also helps tenderize the chicken. If you wish to replace it, try sour cream or a plant-based yoghurt for a dairy-free version. 

Double Cream: The finale in our recipe, double cream contributes a velvety smoothness and rich consistency. If you’re watching the calories, you could opt for light cream or even a splash of milk. 

Remember, cooking is an art that invites experimentation. Feel free to swap ingredients based on dietary needs or preferences. Enjoy the process and savour the delicious chicken korma you’ve created with love and attention. 

The Origin of Chicken Korma  

When it comes to comfort food, few dishes can compare to the richness and complexity of Chicken Korma. This delectable dish, bursting with flavours, has a fascinating origin.  

The word ‘Korma’ (also known as Qorma) has roots in the Urdu language, meaning ‘braise’ – highlighting the cooking technique used to prepare the dish. 

The genesis of Chicken Korma can be traced back to the royal kitchens of the Mughal Empire in the Indian subcontinent during the 16th century. It was a dish of distinction, served at the opulent banquets of Mughal courtrooms. 

The traditional version of Korma is characterized by a rich and creamy sauce, imbued with spices, and slow-cooked meat, typically chicken, lamb, or beef, resulting in a tender, flavour-infused dish.  

As the Mughal influence permeated various regions, the recipe for Korma evolved with local adaptations, leading to the variety of Kormas we see today. 

One such variant is the British adaptation, which is milder and often creamier, much like the Chicken Korma recipe you’re familiar with. This iteration became popular due to its palatable taste, pleasing the Western preference for milder, cream-based dishes. 

So, each time you relish a plate of Chicken Korma, you’re not merely savouring a dish but an age-old tradition of gastronomy and a piece of culinary history. 

Making Your Chicken Korma Creamier  

I’ve come across several tricks to enhance the texture and flavour of dishes. When it comes to Chicken Korma, a dish celebrated for its velvety smooth sauce, a common query is how to make it creamier. I’m excited to share a few tips that have helped me achieve an irresistibly creamy Chicken Korma. 

Firstly, the use of dairy in the recipe is crucial. The recipe already calls for yoghurt and double cream, but it’s important to whisk them well before adding them to the pan. This ensures a smooth, even consistency that adds creaminess to your korma. 

Then there’s the use of nuts. Almonds and cashews are commonly used in traditional korma recipes. They’re usually soaked, ground into a paste, and added to the korma, resulting in a richer, creamier texture. In the absence of these, coconut powder in our recipe also contributes to the creaminess. 

And let’s not forget about onions. They may seem like a humble ingredient, but when cooked down until soft and brown, they add a silky texture to the sauce. 

Lastly, the slow cooking process itself lends a creamy texture to the korma. It allows the chicken to release its juices, which blend with the spices and create a smoother, creamier sauce. 

Remember, achieving the perfect creaminess in your Chicken Korma isn’t a matter of adding more cream, but rather the right ingredients and techniques to enhance the texture. With these tips, you’re well on your way to making a korma that’s as creamy as it is flavourful. 

Substituting Coconut Milk for Coconut Powder in Chicken Korma 

As a fervent cook and a lover of experimenting with flavours, I often get asked about substituting ingredients in recipes. One such query involves the possibility of substituting coconut milk for coconut powder in a Chicken Korma recipe. 

In the culinary world, flexibility is key. Substitutions not only enable you to tweak recipes to suit your dietary needs and personal tastes but also come in handy when you’ve run out of a specific ingredient.  

In the context of our Chicken Korma recipe, swapping coconut milk for coconut powder is definitely possible. 

Coconut powder, when mixed with water, essentially forms coconut milk. So, using coconut milk instead won’t drastically alter the taste or consistency of your korma. However, because coconut milk is liquid, it may slightly change the texture of the sauce. 

When substituting, it’s crucial to adjust the quantities accordingly. Since coconut milk is less concentrated than powder, you might need to use more to achieve the desired flavour.  

Furthermore, you may need to simmer the korma a bit longer to allow the extra liquid to evaporate and achieve the preferred consistency. 

