This is the curry house style chicken korma 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.
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.
Below are a few short ingredient explanations and substitutes.
Garlic and Ginger Paste: This can easily be made by blending equal amounts of garlic and ginger with just enough water to make a paste. Garlic and ginger paste can also be purchased in jars and as frozen cubes. You could also finely cut your garlic and ginger.
Tomato Puree: This is simply a thin tomato puree. To make it, you could just blend some tinned tomatoes. You could also mix 1 part thick tomato paste with three parts water. Another option is to use unseasoned passatta.
Mixed Powder: This is a special blend of spices used at most curry houses. It is essentially just a fancy curry powder. You can easily make your own mixed powder for this chicken korma recipe. Here’s my recipe. Or you could also just use a good quality shop bought curry powder.
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.
Want to have a go at making more curry house style curries? Try these!
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- You can add a little more base curry sauce if you need to, as it will boil down anyway.
- 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.
- Add the rose water and finish with the butter, if you want. Season with salt and check the sweetness, adding more sugar if needed.