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White Chicken Shahi Korma

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Mildly spiced white chicken shahi korma is amazing! This easy recipe shows how to make it to perfection.

This is a white chicken shahi korma that I like to make with malai chicken kofta but any cuts of chicken will do nicely. White chicken shahi curry is very popular and the sauce is versatile too. You could make the same sauce and add pieces of lamb, paneer and/or vegetables and not be disappointed.

You might like to try white chicken shahi korma with plain white Basmati rice or one of these flavoured rice recipes. It is also delicious served with naans and chapatis. Make this delicious white chicken shahi korma part of a larger meal by adding another curry or a few sides such as poppadoms, samosas , dal and a good chutney or two.

If you like creamy, nutty and mildly spiced curries, you’re going to love white chicken shahi korma!

white chicken shahi korma

What is white chicken shahi korma

White chicken shahi korma is a creamy and aromatic Indian dish that belongs to the Mughlai cuisine. “Shahi” translates to “royal,” indicating the rich and luxurious nature of the dish.

It is typically made with boneless chicken pieces which you cook in a flavourful white gravy made from a blend of cashew nuts, melon seeds, sometimes almonds, yogurt, and aromatic spices.

This aromatic curry delicacy is a favourite in Indian cuisine, known for its velvety texture and delicate flavours.

What is the difference between this and chicken shahi korma?

White chicken shahi korma is very similar to chicken shahi korma. It’s really just the white version of the popular curry. 

The red colour of chicken shahi korma is replaced with a with a white korma paste that makes it creamier and nuttier.

Is this curry difficult to make?

All you need to do is fry a few korma paste ingredients before blending them. Then your pan does most of the work.

In this white chicken shahi korma recipe you prepare malai chicken koftas. You could make it even easier on yourself by substituting bone-in or boneless chicken pieces and letting them simmer in the sauce until cooked through.

Can you work ahead?

Most definitely! You can prepared the white korma paste up to three days before you cook the rest of the curry. You can also marinate and prepare the chicken koftas a few days ahead of cooking. Just keep them tightly wrapped in the fridge.

In fact, if you like, you can prepare this white chicken shahi korma a couple of days ahead of serving. Just keep it sealed tightly in the fridge. The sitting time will actually improve the flavour.

Special ingredients: What are melon seeds?

You can find melon seeds at Asian grocers and online. Melon seeds usually refer to white watermelon seeds and you use them to thicken sauces and for their nutty flavour.

How long with white chicken shahi korma keep in the fridge?

You can store this, covered tightly in the fridge for up to 3 days. Sometimes longer depending on the freshness of your ingredients.

Can you freeze this curry?

This is one you really need to make and either eat immediately or keep in the fridge for up to three days. The cream and yoghurt sauce does not freeze well. 

Can you adjust the flavouring and texture?

White chicken shahi korma is known for its delicate and balanced flavours. You need to pay attention to the spice levels and adjust according to your taste preferences.

Additionally, if you find that the white gravy is too thick, you can add a little water or milk to achieve your desired consistency. Similarly, if you prefer a richer and creamier korma, you can add a splash of heavy cream towards the end of cooking to enhance the creaminess.

How do you substitute whole chicken pieces?

In this white chicken shahi korma you add malai chicken koftas. You can use small pieces of boneless or bone-in chicken.

For best results, you should marinate the chicken before cooking. You can really just wing it. Add some lemon juice, salt, garlic and ginger paste and some of the yoghurt to the chicken and then just add the chicken and all the marinade to the korma.

Step by step photographs

Ingredients for white chicken shahi korma

Get your ingredients together before you start. There are a lot of them so it makes cooking much easier.

The malai kofta ingredients in a bowl.

Place the kofta ingredients in a mixing bowl. Not shown but I usually soak the bread in a little milk and then squeeze out the excess liquid. This makes it easier to combine.

Prepared chicken malai koftas

Knead the kofta ingredients until the meat is broken down and the other ingredients are well combined. Then form into koftas.

Frying the malai koftas

Heat some oil and fry the koftas over a medium heat for a few minutes.

Browning the koftas in a pan.

Once lightly browned on the underside, flip the koftas over to cook the other side until the koftas are about 80% cooked through. Transfer to a plate.

Infusing caramom pods in oil in a pan.

Using the same oil, add the cardamom pods. Fry for about 30 seconds.

Frying the onions, melon seeds, cashews and garlic and ginger paste.

Stir in the chopped onions and fry for a couple of minutes. Then stir in the cashews, melon seeds and garlic and ginger paste. 

Fried onions, cashews, melon seeds, garlic and ginger.

Fry for a few more minutes. Allow to cool and blend to a paste with the yoghurt and cream. Be sure to blend these ingredients until really smooth.

Returning the koftas and korma paste to the pan.

