Can’t handle the fiery hot Indian curry? No problem. Try slow cooker chicken korma, a mild curry that even kids.
Chicken korma is rich and creamy, cooked with plenty of yogurts, and heavily scented with expensive spices. Once, it was the noble dish worthy for the Mughal emperors, graced the banquet tables of the imperial Mughal court. Now, you can enjoy this delicious traditional dish in your comfy home.
Below is my chicken korma recipe, primarily based on an authentic Indian recipe with some Malaysian influence.
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History and origin
Korma originated from the Turkish word kavurmais, which means ‘cooked meat.’ It, also spelled as Khurma or Kurma, is considered one of the less spicy versions of curry. It originated in Persia and was brought into India by the Mughal Empire in the sixteenth century.
Korma can be mildly spiced or fiery hot. You may use lamb, chicken, or beef. Some kormas combine meat with vegetables such as spinach and turnips. You can, of course, add extra chilies to cook if you like. My recipe is relatively mild, but you can add more chili to make it spicier.
Cooking chicken korma is easy, but you must take a few steps to get it right. Below is a detailed explanation of how it is prepared.
How to cook Chicken Korma- the step-by-step explanation.
1. Marinate the chicken
Bone-in and skin-on chicken is most suitable for cooking curries, such as korma chicken. Chicken thighs are my choice, but you can use chicken breast if you prefer boneless.
Marinate the chicken with ground turmeric, plain yogurt, ginger, garlic, garam masala, chili powder, and salt. I prefer to add ALL the salt required for the dish to marinate the chicken so that the inner part of the chicken will be well-seasoned. Part of the salt from the marinade will mix into the gravy, so there is no worry that the chicken will be too salty. Marinate it for at least two hours.
The marinated chicken pieces can be either grilled or shallow fried. I prefer to pre-fry the chicken in the same pan for roasting the spices to save the time of setting up the grill.
2. Prepare the onion and yogurt paste (the korma sauce)
Saute the onion
Cut the onion into thin slices. Separate the onion to become individual pieces.
Saute the onion over medium beat until golden brown with some ghee. The chicken korma will taste bitter if the onion is burned with too much heat. Therefore, you need to keep the flame small and be patient. Browned onion gives a pleasant aroma to the chicken.
Remove the onion and ghee once it has turned golden brown. You can substitute ghee with butter if you only cook Indian cuisine occasionally. Otherwise, get the ghee and cook it the authentic way.
Blend the korma curry paste
Once the onion is cooled, Put the onion into the food processor with the cashew nuts and plain yogurt. Blend until it forms a paste. Set aside the chicken korma paste for later use. You can add little bit of water to make it easier to blend effectively.
The cashew nuts will give a nutty flavor to the gravy, which also acts as a thickener to produce a creamy sauce. You can use a mix of ground almonds and cashews. There are many different recipes for korma chicken in India, which vary from region to region. Both nuts are commonly used in traditional recipes.
Always use plain yogurt for this recipe. Flavored yogurt can alter the taste of the korma chicken. We do not need the additional flavor from these yogurts. This recipe’s array of spices and herbs is enough to keep you drooling!
3. Roast the spices
Roast the dry, whole spices to create a greater depth of aroma and robustness. This is similar to toast a slice of bread, which changes the flavor and creates a pleasant aroma. Roasted spices taste different from the unroasted ones and are much better!
Put the dry spices (clove, cardamom, cumin seeds, and cinnamon stick.) in a frying pan. It should not be too hot, as the spices will burn, leaving a bitter taste behind.
When you smell the aroma of the spices and the color starts to darken, it should be ready to use.
4. Braise the chicken
Once the whole spices are roasted, add the marinated chicken, black pepper, bay leaf, chili, ground coriander, and pan-fried over low heat. Add the onion paste. After that, add some water and mix well. You may partially substitute plain water with chicken stock to enhance the flavor.
The chicken is braised in a small amount of water and yogurt, and the juice exudes after cooking for some time. Keep the heat low, as the yogurt can burn quickly. Put the lid on so the chicken will be cooked by the steam created, or it will be difficult to cook over low heat with little liquid.
