If you love desi Indian cuisine, but feel a little intimidated making it – this homestyle recipe for chicken korma is for you. The entire korma sauce is prepped in the blender in minutes to make an easy, healthy chicken “curry in a hurry.” Pieces of chicken breast are sauteed in a dash of olive oil and simmered in a simple thick and creamy sauce made with onions, garlic, ginger, plain yogurt and cashew nuts—mildly spiced with cumin, cardamom garam masala and fresh cilantro. The best part? It’s on your table in 25 minutes! Watch the video to learn how to make the ultimate – and easiest – Indian chicken korma.

a clay pot with creamy chicken korma garnished with cilantro on a round rustic tray with a bunch of cilantro on the side
A chicken recipe – on your table in 25 minutes!

This week has been about making easy and healthy recipes, like Pasta BakeSpicy Veg Noodles and Kale and Quinoa Salad – and now we’re adding Chicken Korma to the list. A traditional Indian dish, kormas are usually fragrant with spices such as cardamom pods, cloves, garlic and ginger. The ingredients depend on your preference but typically you’ll find that it’s a mix of meat (chicken in this case) and spices – most of which you can buy at a regular supermarket.

This dish is so easy to cook (especially if you use a blender or food processor), and it tastes amazing, particularly with rice or quinoa as the main side. Though it takes around 25 minutes to make, most of that time is spent waiting for the chicken to be cooked through.

A korma dish is traditionally cooked in a sauce made with cream and butter, I’ve skipped this and used cashew nuts and yogurt to give it an added nutritional boost.

close up photo of a clay pot with chicken korma topped with toasted cashew nuts
A korma recipe that’s healthy, hearty and so easy to make.

Cashew nuts are rich in minerals (for example, magnesium) and unsaturated fats, including omega-rich alpha-linolenic acid. In fact, compared to other common nuts, cashews have the highest omega-3 fatty acid content.

Nuts, with their moist texture and rich flavour, trickle into the territory of mainstay ingredients. Rich in nuts’ signature unsaturated fatty acids and other bioactive compounds, these seeds can do wonders for health: they offer a sizeable amount of beneficial proteins and fibre along with minerals such as magnesium; they are also high in phytosterols (plant compounds), which can help lower cholesterol.

Epidemiologic studies have shown that eating nuts regularly reduces the risk of heart disease and gallstones for both males and females, as well as the risk of diabetes in women. Some limited evidence also shows benefits on high blood pressure, cancer rates, inflammation, vascular reactivity (the ability to regulate blood flow), and oxidative stress. Interventional findings from randomized trials confirm the positive effects of nuts on vascular health and blood pressure.

a clay pot with creamy chicken korma garnished with cilantro on a round rustic tray with a bunch of cilantro on the side
Here’s an easy chicken korma recipe that will please your taste buds!

The ancient Greeks and Romans were aware of this nut’s healing properties, they used to call it “the food for forgetfulness” because it was believed that a diet rich in nuts could help them recover from amnesia.

What is Indian chicken korma?

Chicken korma is a chicken dish where the chicken is cooked in a curry sauce with heavy cream, coconut milk and plenty of spices.

The chicken is simmered in this sauce until it’s cooked through and tender.

Korma recipes can vary depending on the region where they come from, but most versions include almonds, coriander leaves (cilantro), ginger root, garlic cloves, yogurt or Greek yogurt and plenty of spices like cardamom, turmeric, cumin and garam masala.

In some recipes, the chicken is cooked with chopped tomato or grated carrot to make the sauce richer but these are often omitted in authentic dishes.

Interestingly, the dish gets its name from two Persian words ‘korma’ meaning pounded spices mixed with yogurt and ‘gosht’ meaning meat.

Korma recipes are some of the most popular chicken dishes around and they can be made with chicken, lamb or even vegetables like cauliflower.

The spices in korma make it ideal for serving as a side dish but you could also serve it as a main – with rice, naan bread or naan to soak up the sauce.

Ingredients

Infographic showing pictures of the ingredients needed to make chicken korma - with accompanying labels
You won’t believe how easy it is to make this healthy and delicious meal from scratch.
  • Chicken – I like to use chicken breast that is cut into small chunks, sauteed and then simmered on low to medium heat until tender. Consider purchasing whole breasts which are cheaper than ‘already cut.’ Also, I find that most butchers and grocery stores cut chicken breasts into different-sized pieces, so they cook unevenly. To avoid this, I cut my chicken breast into similar-sized pieces before cooking.
  • Spices – This recipe for simple chicken korma doesn’t require a complicated and expensive spice list. I like to use only a few fragrant spices – cumin, cardamom and garam masala (a mixture of ground spices: cumin seed, cloves, cinnamon and peppercorn). That way, you don’t have to worry about a hefty list of powdered and whole spices like bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, ground coriander, and red chilli.
  • Yogurt and cashew nuts – I use plain yogurt along with unsalted unroasted cashews to give the korma its unique flavour and texture characteristics.
  • Onions – white onions that are cut into quarters because the blender does the work to blitz them. Onions help to thicken the chicken korma whilst bringing umami and subtle sweetness.
  • Garlic and ginger – Fresh is best, skin removed and thrown into the blender to make the chicken korma sauce.
  • Green chilli or jalapeno – I like to add 1-2 green chillies or jalapenos because it gives the chicken korma a bit of heat.
  • Cilantro – The fresher, the better! It not only adds a lovely slight green hue but also provides that fresh and sharp flavour.