Return your koftas to the pan and then stir in the blended paste. Add the black pepper, garam masala, cumin and  kasoori methi.

Simmering the curry.

Then all you need to do is cover the pan to simmer over a low to medium heat for about 10 minutes. 

Do you want to try more royal curries?

If you like this white shahi chicken korma, you are going to want to try chicken shahi korma, chicken changezi and jeera chicken curry!

White shahi chicken korma

Now just plate it up, garnish with coriander (cilantro) or cream if you like and dig in.

Pro Tips

  1. Marinating the chicken: To ensure tender and flavourful chicken in your shahi korma, marination is key. This is particularly important if you are cooking whole pieces of chicken. Marinate your whole pieces of chicken in a blend of lemon juice, salt, garlic and ginger paste and yoghurt for up to 24 hours.
  2. Blending the Creamy Gravy: The creamy white gravy is the highlight of white chicken shahi korma. For a smooth and luscious texture, you need to blend the cashew nuts and melon seeds properly. The creamier you make the korma paste the better and you can add a little water or milk if needed.
  3. Slow Cooking for Optimum Flavour: White chicken shahi korma is best cooked slowly on low heat to allow the flavours to develop. If time permits, you should take this additional step. Just simmer on low and let those rich flavours come through.  


Yield: 4 - 6

White Chicken Shahi Korma

white chicken shahi korma
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 700g (1 ½ lbs) minced (ground) chicken
  • 1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 medium red onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 green finger chillies, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 slices of white bread, crust removed
  • 2 tbsp plain natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp single cream
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) rapeseed oil or ghee
  • 3 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 2 medium red onions, roughly chopped
  • 6 whole green finger chillies (more or less to taste)
  • 15 cashews
  • 1 ½ tbsp melon seeds (optional)
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 120g (1/2 cup) plain natural yoghurt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) single cream, plus more to garnish
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 3 tbsp coriander (cilantro), finely chopped


  1. Mix the chicken with all the kofta ingredients up to and including the coriander (cilantro). It is important to really break the chicken down with your hands so that it is silky smooth so spend some time kneading it for a couple of minutes.
  2. With wet hands, divide the chicken into balls (kofta) that are just a bit smaller than pool balls. Rolling the balls with wet hands will not only make the job easier but you will get a nice smooth surface.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. When visibly hot, add the koftas and fry for a few minutes until they are about 80% cooked through and browned in places. Traditionally, the same oil is used to cook the curry but you could pour some out if you don’t want an oil-heavy curry.
  4. With the oil still hot, continue cooking over a medium-high heat and add the chopped onions. Fry for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent and then add the garlic and ginger paste, cashews, melon seeds and chillies.
  5. Fry for another couple of minutes. You want to cook the nuts and seeds a bit but not necessarily brown them so just an easy couple of minutes is all that’s needed. Take off the heat and transfer this all to a bowl with a slotted spoon and allow to cool some. Then place it all in a blender and blend with the yoghurt into a smooth, creamy white paste.
  6. Returning to your pan, heat the oil again over medium-high heat and add the cardamom pods to sizzle and flavour the oil for about 30 seconds. Then pour in the prepared white paste and stir well to combine with the oil. Stir in the black pepper, garam masala, ground cumin, kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) and cream and stir to combine.
  7. Add the par-cooked koftas and bring it all to a simmer. Cover the pan and simmer over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. The oil will separate from the gravy and float on top. Try the sauce and add salt to taste. Spoon it all into a heated serving dish and drizzle with a little more cream and garnish with the chopped coriander


I used malai kofta in this recipe but you could use chicken pieces on or off the bone and just simmer in the same way until cooked through. If using whole chicken pieces, you may need to simmer the chicken for up to 15 minutes to cook it through.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 258Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 445mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 10g

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Wednesday 6th of September 2023

First of all i have to admit i didn't actually make this curry well at least not the whole thing i only made the Kofta element for use in wraps,i followed the recipe exactly apart from using turkey mince to which i added a tsp of goose fat for juiciness it was hailed as the best wraps ever made even by my fuss-pot 8 yr old. Made the mince mixture in the morning and left in the fridge all day to let it blend then did sausage shapes appropiate to the size of the wraps which i then flattened to about 2cm thickness and whacked them in a moderate pan to cook through enough before ramping up the heat to char/caramalise the outside then just standard add-ins and a sprinkle of lime juice. I fully intend to make the entire curry within the next few days and will also do the Malai balls with panner but with this curry sauce. For me this is the beauty of curry cuisine, mix,match,adapt,change up/down whatever you like and 99.9% of the time it's going to turn out great.

Thanks Dan for the inspiration and multitude of wonderful recipes you offer.

Dan Toombs

Monday 11th of September 2023

Hi Lee

Thanks very much for that. I'm happy you are enjoying the recipes! Thanks, Dan

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