Loaded with flavor, Chicken Korma Curry is a traditional Indian dish that is so creamy. Simply marinate boneless chicken thighs in a blend of spices, cashews, and almonds, then cook with veggies for a healthy dinner. Skip the takeout with this surprisingly simple recipe, perfect for a busy weeknight meal.
The BEST Chicken Korma Recipe
I have a little bit of a guilty pleasure when it comes to ordering takeout.
There is one of the BEST Indian food restaurants just a few miles from me—the Clay Put here in Austin. It is OUT. OF. THIS. WORLD. DELICIOUS. It has been the inspiration behind the Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala and now this chicken korma recipe.
After many, many taste tests from Clay Pit, and numerous rounds of recipe testing, I bring to you the BEST chicken korma recipe you have ever tasted! (Bold statement, I know! But trust me, it’s THAT good.)
There is just something about lathering chicken in that flavorful, nutty paste, marinating and cooking it, then pouring it over a bowl full of rice to enjoy.
Don’t be intimidated… this recipe is easier than you might think!
What is Korma Sauce Made Of?
Indian korma is a thick sauce that typically consists of almonds or cashews that have been blended together with a mix of Indian spices and cream, yogurt, or coconut milk. While some recipes call for tomatoes or tomato paste, it is not always included in a traditional korma recipe.
It is most commonly served with a protein over a bed of rice.
The basic ingredients you need to make this easy chicken korma recipe include:
- Chicken. Boneless skinless thighs work best in this chicken korma recipe. The dark meat found in chicken thighs contains slightly more fat, which gives them their natural juiciness and tenderness. However, if you are unable to find boneless chicken thighs, opt for boneless skinless breasts or bone-in thighs.
- Spices. Garam masala is the main ingredient in the spice blend and HUGELY important. Do not try to swap this out for anything. Cardamon might be harder to find, so you can leave it out or add another ¼ teaspoon coriander. Other spices needed are turmeric, coriander, and nutmeg (which can be swapped for cinnamon if needed.)
- Raw nuts. Both almonds and cashews are used in this recipe. However, feel free to leave one out and sub with extra of the other if there is an allergy.
- Coconut. Make sure to get unsweetened, and not the sweetened variety. Flakes or shredded coconut both work great!
- Sugar. Totally optional and can be left out if on a Whole30 or Paleo diet. You can also substitute coconut sugar on a Paleo diet.
- Peppers. In addition to a bell pepper, either jalapeño or cayenne can be used. Or, you can leave this out if you prefer your curry at a 0/5 on a spice scale.
- Garlic. Minced garlic adds so much flavor to this dish.
- Lemon Juice. Opt for fresh-squeezed for the best results.
- Coconut milk. You can also use heavy cream or half-and-half for a more authentic version.
- Ginger. Ginger paste is really easy to use and is just as good as fresh ginger in this recipe!
How to Make Chicken Korma
For this easy recipe, follow these basic steps when making chicken korma curry from scratch:
Prepare the Veggies
While it might seem like an unnecessary step in making the sauce, cutting up these ingredients before adding them to the blender helps break them down. It also ensures there are no larger chunks throughout.
Combine the Spices
In a small bowl, use a whisk to thoroughly blend all of the spices.
Make the Korma Sauce
Add the spices, raw cashews, raw almonds, unsweetened coconut, sugar, jalapeño pepper, garlic, and lemon juice to a large blender or food processor.
Pulse about 10 times, then continue to process for 10-20 seconds. The sauce will form a paste.
Slowly pour in ¾ cup of the coconut milk until the korma paste becomes a thick sauce. You can either immediately marinate the chicken thighs or store the korma sauce in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Marinate the Chicken
Cut the boneless, skinless chicken thighs into 1-inch, bite-sized pieces. Be sure to use a very sharp knife.
Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the homemade korma sauce over them.
Allow this mixture to sit for 15-20 minutes.
Cook the Onion and Bell Pepper
Over medium heat, cook the onion and bell pepper in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil for 5 to 7 minutes. Sauté until the onions start to brown, which gives them an extra punch of flavor.