Instructions: How to make it

step by step preparation of how to make chicken korma in a blender on the stove top
How to make chicken korma – step by step
  1. In a blender or food processor add yogurt, cashew nuts, onions, garlic, ginger, cardamom, salt and green chilli (optional) and blend until creamy. Set the korma sauce aside (Images 1-6).
  2. In a large pan, add the chicken and saute for a couple of minutes on medium-high heat (Image 7).
  3. Reduce the heat to low and pour the korma sauce over the chicken (Image 8). Stir, cover to tightly seal (Image 9) and cook for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through – stirring occasionally so that the chicken doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add a dash of water, if needed but not too much.
  4. Add chopped cilantro, and garam masala (Image 10) and then serve with rice, quinoa, roti, paratha or naan. A garnish of toasted cashews is optional!

Substitutions

  • Coconut yogurt makes a great substitute for regular plain yogurt to create a dairy-free chicken korma recipe. There are several ways that you can thicken the sauce, one of which is by adding cashews with cold water. Another option would be to add a tablespoon of rice flour with water and blend that along with the other ingredients.
  • Instead of chicken breast, you can use beef or lamb cubes or mince meat, chicken thighs or even vegan ingredients like cauliflower or chickpeas.
  • You could also use paneer to create a vegetarian korma.
  • Use shallots instead of onions or for an extra layer of flavour try adding kalonji (onion) seeds

Variations

  • Try making a 100% vegan variation with coconut milk, cashews, mushrooms and peas.
  • For an additional protein kick and different flavour profile, throw in a handful of peanuts.
  • Add 1/2 to 3/4 cups of diced tomatoes for a richer, more tomatoey flavour.

Equipment

  • A good-quality nonstick pan or pot
a clay pot with creamy chicken korma garnished with cilantro on a round rustic tray with a bunch of cilantro on the side and a traditional Indian scarf on the side - flatlay
This korma recipe is the perfect recipe for a lazy day.

Storage and Food Safety

In order to keep yourself safe from foodborne illness, here are some things to bear in mind:

  • Refrigerate the finished korma in an airtight container as soon as it has cooled down. The “time to refrigerate” varies, but as a general rule, allow 1-2 hours for cooling before refrigerating.
  • This chicken korma keeps well in the refrigerator for five days.
  • When reheating leftover chicken, be sure to add a dash of water. This will help keep the meat moist as it heats up.
  • This dish may be frozen for up to 1 month in an airtight container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating and consuming.
  • Not all spices and spice mixes are gluten-free. Watch out for any possible traces of gluten if you have coeliac disease.

Top Tips

  1. Slice chicken breasts into small similar-sized pieces so they cook evenly.
  2. Add more garam masala for an added flavour boost.
  3. Simmer on low to medium heat, stirring frequently to make sure the korma sauce does not dry out too much and stick to the bottom of the pan.
  4. To create a creamy sauce, blend the ingredients thoroughly.
  5. Store-bought ginger garlic paste often contains preservatives that make the dish less flavorful. Using fresh ingredients such as fresh garlic, ginger, and cilantro will produce a more authentic taste.

Frequency Asked Questions

a close up image of a clay pot with chicken korma topped with toasted cashews
Korma is a popular Indian dish and this recipe couldn’t be easier.

What is korma sauce made of?

Traditional chicken korma recipes often call for yogurt or cream, but some recipes create a mixture of yogurt and cashew nuts along with a variety of spices that typically include cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. For added flavour, chicken korma is also often cooked with vegetables such as onions, tomatoes and garlic.

What are the best vegetables to use in chicken korma?

You can choose from a wide variety of fresh and frozen vegetables like potatoes (white or sweet), peas, green beans, carrots or other root veggies to add to your korma.

Is chicken korma very hot?

It’s not too hot, but there is a hint of spice with the chilli. For those who don’t want this heat, you can omit this to help cut down on some of the spicinesses. The yogurt and cashew nuts help to tone down the heat.

What is the difference between korma and butter chicken?

The only real difference between chicken korma and butter chicken is the use of yogurt in a chicken korma. The recipe for butter chicken uses a light tomato cream sauce, while chicken korma has more of a yellow hue to it due to its heavy dairy content. Chicken korma is also thicker than butter chicken, and the sauce has a much creamier texture. The spices are somewhat similar but the taste is quite different.

