Chicken Korma

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This is a hidden gem in Indian cuisine. Once you try it, you’ll wonder why it’s not more popular outside of India.

We love making this dish because the flavors are so rich and deep. Make the garam masala from scratch (it’s easier than you would think) and you won’t believe how scrumptious this dish is. We also give you tips on making perfectly prepared basmati rice every single time. This is Indian food at its very best!

An overhead view of two white bowls filled with a serving of chicken korma next to a pile of basmati rice with small bowls of sliced almonds and chopped cilantro nearby.

How To Make Chicken Korma


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The Ingredients You Will Need

Many of the ingredients for this dish are easy to find. However, for the most authentic taste and flavor, you may want to make a trip to your local Indian market. Or, order online. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:

For the Marinade

Chicken – Boneless, skinless thighs or breasts work great. We prefer thighs.
Yogurt – Indian dahi (curd/yogurt) is traditional, but plain Greek yogurt (whole milk) will work just fine.
Chili powder – Kashmiri is traditional and can be found at Indian markets or online. Regular chili powder is a suitable substitute.
Garam masalaHomemade is best, but purchased is just fine. It can be found in the gourmet spice section of most supermarkets, or online.

For the Paste

Ghee – Clarified butter found in the dairy section of most well-stocked supermarkets, Indian markets, or online. Unsalted butter is a fine substitute.
Onions – Red or white, sliced.
Nuts – Cashews or almonds. We prefer cashews or a combination of the two.
Ginger-garlic paste – Found at Indian markets or online. Garlic paste can be found in most supermarkets and is a suitable substitute.
Yogurt – Indian dahi (curd/yogurt) or whole milk plain yogurt.

For the Sauce

Ghee – Clarified butter or plain unsalted butter.
Bay leaf – Indian bay leaf, if possible. Or, just regular bay leaves, dried or fresh.
Cinnamon stick – Preferably Ceylon, found at Indian markets. Or, just a regular cinnamon stick.
Spices – Whole cloves, cardamom pods, and black peppercorns. All are found in the spice section of most well-stocked supermarkets.
Seasonings – Salt, garam masala, coriander powder, and Kashmiri chili powder (see above).

EXPERT TIP: Be sure to purée the onions and nuts mixture until smooth and silky. You may need to scrape down the sides of the blender a couple of imes. Purée for about 1 minute.

Four image with the first being red onion strips cooking in a pot, then chicken and bay leaf in the pot, then a puréed nut and onion going over the chicken, and then cream being poured into the mixture.

Tips for Making Perfect Chicken Korma

Don’t Skimp on the Spices and Aromatics – Korma is known for having a strong depth of flavor. Much of this comes from the spices and aromatics. It may be worth a trip to your local Indian market. Check for freshness.

Don’t Overcook the Chicken – After allowing the chicken to rest in the marinade for at least 30 minutes, it’s time to cook it. Only cook for about 15 minutes over medium-high heat before adding the paste and sauce. The simmering will keep the chicken chunks very tender.

Homemade Garam Masala is Best – You’ll still have a delicious dish with purchased garam masala. But, there really is a difference when it’s made fresh, from scratch. It’s not hard to prepare and makes a big difference!

Serve with Quality Aged Basmati Rice – See the notes on how to prepare perfect basmati rice. If going to the Indian market, seek out quality aged basmati. This dish is also wonderful served with Indian naan or Roti.

A close-up view of a small glass jar filled with freshly ground garam masala next to a cutting board topped with various spices.

How To Serve

Chicken Korma is typically served with perfectly cooked basmati rice and/or naan.

How to Make Perfect Basmati Rice:

  1. Add 1 cup of aged basmati rice to the bowl and cover it with water. Swish the rice around for a minute, then hold the rice back with your hand as you pour off the water.
  2. Do this two more times and then dump the rice into a colander in the sink.
  3. Bring two cups of water with 1 tbsp ghee, 1 tsp salt, and cardamom pods (if desired) to a boil.
  4. Add the prepared rice to the boiling water. Cover and turn the heat to low.
  5. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. Fluff with a fork and serve.