Using coconut milk instead of coconut powder in your Chicken Korma can add a lovely creaminess to the dish, with a slight adjustment in cooking time and quantity. It’s a testament to the versatility of cooking where a simple substitution can open up new dimensions of taste and texture. 

Ideal Sides for a Perfect Chicken Korma Dinner  

One of the greatest joys of hosting a dinner is pairing dishes that complement each other, creating a symphony of flavours on the plate. If Chicken Korma is your star of the night, you might wonder what to serve alongside this rich and fragrant dish. 

The creamy, mildly spiced chicken korma pairs beautifully with various sides. My first recommendation is a type of Indian bread. Naan, especially garlic naan or peshwari naan, is a delightful accompaniment to Korma. The fluffy bread is perfect for scooping up the creamy sauce. 

Jeera rice, especially if it’s lightly spiced or cooked with a few saffron strands, is another ideal accompaniment. The delicate, long grains absorb the korma’s flavours, enhancing the overall taste. Alternatively, pilau or biryani rice could also be an excellent match. 

For a healthier option, consider serving a simple cucumber raita on the side. The cool, refreshing raita not only adds a contrast to the rich korma but also aids in digestion. 

To balance the richness of the korma, a side of grilled or sautéed vegetables can add a touch of brightness. For instance, a medley of bell peppers, carrots, and peas or a simple spinach sauté can work wonders. 

Lastly, don’t forget a tangy pickle or chutney, like mango or lime. The acidity cuts through the creaminess and adds an exciting flavour contrast. 

Every meal is an opportunity to create a memorable gastronomic experience. By carefully choosing your sides, you can ensure your Chicken Korma dinner is an absolute delight for the senses. 

Freezing and Reheating Chicken Korma  

Many of us live busy lives, and finding the time to prepare a delicious meal like Chicken Korma every day can be challenging. So, the concept of ‘cook once, eat twice’ is a game-changer for many. One of the most common inquiries I get is if you can make Chicken Korma ahead of time and freeze it. 

The answer is a resounding yes. Chicken Korma is one of those dishes that freeze incredibly well, making it perfect for meal prep or those nights when you want a home-cooked meal but don’t have the energy to cook. 

When freezing Chicken Korma, it’s crucial to let the dish cool completely before transferring it to airtight, freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. Be sure to leave a little space at the top of the container as the sauce will expand when it freezes. 

The Chicken Korma can last up to three months in the freezer. However, for the best flavour and texture, it’s ideal to consume it within a month. 

When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen Korma, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. Once thawed, reheat it on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally. You might need to add a splash of water or cream to thin out the sauce if it’s too thick. 

Freezing and reheating Chicken Korma is a practical way to enjoy this tasty dish without the daily hustle of cooking, ensuring you always have a homemade meal ready to go. 

Understanding the Gluten-Free Nature of Chicken Korma  

One of the key questions from health-conscious eaters and those managing gluten sensitivities or celiac disease is whether Chicken Korma is gluten-free. 

Firstly, it’s essential to understand what being gluten-free means. Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. It can cause digestive issues in individuals with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. 

In its traditional form, Chicken Korma, which includes chicken, spices, yoghurt, and cream, does not contain any ingredients with gluten. Hence, it should be naturally gluten-free.  

However, cross-contamination during preparation could introduce gluten to the dish. Therefore, when dining out or buying pre-made korma sauce, it’s crucial to check if it’s been prepared in a fully gluten-free environment. 

Another thing to note is that while the Chicken Korma itself might be gluten-free, it’s traditionally served with naan or roti, both of which are made from wheat flour and therefore contain gluten.  

If you’re strictly adhering to a gluten-free diet, you might want to consider serving your korma with gluten-free alternatives, such as rice or gluten-free bread. 

It’s also crucial to read labels when purchasing ingredients like spices or pre-made pastes, as some brands may include fillers or additives that contain gluten. 