Open the lid every 5 minutes to stir it, as it sticks to the pan easily. You can also use a non-stick pan to prevent the chicken korma from sticking.
Slow cooker chicken korma recipe: If you use an Instant Pot or any other slow cooker, place the chicken with all the spics, a small amount of water, and yogurt into the slow cooker bowl. The slow cooker version required less water than a pot over the stovetop. This recipe is particularly suitable for a slow cooker, as slow cooking is the key to producing tender chicken.
5. Finish with some fresh herbs and spices
It takes about twenty minutes for the chicken to become fully cooked. Add some garam masala and freshly chopped coriander leaves when it is done.
6. To serve
Chicken korma is best served with biryani rice or jeera rice. Soaking the gravy with Indian flatbreads such as naan bread, paratha, or chapati is also a great joy.
Bonus step: Variations
Tomato and chili.
You can add one finely chopped tomato to replace the water to cook the chicken. Alternatively, use tomato paste or tomato puréeto replace fresh tomato.
You may also want to add red chili instead of two small green chilies. There is no fixed rule on how to cook chicken korma. Thus, you can improvise the recipe the way that you like. I prefer to cook the korma chicken without red chili and tomato because most red curries look alike. The color of this recipe is not even close to red, and the tone-down hotness also means everyone will appreciate it.
You can substitute the yogurt with heavy cream or coconut cream. Many cooks are using either one of them or a combination. These are all acceptable variations. Stick to natural yogurt if you want the truly authentic flavor.
Add shredded coconuts to the onion/yogurt paste in some korma recipe. Shredded coconut is frequently used in Asian dishes. Add some if you like the coconut flavor,
Cashew nuts and almonds are both commonly used nuts in Indian cooking. They render a smooth and creamy texture to the korma chicken. Nuts also help to thicken the gravy.
I use the common herbs and spices to prepare korma chicken in this recipe. Some chefs may prefer otherwise or want to add local flavor to the korma. For example, to include star anise and poppy seeds as well. A small amount of Malaysian meat curry powder is added to the korma chicken in Malaysia.
The Korma Chicken Recipe
(A) To marinate the chicken
- 1 kg chicken, (bone-in, skin-on, cut into large chunks
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 5 tbsps plain yogurt
- 2 tsp ginger, minced
- 2 tsp garlic, minced
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp chili powder, more if you want it hotter
- 1 tbsp salt
(B )To make the paste for frying
(C) Ingredients need to pan-fry briefly
(D) To cook the chicken
- Marinate chicken with the rest of the ingredients in (A). Set aside for 30 mins.
- Heat up some ghee a pan. Add the sliced onions and stir-fry over low heat until golden brown. Remove and let it cools.
- Blend all the ingredients in (B) until it becomes a paste.
- Place all the ingredients in (C) in a pan. Lightly roast them over low heat until aromatic.
- Add the marinated chicken, black pepper, bay leaf, chili, coriander powder and pan-fried over low heat. Add the onion paste. Mix well.
- Add the water. Simmer over low heat with the lid on until the chicken pieces are cooked. Open the lids to stir occasionally to avoid the food pieces from sticking to the pan.
- Cook until the liquid is reduced to a gravy,
- Add the garam masala.
- Garnish with coriander leaves.
- Serve with plain basmati rice, naan, roti or paratha.
Note: It can also be a slow cooker chicken korma recipe. Please refer to the text above.
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GreenPan Rio 5QT Ceramic Non-Stick Covered Skillet with Helper Handle, Black - CW000058-003
Hamilton Beach 70725A 12-Cup Stack & Snap Food Processor and Vegetable Chopper Black
Original Grass-Fed Ghee by 4th & Heart, 16 Ounce, Pasture Raised, Non-GMO, Lactose Free, Certified Paleo, Keto-Friendly
Dannon All Natural Quart Plain Nonfat Yogurt, 32 Ounce -- 6 per case.
Serving Size:4 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 2483Sodium: 8000mgCarbohydrates: 72gSugar: 28gProtein: 308g