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Indian Main Course Recipes

Chicken Korma: Curry House Style

This mild curry is packed with aromatic spices. Chicken is marinated in a yogurt spice blend then simmered in a rich and smooth korma gravy.

Korma and Anglo-Indian Cuisine

Korma can be traced back to the Moghals who ruled India from the 10th to the 16th century. It was traditionally served for special occasions and at lavish banquets in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as it contains an array of expensive seasonings. 

Fast-forward to mid 20th century England. A wave of Indian influenced cuisine surged across a country whose traditional fare is not generally known for being, shall we say, exotic. The korma, which is loaded with exotic spices, but mild enough for the unacquainted, soon became the darling of the nation’s palette.

Today, Indian restaurants are found across many regions of the world but are particularly abundant in Britain, where Anglo-Indian curry houses are ever popular.   The curry house is as much a part of modern British food culture as the neighbourhood pub or chippy. In London alone, there are well over 1200 restaurants listed on TripAdvisor specializing in Indian cuisine.  Some of the best are neighbourhood mom and pop businesses. Well known for its high concentration of curry houses, is Brick Lane in the East London borough of Tower Hamlets.

Curry houses in Brick Lane, London, UK

A mild curry that’s packed with spices

Now that we’ve decided to forego the delivery or take-away option let’s make our own curry. First, you’ll want to take an inventory of your spice rack.  If there are spices there that haven’t been used in several years, it’s likely they’ve lost most of their potency. Using fresh spices will improve the flavours of your curry. Whole cloves, allspice and pepper corns tend to hold their flavour longer than their ground versions. I like to grind or crush them right when I’m ready to add spice to a dish. While you can use a peppermill for the corns, you’ll need a mortar and pestle for the cloves and the garlic as well. 

You can regulate the heat level to this curry by adjusting the amount of chili flakes you add. Using the ½ tsp in the recipe is still fairly mild to my pallet. If not all of your dinner guests agree on the spice level, I’d suggest offering chilis or some hot sauce like sriracha or sambal on the side for them to spice their own serving.

Garam Masala Spice Blend

As with other curries, you can save time by using packaged spice blends. While this dish doesn’t require a curry powder (a blend of spices typically used in Indian cuisine), you should consider picking up a garam masala blend from your grocer or spice shop. If you’re going to make your own garam masala you’ll need a well-stocked spice rack. It typically consists of: coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, allspice and bay leaves.

Korma

Chicken Korma

Kevin Lamoureux
This mild curry is packed with aromatic spices. Chicken is marinated in a yogurt spice blend then simmered in a rich and smooth korma gravy.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Marinating Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 330 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the marinade

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ tsp turmeric ground
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tbsp garlic fresh crushed
  • ½ tbsp ginger fresh crushed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt

For the puree

  • 1 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup yellow onions chopped (1 large)
  • ½ cup cashews
  • ½ cup coconut milk

For the korma gravy

  • 1 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • 6 cloves ground
  • ½ tsp cardamom ground
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp red chili flakes
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ tsp paprika

For the garnish

  • ¼ cup fresh chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds

Instructions
 

Marinade

  • Finely chop, then crush the garlic and ginger with salt using a mortar and pestle.
  • To a marinating dish, add the garlic and ginger mixture along with the chili powder, turmeric, garam masala and yogurt. Mix until well blended.
  • Add the chicken and coat with the marinade.
  • Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least one hour.

Puree

  • Heat the ghee (or oil) in a pan and fry the onions until transparent. Add the cashews and cook for another minute or two.
  • Set aside to cool, then add the onions, nuts and half the coconut milk to a blender to form a smooth puree.

Cook the Chicken

  • Using the same pan, heat the remaining ghee or oil and sauté the chicken for about 5 minutes. Add the cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, halfway through the sautéing.
  • Add the onion-cashew puree, the chicken stock, the remaining coconut milk and the paprika.
  • Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked and tender (roughly 10-20 minutes).
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) and slivered almonds.

Notes

Suggested side dishes: basmati rice, naan bread, dahl or other Indian stewed vegetables. 
Keyword chicken, curry, Korma

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