Chicken Korma can indeed be a delightful gluten-free option, provided you take the necessary precautions during preparation and serving. It’s a testament to the flexibility of this dish that it can be easily adapted to cater to different dietary needs. 

Crafting a Vegan Version of Chicken Korma  

I often come across requests for vegan versions of popular dishes. Chicken Korma, a beloved classic, is one such dish. Even though the traditional recipe uses chicken, it’s entirely possible to craft a delicious vegan version of this dish. 

To start, you would need to replace the chicken. Tofu is a great substitute because it’s protein-rich and absorbs the flavours of the sauce well. You could also use seitan, tempeh, or even a variety of vegetables like cauliflower, sweet potatoes, or mushrooms. 

The next thing to replace would be the yoghurt and cream used in the recipe. Here, coconut milk or almond milk could serve as vegan alternatives. These dairy substitutes impart a creamy texture akin to that of the traditional recipe.  

In place of yoghurt, vegan sour cream or a blend of cashews and lemon juice could add a similar tanginess. 

Now, for the sugar, ensure you’re using a vegan-friendly variant. While sugar itself comes from a plant, certain refining processes involve bone char, a non-vegan product. Brands like Organic Sugar or Beet Sugar are vegan-friendly. 

And finally, when it comes to spices, no changes are necessary. They are the soul of the dish and work just as well in the vegan version. 

The joy of cooking lies in its creativity and the ability to adapt to dietary preferences. With these substitutions, you can prepare a delicious, vegan-friendly Chicken Korma that stands up to the original in flavour and satisfaction. 

Using Chicken Thighs in Chicken Korma  

If you’re a fan of Chicken Korma, you may have pondered the possibility of using chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts in your recipe. From my cooking experience, I can confidently state that using chicken thighs can indeed result in a tasty Korma. 

Chicken thighs, being darker meat, have a higher fat content compared to chicken breasts. This not only imparts a richer flavour to the dish but also ensures the meat remains juicy and tender during the slow cooking process. 

Another advantage of using chicken thighs is their forgiving nature when it comes to cooking times. Unlike chicken breast, which can become dry if overcooked, chicken thighs retain their juiciness and tenderness even if they are cooked a bit longer. 

To use chicken thighs in your Korma, simply replace the chicken in your recipe with an equal weight of chicken thighs. You may need to adjust the cooking time slightly, as thighs can take a bit longer to cook than breasts. 

It’s also worth mentioning that bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs can add even more flavour to the Korma, though you’ll want to remove the skin and bones before serving. 

Not only are chicken thighs a viable substitute for chicken breasts in a Chicken Korma recipe, but they can also elevate the dish to a new level of flavour and tenderness. So, don’t hesitate to give chicken thighs a try next time you cook up a pot of Korma! 

Lactose-Free Alternatives for Double Cream in Chicken Korma  

When it comes to food sensitivities or dietary restrictions, I believe they should never be a hindrance to enjoying your favourite meals. A common query I encounter is what to use in place of double cream in a Chicken Korma recipe for those who are lactose intolerant. 

The good news is that there are several lactose-free alternatives that can be used without compromising the creamy texture and rich flavour that double cream adds to the dish. 

One such substitute is coconut milk or coconut cream. It provides a similar richness and creaminess to double cream, and its light coconut flavour can complement the Indian spices nicely. 

Another option is lactose-free cream, which is now readily available in many supermarkets. This could be the perfect substitute as it provides the same creaminess without the lactose. 

Almond milk or cashew cream could also be used, although they might not provide the same level of richness as double cream. If you’re using almond milk, it’s best to choose the unsweetened variety to avoid adding any unwanted sweetness to your Korma. 

The key when using a substitute is to start with a smaller quantity and add more as needed, depending on how creamy you want your Korma to be. 

So, even if you’re lactose intolerant, you can still enjoy a delicious, creamy Chicken Korma by using these dairy-free alternatives to double cream. 

Adjusting the Spice Level in Chicken Korma  

Chicken Korma is often celebrated for its balanced and subtle flavours. Traditionally, it’s not as spicy as some other Indian dishes, making it a popular choice for those who prefer milder curries. But how spicy is Chicken Korma exactly, and can you adjust the spice level? 