Add the Chicken
Pour another 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan, and then add the marinated chicken. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, still over medium heat.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Allow the chicken and veggies to cook for another 12 to 15 minutes.
The dish is done when the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165℉.
Stir in remaining coconut milk until the curry is to your desired consistency.
If you are on a low-carb, Whole30, or Paleo diet, serve the chicken korma curry over cauliflower rice. If not, serve the chicken korma over basmati rice with a sprinkle of cilantro and chopped cashews.
Meal Prep and Storage
- How to prep ahead: You can easily make the korma curry marinade and sauce a couple of days ahead of time. Simply store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
- How to store: Keep leftover chicken korma in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.
- How to freeze: You can freeze cooked korma curry chicken in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 to 4 months. Alternately, you can make the sauce and freeze it separately for up to 9 to 12 months.
- How to reheat: Indian curries not only reheat well, but actually taste BETTER as leftovers. The best way to reheat this chicken korma recipe is to add it back into a large skillet, cover, and simmer over medium-low heat until heated through, stirring occasionally. This usually takes between 5-10 minutes.
What is the difference between chicken korma and chicken curry?
Often, you will see these terms used together or sometimes interchangeably. Korma is a mild curry, usually with a strong coriander flavor and served with milk to make a creamy consistency. Curry can refer to many types of dishes, most often from southern Asia.
What is korma curry made of?
There is not one way to define this dish. Generally, it refers to a Mughlai dish with marinated meat or vegetables in a creamy, spicy sauce with a nutty base, usually from almonds or cashews.
Is korma curry hot?
Because this recipe is made with coriander, nuts, and a milk or yogurt base, it is one of the mildest curries available.
Expert Tips and Tricks
- Change it up. You can use chicken breasts or even pork or shrimp in this recipe.
- Add some vitamins. You can increase the nutritional value of this dish by including extra veggies, like carrots or peas.
- Complete it. Serve this korma over basmati rice or cauliflower rice for a low-carb option.
- Choose your fat. You can use coconut milk or opt for heavy cream.
- Add some heat. If you like your curry spicy, add fresh or ground chilies.
What to Serve with Chicken Korma?
Chicken korma curry is quite versatile and can be enjoyed in many ways.
More Indian-inspired Dishes
Indian food is so flavorful, and it doesn’t have to be hard to make.
For a quick side, opt for this 15-Minute Curry Cauliflower Rice.
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- 1 ½ lbs. chicken thighs boneless, skinless, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil divided
- 1 sweet onion finely diced
- 1 green bell pepper finely diced
- 1-1 ¼ cup coconut milk lite, divided*
Korma Curry Sauce:
- 2 tsp. garam masala
- ½ tsp. cardamon
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- ½ tsp. coriander
- ⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. sugar or coconut sugar
- ⅓ cup cashews raw
- ⅓ cup almonds raw
- ⅓ cup coconut flakes or shredded, unsweetened
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 jalapeño pepper or cayenne pepper, finely diced
- 1 ½ tsp. ginger paste
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- Rice cooked, optional
- Cilantro optional
- Cashews optional
- In a small bowl use a whisk to combine garam masala, cardamon, turmeric, coriander, nutmeg, salt, and sugar.
- Add spices, cashews, almonds, coconut, lemon juice, diced jalapeño pepper, garlic, and ginger to the bowl of a food processor or high speed blender. Pulse 10 times and then process for 10-20 seconds, or until ingredients start to form a paste. While still processing, slowly add in ¾ cup coconut milk and process until well combined.
- Place korma sauce in a large bowl with chicken. Let marinate for 15-20 minutes.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, onion, and bell pepper to a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until onions begin to brown slightly.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and chicken with marinade. Cook chicken for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Cover skillet and continue cooking chicken for 12-15 minutes over medium-low heat, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Stir in remaining coconut milk until the curry is to your desired consistency. Serve chicken korma curry over rice or cauliflower rice with additional chopped cashews and cilantro.
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- Can also use heavy cream or half and half for a more authentic version.
- Nutrition facts are calculated without rice or cauliflower rice.
- Feel free to use chicken breasts or bone-in chicken thighs with the bones removed.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.