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Chicken Korma from Scratch

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Delicious chicken korma from scratch without base curry sauce!

As many of you have requested curry house style recipes without the need for a prepared base sauce, I decided to do just that. This chicken korma from scratch recipe can be made in under 30 minutes too.

If you are looking to recreate that British Indian restaurant style korma at home, you’ll do it with this recipe. I promise!

You will also find links to popular side dishes to enjoy with your chicken korma.

Chicken Korma from Scratch

This chicken korma taste just like those from the best curry houses. No base sauce required.

What is a korma?

Korma is a style of cooking in India where meat is braised in a sauce. Authentic kormas can be mild or spicy and very few look like what you get when you order a korma at a curry house.

At curry houses, korma is the mildest of curries. No hot spices are used and they are sweet and creamy. The British Indian restaurant style korma is quickly cooked up with the use of a base curry sauce in about 10 minutes.

You can find my recipe for chicken korma done exactly as it is at curry houses right here.

What do you serve chicken korma with?

If you’d like to make this curry into a feast, you’ve come to the right place. You could just go for a side of Basmati rice or mushroom fried rice.

If you’d like to make naans, why not try one of these?  Instant naans, Peshwari naans, stove top naans, keema naans, garlic naans, tandoor naans (if you have a tandoor oven), or if you’re cooking outdoors, karahi naans.

Want to start your chicken korma meal off with a bang? How about fried shop bought poppadoms or if you’re feeling ambitious, make your own poppadoms from scratch and serve them with coriander chutney, red onion chutney, and/or tamarind chutney.

How does this chicken korma from scratch differ to the restaurant recipe?

The ingredients are pretty much the same. It’s just the order they go into the pan is different.

As this chicken korma from scratch recipe does not use a base sauce, you make that sauce as you go. Blending it until smooth just like the korma sauce at curry houses.

Which cut of meat?

At most restaurants, chicken breast is used because it is white meat and perhaps a bit prettier on the plate.

I prefer chicken thigh meat. It is redder in colour but has more flavour. You could use either.

Do I have to use chicken?

Not at all. You could use beef, lamb or whatever you like. For tougher cuts of meat, you might need to cook the meat longer or pre-cook it like I did in this rogan josh from scratch recipe.

You could also easily make this a vegetarian korma. Try adding paneer or tofu to the simmering sauce. Or just throw in some of your favourite vegetables.

Step by step photographs…

Ingredients for chicken korma from scratch

Get all your ingredients together before you start cooking. It’s a lot easier in the long run.

Infusing whole spices in ghee.

Heat the ghee over medium high heat and then add the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. Infuse in the ghee for about 40 seconds.

Frying onions and carrot

Add the chopped onions and grated carrot. Fry for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.

Adding garlic and ginger paste to the pan

Add the garlic and ginger paste and fry for a further 30 seconds.

Adding tomatoes and chicken stock to the pan

Stir in the chopped tomatoes and about 125ml (1/2 cup) water or unsalted chicken stock.

Adding coconut cream to the curry

Stir in the coconut cream.

Chicken korma

Season with salt to taste and add the rosewater if using. Serve when the chicken is completely cooked through.

Chicken korma from scratch

Garnish with a little coriander (cilantro) if you like and a little garam masala.

Chicken korma from scratch

Dig in!

If you like this chicken korma from scratch recipe, you should try some of these too…

Chicken Chasni from Scratch
Beef Madras from Scratch
Chicken Vindaloo from Scratch
Rogan josh from scratch
Chicken Dopiaza from Scratch
Chicken Chilli Garlic Curry from Scratch

Yield: 4

Chicken Korma from Scratch

Chicken korma from scratch
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 x 2.5cm (1 inch) cinnamon stick
  • 3 green cardamom pods, bruised
  • 700g (1 1/2 lbs) chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • ½ carrot, grated
  • 1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk powder (see alternatives on page 00)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste stirred into 3 tbsp water
  • 250ml (1 cup) water or chicken stock
  • 125ml coconut cream
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) single cream
  • 1 tso garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • A drop of rosewater
  • Coriander (cilantro) to garnish
  • Garam masala to garnish


  1. Heat the ghee over medium-high heat. When bubbly hot, add the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods to infuse for 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in the chopped onions and grated carrot and fry for about five minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent. If time allows, you could cook these veggies even longer over a low heat. The slower cooking will bring out their natural sweetness. Just be sure not to brown them.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger paste and fry for a further 30 seconds. Stir in the ground almonds, coconut milk powder, sugar and 125ml (1/2 cup) water. Bring to a simmer and then allow to cool some.
  4. Remove the cinnamon stick and place this sauce in a blender and blend until creamy smooth. Then pour the blended sauce back into the pan over a medium high heat.
  5. The sauce will be a bit too thick so add the coconut cream and a little water to thin it some.
  6. Remember, if your sauce is looking too thick, just add more water or unsalted chicken stock. If too thin, cook it down.
  7. Now add the sliced chicken and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through topping up with water or chicken stock as needed.
  8. To finish, add the garam masala and cream and season with salt to taste. If using rose water, stir it in now. You could also make it sweeter by adding more sugar if you like. Garnish with the chopped coriander (cilantro) and/or garam masala to serve.

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I hope you enjoy this chicken korma from scratch recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.


Sunday 20th of August 2023

Hi Dan, the whole family loves this recipe, and I've done it many times, but never quite the same way since I'm confused when to add all the liquid. I assume the 250ml of water or stock in the ingredient list is the maximum, since in step 3 you add half of that, and then later say add more if needs be. Then there are two equal amounts of coconut cream and single cream, are both added in step 8? I tend to use one or the other otherwise I find it a little to thin. Anyway on the strength of this alone we went out and bought 4 of your books*, but were surprised to not find this variant in them, is it in a book? Many thanks Ross

* The Curry Guy, Bible, Light and Veggie

Dan Toombs

Monday 21st of August 2023

Firstly, thanks so much for buying my books. You’re right about the liquid, it’s never an exact science so you were wise to use your judgement. This recipe is going to be in The Curry Guy One Pot which is out in October but available to pre order now on Amazon. Thanks again. Dan


Friday 10th of March 2023

Great curry, made for my son who doesn't like heat!! I've cooked so many recipes from the website and your books, and every one has been great, keep it up!!

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 14th of March 2023

Thank you so much. I’m really glad you’re enjoying my recipes. Dan


Saturday 21st of January 2023

Absolutely delicious! Thank you so much!

Dan Toombs

Monday 23rd of January 2023

Thanks for letting me know, great you enjoyed it so much. Dan

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