The answer lies in the ingredients. The classic Chicken Korma recipe uses a mix of spices that provide more flavour than heat. Ingredients like garam masala, coriander powder, and turmeric offer aromatic depth rather than outright spiciness. 

However, the beauty of cooking lies in personalization. The spice level can be tweaked to suit your preference. If you’re like me and enjoy a bit of heat, you can add some red chilli powder or fresh green chillies to your Korma. Start with a small quantity, then adjust according to your taste. 

On the other hand, if you prefer your Korma even milder than the traditional recipe, you can reduce the quantity of garam masala or omit the chilli entirely. Remember, the goal is to enjoy the dish, so feel free to adjust the spices to your liking. 

Chicken Korma’s spice level is inherently mild but highly adaptable. Whether you want it milder or hotter, with a little experimentation, you can find the perfect balance for your palate. So don’t be afraid to play around with the spices and create a Chicken Korma that’s perfect for you. 

Check Out These Other Recipes 

Whenever I’m in a curry mood, which honestly is more often than not, I find myself wandering back to a few favourite recipes that never fail to impress my taste buds. Now, don’t get me wrong, Chicken Korma is an absolute gem in its creamy, aromatic glory. But variety, as they say, is the spice of life. 

A must-try that complements our star Chicken Korma, is the spicy and hearty Chicken Kaleji. Yes, it might sound a bit out of the ordinary, but trust me, the burst of flavours is worth every effort. This delicacy of chicken liver cooked in aromatic spices, is truly an unsung hero in the vast world of curries. 

Keeping the spicy palate alive, I often find myself turning to the Vegetable Karahi. This vegetable-packed curry brings a wonderful contrast to the creamy Korma, with its hearty mix of veggies bathed in an earthy tomato-based sauce.  

It’s the perfect medley of health and taste, ideal for those “eat your veggies” kind of days. 

Now, let’s venture a bit further. Chicken Jalfrezi has a special place in my heart, with its rich tomato base and a kick of green chillies. It’s the perfect combination of spicy, tangy, and utterly satisfying, just the way a good curry should be. 

Sometimes, I feel like indulging in a slightly different flavour profile, and that’s when Lamb Karahi saves the day. The tender lamb stewed in a robustly spiced gravy creates an experience that is a delight for the senses. It has the warmth of home, with an adventurous spirit of a faraway land. 

And finally, the irresistible Chicken Biryani. I mean, who can resist the allure of this aromatic, spiced, and flavourful biryani? It’s the perfect companion to any curry dish, Korma included. Fragrant basmati rice layered with spiced chicken, garnished with fried onions and boiled eggs; it’s a celebration in a pot! 

I encourage you to explore these recipes and add your own twist. After all, food is about creativity, right? Don’t forget to share your experiences and, of course, any divine variations you might stumble upon in the comments below. 

Chicken Korma

Chicken Korma

by Nabeela Kauser
Experience the timeless magic of cooking authentic chicken korma at home. This guide offers simple steps to re-create this flavourful, creamy classic without any fuss, even if you're a beginner in the kitchen! 
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 373 kcal


  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 Onion Finely diced
  • 500 g Chicken
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Coconut Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder Haldi
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 100 ml Yoghurt
  • 100 ml Double Cream


  • In a large pan, heat up the oil on medium heat until hot.
  • Add the finely diced onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened.
Add the ginger and garlic paste, and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant.
  • Add the salt, turmeric, garam masala, and coriander powder and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the chicken and cook for 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the coconut, and sugar and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the yoghurt and double cream and cook for 6-8 minutes.
  • Serve with a peshwari naan and enjoy!


Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 373kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 14gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 659mgPotassium: 242mgFibre: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 480IUVitamin C: 4mgVitamin D: 1µgCalcium: 68mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Chicken, Coconut, Curry, Food, Korma, Mild, Recipe, Sweet
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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