Chicken Korma and a Giveaway

Murgh Korma

Quite unlike the blazing red chicken curry which is synonymous to Indian cuisine, the Korma is mellow but regal and very much an Indian chicken curry too; rich, creamy, nutty it is redolent of aromatic spices with an exotic taste that is going to take you by surprise. The dish is not bold or fiery, but subtle, calm and rich with all its creamy goodness and full burst of flavors, with little bites of nuts and raisins. Do not be deceived by the pale looks, for there is definitely a lot more to its taste and flavors.

I hope everyone had a wonderful time. All the anticipation and excitement have been replaced by a sudden calm. We will have to wait for another year for all the joyful jingle of Christmas now.At home front we are relishing some quiet times just among just the four of us. We have been needing and desiring this time for a long time now. Another year, school and work is right around the corner, but none of us are thinking about those yet 🙂

Updated January 6, 2011: The giveaway is now closed!

I had promised to giveaway Ivy’s Cookbook – “Mint, Cinnamon and Blossom Water” in an earlier post. Her book is here!!

One lucky reader is going to win this book. All you have to do is to leave a comment in this post. Spread the word in FB, Twitter and other social media and leave a comment here. I will pick a winner using the random number generator. You not need to have a blog to win this book. Make sure you leave a valid email address where I can reach you. The giveaway ends on January 5, 2011. You have one whole week…

The Chicken Korma is also known as the Mughlai Chicken. Influences on Indian food can be traced back with the waves of  invasions the country went though in the past. The Aryans, Greeks, Mongols, Persians, Turks, Portuguese, French, British and  as well as Chinese people invaded India and brought in their bits of food and technique with them, which were slowly absorbed and combined with the original cuisine of India.

The concept of Korma/Qorma holds its roots in the Mughlai cuisine; the richness of the dish is contributed by the nut paste and cream and saffron. “The korma style is similar to all other braising techniques in that the meat or vegetable is first cooked briskly or seared using a high heat and then subjected to long, slow cooking using moist heat and a minimum of added liquid. The pot may be sealed with dough during the last stages of cooking.” (Wiki).

Murgh Korma - Indian Chicken Curry

The spices  and the kinds of nuts used may vary regionally or from home to home. The northern states will use almonds and dry fruits in the dish, while the southern states might go for cashew and coconut. Sometimes a combination of both almond and cashew are used. Mawa/Khoya/almost solid thickened milk may be used along with the cream to make it far more rich and creamy than I have done it here.

The recipe here today is mine, the way I make it at home. I am not claiming this to be an authentic Mughlai traditional recipe. Compared to the very traditional, I would say my recipe is the one in moderation. The ingredients I have used here are pretty much the usual ones used for Korma. I like to add raisins as much as I like it spiced up hot with a lot of green peppers. Both raisins and peppers are optional, but I feel the sweet balances the spicy really well. Some recipes use a white poppy seed paste which is usually added when the nut paste is added, but today I have not used the poppy seed paste. Do keep in mind the use of ghee is essential for the flavors of this dish.

Whatever way it is done, with all the exotic spices, cream, yogurt and nuts that are used here, it is a dish elegant enough to be served at a King’s table!

Murgh Korma

Chicken Korma – chicken in a creamy, nutty sauce


  1. 1.5 lbs chicken – preferably breasts, skinless, with/or without bones – cut into pieces/bite size pieces if using boneless breasts
  2. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  3. 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced into half moons
  4. a pinch of sugar

For marinade:

  1. 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  2. 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  3. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  4. salt
  5. 1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder
  6. 1 teaspoon garam masala
  7. 1/2 cup strained yogurt/Greek yogurt

For the Sauce/Gravy:

