Chicken Korma

chicken korma

A recipe for chicken korma made in the Pakistani or North Indian style with chicken, yoghurt, whole spices and lots of fried onions. Serve with sheermal for the authentic Mughlai touch.
 Course lunch and Dinner
 Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
 Keyword Korma, 
 Prep Time 15 minutes
 Cook Time 1 hour
 Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
 Servings 4 people
 Calories 300 kcal


  •  cup oil
  • 3 medium onions, sliced

Whole Spices (Sabit garam masala)

  • 8 - 10 green cardamom choti elaichi
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorn sabit kali mirch
  • 4 - 6 cloves laung
  • 1 inch piece cinnamon dar chini
  • ½ teaspoon black cumin seeds (optional) kaala zeera

For the chicken

  • ½ kg bone-in chicken pieces
  • 2 cups yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 drops kewra essence see note for description
  • 1 teaspoon sliced ginger for garnish
  • 1/2 tablespoon sliced almonds for garnish


  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over high heat. Add sliced onions, and saute the onions till they are golden brown and crispy. This process can take about 15 - 20 minutes. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and put them in a steel colander or kitchen towel. This will absorb the oil, and make them crispy. Once the onions are cool, crush them lightly and set aside. Alternatively you can use fried onions (see note).
  2. In the same oil that was used to fry off the onions, add the whole spices (green cardamom, black peppercorn, cloves, cinnamon, black cumin seeds).
  3. Fry for 1 - 2 minutes to release the flavour and then add the chicken pieces. Fry for 2 - 3 minutes on medium - high heat and then add the ginger paste and the garlic paste.
  4. Add red chili powder and salt.
  5. Cook for another 2 - 3 minutes till chicken colour changes from pink to white, and the water evaporates.
  6. At this point whisk the yoghurt and then add it to the chicken. Add 1 - 2 cups of water, and cook for 30 minutes - 45 minutes till the chicken is cooked through. The timing will differ based on the size of the chicken pieces you are using.
  7. Once the chicken is almost done, add the crushed onions and let it simmer for 5 - 10 minutes.
  8. Add kewra essence (if using) in the end, and serve hot with naan, sheermal or taftan.
  9. Garnish with sliced almonds or sliced ginger.

Recipe Notes

Fried onions: Fried onions are an essential part of Pakistani and Indian cuisine forming the base of many different gravies. The process of frying them can take time, which is why bags of fried onions can be found in supermarkets and Desi stores easily. If using store-bought fried onions, add them at the same time you would add the normal onions - just cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Additionally, make sure that the onions you purchase from the store are fresh and not dusted in cornflour. 
Kewra: Kewra is known as screw pine essence in English and is extracted from the thick leathery yellow green flower petals of the pandanus tree. It’s used in meat dishes as well as desserts and can be found in Indian and Pakistani stores by the name kewra water or kewra essence. The essence is more concentrated than the water, so be careful in using it.

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