|September 26, 2022

THE SECRET INGREDIENT OF AUTHENTIC CHICKEN KORMA

Korma is a cherished South Asian dish having its origins in royal Mughal kitchens of yore. The word ‘korma‘ (“qorma” originally) means ‘to braise’, or pan-sear. In the North Indian way of preparation, chicken is sautéed in ghee/oil and whole spices before a blend of yogurt and fried onions are added to produce a rich chicken kurma curry.

What exactly is “authentic” Chicken Korma?

chicken korma

Chicken Korma or Murgh Korma or its other equally delicious variants like the instant pot chicken korma (also called chicken korma instant pot) etc.., can be called “authentic” when it’s prepared using whole spices, a rich yogurt-based korma masala, and a layer of oil/ghee on top. Adding some Kewra essence and blanched almonds, though not mandatory, gives the korma a luxurious finish, making it chicken shahi korma.

Apart from these, you’ll need a few basic chicken korma ingredients commonly used in various chicken korma Pakistani and Indian curries. They are:

  • Ghee or Oil: To give the korma a traditional look and taste.
  • Onions: When making authentic chicken korma curry, you brown the onions first, then grind them along with the yogurt. This gives it that special signature texture and flavor.
  • Boned skinless chicken: You can use pre-cut pieces of a whole chicken, but boned chicken thighs work too. Boneless chicken may require a shorter cooking time.
  • Whole spices: Authentic Chicken Korma uses whole spices like bay leaves, cumin seeds, and black peppercorns. 
  • Ginger Garlic: A traditional korma Indian food recipe will have more garlic and ginger than you’re typically used to. You can substitute this with ginger-garlic paste if you prefer.
  • Tomatoes: Optional (Why? Scroll down for the answer)
  • Yogurt: Yogurt is an essential korma ingredient. You can also use cashew yogurt to make it dairy-free!
  • Spice powders: A typical chicken tikka korma, chicken coconut korma, or white chicken korma recipe uses common spices like coriander and cumin, as well as a few optional spices like mace and black cardamom.

But why are there no tomatoes in this recipe?

Tomatoes give off the water when cooked, thus resulting in a thinner consistency of your chicken korma curry, whereas yogurt gives a thicker masala-like consistency. If you prefer not to use tomatoes, increase the amount of yogurt you use. Simple!

How to make authentic Chicken Korma?

Making an authentic chicken korma is quite easy:

  1. First, sauté the onions until they turn nice golden brown. Remove them from the pan.
  2. Add the whole spices and ginger-garlic and sauté the chicken. Meanwhile, blend the onions with tomatoes (if you’re adding them, that is) or yogurt.
  3. Cover and let them cook. After a while, add the remaining spices – adding spices toward the end of the cooking stage maintains their aroma and flavor. Cover and cook again.
  4. When cooking finishes, add water and bring the korma curry to a boil. 
  5. Lower the flame and let it simmer for a few minutes. 
  6. When the oil rises to the top, you’re done!
  7. Top your korma curry with kewra essence, cilantro, and blanched almonds.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What makes korma different?
Does traditional korma include dairy products?
Can I use anything else instead of cream in korma?
Is korma authentic Indian?