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Korma Curry Sauce

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This korma curry sauce can be made with the main ingredient of your choice. Here I used chicken.

This is the curry house style korma curry sauce recipe adapted from my cookbook ‘The Curry Guy’. I halved the recipe so that it is closer to a curry house portion.

If you are looking for my original pre-book chicken korma, you can still find it here. The recipes are similar but this recipe is closer to what you would find at a good curry house. 

Chicken korma photo from ‘The Curry Guy’ cookbook. Photo by Kris Kirkham.

About Korma Curries…

There are hundreds of recipes for authentic Indian chicken korma. Korma, which means ‘braising’ in Hindi, is actually a style of cooking where meat and vegetables are braised in a sealed pot with a little liquid.

The sauce can be creamy, nutty and mild like our British chicken kormas but they can also be quite spicy and cooked in stock or water.

What we know as a korma may share the same name but it isn’t really a korma at all.


Make this chicken korma recipe your own…

I prefer to use a combination of block coconut and coconut flour to give my kormas a nice coconut flavour, but you could substitute thick coconut milk, adding it with the first batch of base curry sauce and letting it cook down to your preferred consistency.

You might want to reduce the amount of base curry sauce.

Never use desiccated coconut or your sauce will become grainy.

My recipe will achieve a nice yellow colour, as expected. If you desire the more intense yellow colour found at many restaurants, you will need to add yellow food colouring powder to your chicken korma.

Feel free to spice this up. I’m not a huge fan of mild curries. So when I make this at home, I break all the korma rules and add chillies. Why not?

Also, many people like their korma sauce really sweet. My version isn’t but feel free to add more sugar to taste.

Substituting other main ingredients.

I would like to make it very clear that although this is a chicken korma recipe, the main focus is the sauce!

Feel free to substitute pre-cooked lamb, paneer, grilled vegetables or whatever you wish for the chicken.

Just like when you go to your favourite curry house and you see korma on the menu with a selection of different main ingredients to choose from, you can do this at home too.

The base curry sauce/gravy

This is the secret ingredient behind curry house curries.

It is super easy to make. Once made, you can cook everything from the mildest kormas to the spiciest phalls with it. Here is my recipe

Chicken korma finished

This chicken korma only takes minutes to make!

If you like this korma sauce recipe, you might like to try some of these curry house favourites too…

Tikka masala sauce
Pasanda sauce
Chasni sauce
Chilli garlic sauce
Ceylon sauce
Pathia sauce
Jalfrezi sauce
Keema sauce
Bhuna sauce
Methi sauce
Madras sauce
Vindaloo sauce
Phaal sauce

Yield: 2+

Chicken Korma

Chicken Korma
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 2 tbsp ghee or rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 2.5cm (1 inch) cinnamon stick
  • 2 green cardamom pods - bruised
  • 1 tsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 300ml (1 1/4 cups) base curry sauce
  • 50g (1 3/4 oz) block coconut
  • 300g pre-cooked chicken or raw (cooking will take longer if using raw.)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) single cream
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1 tbsp cold butter
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat the ghee or oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When small bubbles begin to appear, toss in the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. Let the whole spices
    flavour the oil for about 30 seconds then stir in the garlic and ginger paste.
  2. Fry for about 20 seconds before adding the sugar, ground almonds and coconut flour. Mix into the oil and pour in about 250ml (1 cup) of the base curry sauce; it will bubble up nicely.
  3. Break up the block coconut, if using block, and add it to the simmering sauce. It will dissolve and give your korma a nice
    light yellow tone.
  4. Add a splash more base sauce from time to time as the curry simmers. Stir in the pre-cooked chicken. If using raw chicken, press it right into the sauce so that it cooks quickly and evenly.
  5. You can add a little more base curry sauce if you need to, as it will boil down anyway.
  6. Swirl in the garam masala.
When your chicken is cooked/heated through, remove the cardamom pods and cinnamon, and stir in the cream. Removing the whole spices is not essential. It's just an option.
  7. Add the rose water and finish with the butter, if you want. Season with salt and check the sweetness, adding more sugar if needed.

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Dan McCaughern

Monday 11th of December 2023

Hi I regularly make your curries from your Curry Guy book. My most successful so far are Korma and Bhuna. -both delicious and much better than any recipes I’ve found so far! One question I have though is, in restaurants, the korma sauce doesn’t have any graininess from the ground almonds. (I’ve also tried almond flour.) What do you recommend?

Dan Toombs

Monday 11th of December 2023

They may not use the ground almonds so just miss it out if you find it too grainy. I’m glad you’ve been enjoying my curries. Thanks very much. Dan


Thursday 27th of October 2022

Hi Dan

Can I substitute coconut milk for the block coconut, and if so what quantity would be equivalent.

Many thanks

Dan Toombs

Thursday 3rd of November 2022

Yes you could but it would make it more liquidy. Just add a few tablespoons then more as you go to give the consistency you want. Thanks very much. Dan


Saturday 7th of November 2020

Loved your recipes so far! Just made a batch of the curry base sauce and made myself a chicken tikka masala tonight - which was delightful. As it was so good, I have promised my parents I'll make them a vegeterian version of this dish tomorrow and as I'm unable to source paneer in the local supermarket I was wondering what suggestions you have for veggies and at what point in the recipe I should add them.

Many thanks from North Devon, England!

Dan Toombs

Monday 9th of November 2020

Hi You could try using halloumi cheese instead or really just vegetables of your choice. Broccoli works well with korma sauce and so does cauliflower. Thanks Dan


Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

I’m planning to make your chicken korma this weekend, the base sauce is already in the freezer and it smells amazing! Just a question, you mention mixed powder in your intro but I don’t see it included anywhere in the actual recipe. Is it an optional ingredient to add extra oomph and if so, how much would you recommend adding? Thanks for the delicious recipes!

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

You can buy mixed powder but it is also easy to make and the recipe is in my red book 'The Curry Guy' Just add a few teaspoons to the base sauce if you have some but it is not imperative.

mohan kumar

Monday 4th of May 2020

so yummy!! i love it! i ll definitely try it!!

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