Chicken Korma

This sped-up version of chicken korma saves time without sacrificing flavor! Boneless chicken thighs are gently simmered in a rich, creamy sauce to create layers of sweet and spicy flavors.

I did not grow up on chicken korma.

Growing up in a traditional Indian home, chicken was served maybe a couple times a week. Although those meals would be a treat, chicken curry was mainly what my mom cooked.

Kormas are for very, very special occasions, like weddings or grand parties, and rightfully so! They are so rich and luxurious. Pieces of chicken are gently simmered in a rich, creamy sauce with layers of sweet and spicy flavors. This dish is what dreams are made of!


Korma is prepared by marinating and then braising a meat in a yogurt or cream base. The dish is traditionally cooked on low heat for around an hour until the meat is tender and the sauce turns into a rich and creamy glaze.

When the Mughals came to India from Central Asia, they brought with them their own cuisine, including the slow braised, yogurt-based (or sometimes cream-based) dish, korma.

In India, being different from their native land in respect of climate, spices, and crops, the recipe evolved over time to include more spices like coriander and cumin. Some kormas also combine meat and vegetables like spinach and turnips.

With time the dish evolved, and various recipes came into being. Vegetarians make navratan korma where nav means nine and ratan means gems or jewels, referring to the nine varieties of vegetables used in the dish. Korma prepared in the southern part of India has coconut in it, given of the heavy use of coconut in South Indian cuisine.


I have shaped this recipe for chicken korma to make it more approachable without compromising authenticity or flavor.

Instead of slow cooking bone-in meat, I have used boneless chicken thighs, which make the cooking process fast enough to whip up the dish on a weeknight.

I have tried to use minimal spices, which are also easily accessible. This dish is not heavy on spices anyway, but it does rely on several flavor profiles. I prefer to use green cardamom pods over other varieties. You can use black cardamom, but it will change the flavors of the dish.

Like most Mughlai dishes, this one uses nuts, dried fruit, and spices in addition to cream. Fried onions give the Korma a slightly sweet flavor, yogurt adds acidity, spices give the dish a warmth, and nuts add richness.

The addition of unsweetened coconut (fresh or desiccated) came over time. Most South Indian kormas use it, probably a result of easy availability of coconut in a South Indian kitchen. You can find desiccated or freshly grated coconut at your local Indian store or on Amazon. But I’d suggest you simply omit the coconut if it is too difficult for you to find.


You can cook this dish in advance and refrigerate it for 2 to 3 days, or freeze for up to a month. Before serving, thaw the korma and then reheat it either on a stovetop until it’s warmed through, or in the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, before serving.


Typically kormas are served with some kind of bread, probably because a korma doesn’t have enough sauce to be served with rice.

I serve mine with naan or lachcha paratha, but feel free to serve with some steamed basmati rice if your heart pleases.


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