Close up view of chicken cooked in a fragrant spiced yogurt sauce and served with naan.

Chicken Korma

Chicken Korma is so mouth watering, authentic, and full of amazing Indian flavors and spices. This recipe with well done chicken in a rich and creamy sauce will remind you of your visits to the best Indian kitchens or restaurants. A delicious gluten free, high protein and low carb option for your next Indian dinner.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Chicken Korma, Chicken Korma Recipe, Indian Chicken Korma
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Inactive time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 260kcal
Author Roxana Begum


Ground Spices (or 1 tbsp Garam Masala)

  • 6 green cardamom
  • 5 cloves
  • 3 inches cinnamon stick
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1/2 star anise or 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon mace


  • 2 lbs chicken with bone
  • 3 tablespoons ginger garlic paste or grated
  • 1 tablespoon Kashmiri chili powder or *cayenne pepper plus paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt adjust per taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil regular
  • 2 onions yellow, large, sliced thinly
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 10 whole cashews or almonds, soaked in water
  • 1 cup yogurt plain, reduced fat

Optional Ingredients

  • 2 green chilies or Serrano or jalapeno pepper
  • chicken stock


  • ground spices or garam masala
  • fresh cilantro
  • slivered ginger optional
  • rose water or kewra water optional
  • ghee optional


Ground Spices

  • Grind all the spices in a nut or spice grinder and set it aside. It is best to use homemade spice blend. Tip: You may use a good ready made garam masala, but I cannot guarantee the same taste as standard spices.

Marinate Chicken

  • Combine the cut and clean chicken with ginger garlic, chili powder, salt and set it aside to marinate about 30 minutes.Tip: Use chicken on bone, such as thighs, leg quarters or whole chicken. If you prefer to use boneless, then use boneless chicken thigh meat.

Chicken Korma

  • Heat the oil in a wide thick bottom cooking pot at medium high.
  • Add thinly sliced onions (you may use a mandolin slicer at 7.5 mm setting). Sauté the onions until light golden brown and they start crisping up. This may take about 20 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon separate the sauteed onions from the oil and set it aside in a plate.
  • Add the bay leaves and sauté in the same oil for minute.
  • Then add the marinated chicken and sauté for a few minutes until browned a little and the raw ginger garlic flavor is gone; followed by adding 2/3rd of the ground spices (or garam masala), ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric. Keep stirring the chicken with the spices.
  • Meanwhile grind the drained cashews (or almonds) with a little bit of yogurt in a food processor at high speed until the nuts start to get ground. Add remaining yogurt and grind it all for few minutes until it forms a smooth paste. Tip: Make sure to grind the cashews only with a small amount of yogurt at first before adding the rest of the yogurt. This will ensure a smoother paste. If you are using a vitamix then you can blend it all at once.
  • Transfer about 2/3 rd of the cashew-yogurt mixture to the cooking pot and stir with the chicken. Let it simmer while the yogurt cooks with the spices. Make sure to stir once in a while.
  • Process the remaining cashew-yogurt paste with the sautéed onions until it is a coarse mixture. Tip: Preferably do not grind the mixture to a very fine paste.
  • Add the onion-cashew-yogurt mixture to the chicken, combine everything and simmer. Keep stirring every few minutes. Tip: You can add any slit green chilies or peppers if you wish. Remove the seeds if you want to lower the heat. Jalapenos are milder than Serrano peppers. And green chilies may vary in heat depending on the variety.
  • Once you start seeing some oil separate, then add 1/2 to 3/4 cup water or stock. Raise the heat to medium high and when the korma starts bubbling, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 45 minutes or an hour until the chicken is well done.
  • The chicken will release its own juices. But add water as needed to give a rich and thick gravy. When the chicken is almost done, add the remaining garam masala, some cilantro and stir it in.
  • While the chicken korma is simmering, towards the end, oil will separate and surface on the top. The korma should be rich, thick but flowing consistency, with some red colored oil surfaced on the top. Chicken should be well done.

Garnish and Serve

  • If you prefer, add 2 teaspoons of rose water, which will surprisingly give a smoky flavor. Drizzle 1 tablespoon ghee and garnish with slivered ginger, if you wish.
  • Serve the chicken korma with naan or rice.



  1. DAIRY FREE OPTION: Use coconut milk and/or cream instead of dairy yogurt.
  2. NUT FREE OPTION: You may use white poppy seeds or musk melon seeds instead of cashews or almonds.
  3. CRISP FRIED ONIONS: If you already have some homemade crisp fried onions, then you can use that instead of sautéing the onions.
  4. OIL: I use 3 tablespoons of oil to have adequate for sautéing the onions, but you can remove one tablespoon (or more) of oil either after sautéing onions, or at the end of cooking the korma, when the oil surfaces on top. That helps lower the unnecessary calories, while allowing you to use the oil as vehicle for effective cooking.
  5. KASHMIRI CHILI POWDER: is milder than regular chili powder but has a brighter red color. A suitable replacement would be to use 2/3rd cayenne pepper with 1/3rd paprika.
  6. GINGER GARLIC PASTE: Always grind your own at home - it makes a world of difference. Process equal amounts of peeled fresh ginger and garlic at high speed until it forms a smooth paste. Use just enough water as needed while grinding it down. Stir in a little bit of salt and oil. Store it in a glass jar and refrigerate. Or divide it into ice cube trays and freeze it for later use.
  7. CHICKEN STOCK: Use chicken stock if possible. That will also give a nice silky smooth thickness to the korma.
  8. Nutrition facts adjusted after skimming off 1 tablespoon oil from the surface of the served korma.


Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 418mg | Potassium: 306mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 440IU | Vitamin C: 5.4mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 2mg