EXPERT TIP: We find adding cream to the sauce adds a nice luxuriousness to the texture of the sauce, but it’s not always included in traditional korma, especially in the Northern Indian versions. Southern Indian korma often includes coconut milk, which is a wonderful addition, too.

An overhead view of a black pot filled with chicken korma with a orange checkered napkin and wooden spoon nearby.

Other Indian Recipes to Try

We only have a handful of Indian recipes on the blog, but we will be adding more and more in the coming months. Here is a collection of our all-time favorites:

Authentic Chicken Curry
Creamy Chicken Tikka Masala
Instant Pot Butter Chicken
Homemade Curry Powder
Homemade Garam Masala

These are all fantastic and always a big hit with friends and family when we serve it. This dish right here is one of our all-time favorite, and we are certain you and your family will love it, too: Take a look!

A person using a silver fork to lift up a helping of chicken korma mixed with basmati rice over a bowl of the same.

Ready to make amazing Indian cuisine in the comfort of your very own home? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

An overhead view of a black pot filled with chicken korma with a orange checkered napkin nearby.

Chicken Korma

Chicken Korma is a staple in Indian cuisine, but not as well known outside of India. It is truly a hidden gem. The flavor is bold and comforting. Making the garam masala from scratch is easy and brings the dish to the next level!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: best chicken korm recipe, how to make authentic korma, Indian recipes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 352kcal


  • 1 Large pot


For the Marinade

  • lbs chicken thighs boneless, skinless
  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt preferably Indian dahi (curd/yogurt)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala

For the Paste

  • ¼ cup ghee
  • 2 medium red onions peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup cashews roasted, unsalted
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • cup plain yogurt preferably Indian dahi (yogurt)

For the Sauce

  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 bay leaf preferably Indian bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • cup hot water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
  • heavy cream or half and half

For Serving

  • Basmati rice
  • cilantro chopped for garnish, optional
  • almonds sliced and toasted, for garnish, optional


Marinate the Chicken

  • Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and add the yogurt, salt, Kashmiri powder, and garam masala. Use your hands or two wooden spatulas to stir everything together until the chicken is completely coated. Set aside.
    1½ lbs chicken thighs, 3 tbsp plain yogurt, ½ tsp salt, 1 tbsp Kashmiri chili powder, 1 tsp garam masala

Make the Paste

  • Heat the ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat.
    ¼ cup ghee
  • Add the onions with a sprinkle of salt. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and starting to caramelize, about 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool briefly.
    2 medium red onions
  • Place the onions, cashews, ginger-garlic paste, and yogurt into a blender and purée until smooth and silky, about 1 minute. Check the consistency - it should be similar to a somewhat thin gravy. Add about 1/2 cup of water and purée again. Set aside.
    ½ cup cashews, 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste, ⅓ cup plain yogurt

Make the Korma

  • In the same pan that you cooked the onions, add 2 more tbsp of ghee over medium heat. Once melted, add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom, and peppercorns. Let simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
    2 tbsp ghee, 1 bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick, 10 whole cloves, 5 green cardamom pods, 10 whole black peppercorns
  • Add the chicken and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes (the chicken won't be fully cooked at this point).
  • Add the onion/cashew paste to the pot. Swish the hot water in the blender (to clean the insides somewhat) and pour into the pot. Stir in the salt, garam masala, coriander, and Kashmiri. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10 minutes.
    ⅓ cup hot water, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
  • Remove the lid and stir in the cream. Cover, and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, but still very tender.
    ⅓ heavy cream
  • Serve at once with prepared basmati rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro and toasted almond slices, if desired.
    Basmati rice, cilantro chopped, almonds


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel
See the blog post for suitable substitutions for some of the spices and aromatics. 
Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The korma can be frozen for several months. 


Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 518mg | Potassium: 344mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 96IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!


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