  1. 2 tablespoons ghee (use butter/oil if ghee is not available) + 3 tablespoons ghee (use butter/oil if ghee is not available)
  2. 8-10 small green cardamom pods
  3. 2 sticks cinnamon
  4. 5 cloves
  5. 1/2 teaspoon mace
  6. 3 bay leaves
  7. 3 medium sized onions, sliced
  8. 6-8 green hot chili pepper (or adjust amount to taste)
  9. 2 tablespoons ginger paste
  10. 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  11. 1/4 cup almond flour or 2-3 tablespoons almond paste (the nuts soaked, peeled and made into a paste)
  12. 1 teaspoon sugar
  13. 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
  14. 1 teaspoon white pepper powder
  15. a generous pinch of saffron
  16. 1-2 tablespoons golden raisins (optional)
  17. 3/4 cup strained yogurt or Greek yogurt
  18. 3/4 cup heavy cream
  19. sliced almonds to garnish
  20. salt


Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil Add a pinch of sugar and add the sliced onions (of the 1/2 onion). Fry the onions till they brown and caramelize. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Sprinkle salt on the chicken pieces and rub in along with lemon juice. Combine and whisk the rest of the ingredients for the marinade and marinate the chicken for at least a couple of  hours; if you have time to do it overnight, it is even better.

Heat two tablespoons of ghee/butter/oil in a pan, add cinnamon, cloves,  green cardamoms and bay leaves and sauté. Poke a hole or make a small slit on each of the chili pepper to prevent them from popping in the oil. Add onions, green chili pepper and the mace powder and sauté at medium heat till the onions starts to get light brown.

Add the 2 tablespoons of  ginger, and 1 tablespoon garlic paste; sauté and cook with the onions at low to medium heat till oil separates – you will see that the masala/spice mix will release the oil that it had absorbed. Add 3/4 cup of hot water and salt and bring it to a boil. Cook/simmer till the paste thickens a bit and there is no extra water floating on the top.

Optional: Cool and blend it in to a puree. It is okay if you do not puree. The texture of the sauce gets smooth and creamy if the masala mix is pureed.

Heat 3 tablespoons of  ghee in a pan and add the marinated chicken pieces; cook while tossing them occasionally until they start browning on the sides. The meat should be almost done. Add the pureed masala mix or if you have not pureed, add the onion – ginger-garlic mix to the pan.  Add the raisins to the pan. Toss well to combine. Cook for about five minutes.

Lower the heat and let the temperature of the pan come down a bit.(the yogurt tends to split/curdle is the temperature is high).  Whisk the yogurt till smooth and it is lump free. Add the yogurt, sugar, and the almond powder/paste and let it simmer at low heat for about 8-10 minutes. If  you feel it is too thick, feel free to add about 1/2 -3/4 cup of hot water and simmer it down to your desired consistency of the sauce.

Add the caramelized onions to the pan. Add the heavy cream; gently stir to mix. Add the saffron, white pepper powder and cardamom powder. Stir everything in, partially cover it and allow it to gently simmer at low – medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until you see a thin film of ghee appear as the top most layer above the sauce. (Once the sauce starts to release the ghee/oil, it indicates that it is cooked completely; all the fat that had been absorbed during the cooking process is being released now).

Garnish with slivered or sliced almonds and more caramelized onions and raisins if you wish.

Serve with rice/pulao/pilaf or bread/roti/naan.

Murgh Korma- Indian Chicken Curry

This is indeed a regal dish; a very different from the more asked for butter chicken or the chicken tikka masala. If you are fond of Indian food, and if you haven’t had the korma yet, do give it a try and you will fall in love with it! It is a different kind but outrageously delicious!

Murgh Korma - Creamy Nutty Chicken Curry

Related Posts:

Malai Kofta – Cheese Dumplings Simmered in a Spicy Sauce

A Simple Chicken Curry

Chicken with Sour Cream and Roasted Red Pepper

Methi Murgh – Chicken Curry with Fenugreek Leaves

Chicken Kolhapuri

Around the Food World:

Sara’s Bangladeshi Style Creamy Chicken Korma

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