Is chicken korma healthy?

A healthy chicken curry recipe really depends on the ingredients you use, other foods on your plate along with your definition of “healthy.” This is pretty relative and subjective.

Though chicken korma is not typically considered a healthy dish – because of its high saturated fat content – you can certainly switch up or reduce the amount of certain ingredients. For example, in this chicken korma recipe, I have used extra virgin olive, yogurt and nuts to increase its nutritional value.

Plus, add a side of vegetables or accompany the dish with a salad to create a balanced meal and take in an assortment of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

What is the difference between Pasanda and korma?

The main difference between chicken Pasanda and korma is that chicken Pasanda is more heavily spiced. The spices used in chicken korma are similar to those found in chicken tikka masala, with the addition of cardamom and a hint of cinnamon.

In India, chicken korma is considered to be milder and traditionally cooked with just onions, garlic, ginger, bay leaves and other traditional Indian spices like coriander seeds. While chicken Pasanda has an orange-red colour from the use of paprika and turmeric, chicken korma has lighter orange-yellow colour.

Nutrition Information:

A serving of this chicken korma recipe is:

  • A rich source of protein
  • A good source of iron
  • A good source of vitamin C
  • A good source of calcium

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet.

What’s your go-to curry when you fancy Indian food? Let me know in the comments below!

If you try this recipe, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Can’t wait to see your photos. 

Desi~liciously Yours, Shahzadi

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a clay pot with creamy chicken korma garnished with cilantro and topped with cashews on a round rustic tray with a bunch of cilantro on the side
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Get the Recipe:

25-Minute Chicken Korma (Dairy Free!)

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Yield: 5 servings
If you love Indian cuisine, but feel a little intimidating making it – this homestyle recipe for chicken korma is for you. For convenience, the entire korma sauce is prepped in the blender in minutes to make an easy, healthy and delicious dish. Pieces of chicken breast are sauteed in a dash of olive oil and simmered in a simple thick and creamy sauce made with onions, garlic, ginger, plain yogurt and cashew nuts—that's mildly spiced with cumin, cardamom garam masala and fresh cilantro. The best part? It's on your table in 25 minutes!

Ingredients
 

  • 650 g chicken breast, 3 large breast, cut into even-sized small chunks
  • 1 cup yogurt, plain, 2% fat, Are fermented foods good for gut health?
  • 2 onions, small, cut into quarters
  • ¼ cup cashew nuts, plain, unsalted
  • 4 garlic, cloves, peeled
  • 2 inch ginger, fresh, peeled
  • 3 tsp cumin, powder
  • 5 cardamom, green, seeds only
  • 1 green chilli, or jalapeno, washed, stem removed
  • ¾ tsp salt, sea salt
  • ½ cup cilantro, washed, leaves and stems, finely chopped for garnish
  • 1 tsp garam masala

Instructions
 

  • In a blender or food processor add yogurt, cashew nuts, onions, garlic, ginger, cardamom, salt and green chilli (optional) and blend until creamy. Set the korma sauce aside.
  • In a large pan, add the chicken and saute for a couple of minutes on medium-high heat.
  • Reduce the heat to low and pour the korma sauce over the chicken. Stir, cover to tightly seal and cook for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through – stirring occasionally so that the chicken doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add more water if needed but not too much.
  • Add chopped cilantro, and garam masala and then serve with rice, quinoa, roti, paratha or naan. Toasted cashews on tip are optional!

Notes

  1. Slice chicken breast into small similar-sized pieces so they cook evenly.
  2. Add more garam masala for an added flavour boost.
  3. Simmer on low to medium heat, stirring frequently to make sure the korma sauce does not dry out too much and stick to the bottom of the pan.
  4. To create a creamy sauce, blend the ingredients thoroughly.
  5. Store-bought garlic and ginger pastes often contain preservatives that make the dish less flavorful. Using fresh ingredients such as fresh garlic, ginger, and cilantro will produce a more authentic taste.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 251kcal (13%)Carbohydrates: 12g (4%)Protein: 32g (64%)Fat: 8g (12%)Saturated Fat: 2g (10%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 90mg (30%)Sodium: 559mg (23%)Potassium: 737mg (21%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 5g (6%)Vitamin A: 212IU (4%)Vitamin C: 8mg (10%)Calcium: 103mg (10%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Keep in mind that the nutritional values provided are approximations and suggestions. This nutrition facts table cannot account for your individual needs. Your body — including your hunger and satiety cues — change daily. It’s perfectly fine to eat more or less on different days. Instead of letting food guilt take over, consider mindful eating.

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cuisine: Desi, Indian, pakistani
Course: Main
Did you make this recipe?Mention @desiliciousrd on Instagram or tag #desiliciousrd.