Chicken korma is one of my absolute favorite Indian dishes! There are so many variations of it, but the recipe here is my personal favorite. The chicken gets marinaded in a mix of coconut milk AND yogurt, and then a veritable mountain of spices are added to it: chili powder, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon. The spices blend together beautifully and infuse the chicken with tons of incredible flavor, and the yogurt also tenderizes the meat and makes it super juicy once it’s cooked. Pro tip: I add the leftover marinade to the sauce, so you don’t waste any ingredients or lose any of that delicious flavor! The korma starts with fresh onion, green chili, and ginger that get sauteed, then blended with soaked cashews and added back to the pan before the leftover marinade and whole spices get added in. The layers of flavor are beyond delicious, and the blended cashews give the dish a rich, nutty flavor and super creamy texture. Once the seared chicken is added and the sauce reduces, all this dish needs is roti, cilantro, red onion, and one hungry Eitan!
For the Marinade
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup yogurt (I used non-dairy)
- 2 teaspoons red chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons coriander
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 large boneless and skinless chicken breasts (about 1 ½ pounds), cut into 1 inch cubes
For the Korma
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
- 2 large yellow onions, sliced (about 3 cups)
- 1 small green chili, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- 3 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped (about 9 cloves)
- 3 tablespoons fresh ginger (3 inch piece), peeled and roughly chopped
- ¾ cup raw cashews
- 1 ½ cups coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 (4 inch) cinnamon stick
- 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
- ½ red onion, chopped (optional)
- ½ cup chopped cilantro (optional)
For the Marinade
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together coconut milk, yogurt, red chili powder, coriander, cumin, turmeric, black pepper and salt. Once fully combined, add chicken and mix with a pair of tongs until every piece of chicken is coated in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
For the Korma
- In a small mixing bowl, add cashews and enough hot water to cover by 1 inch. Let soak for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Once soft, drain cashews and reserve.
- Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a wide skillet on medium heat. Working in two batches, drain each piece of chicken well (reserving the marinade) and cook for about 5 minutes, flipping halfway through, until browned on outside but not cooked through (chicken will be cooked through later in the process.). Once cooked, transfer chicken to a bowl and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil to the pan and repeat with second batch of chicken. Remove from heat and scrape the bottom of the pan, if necessary, to remove any excess burnt bits.
- Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the same skillet over medium heat and add onions. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add green chilies, garlic and ginger, then cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, until browned.
- Transfer the contents of the skillet to a blender or food processor along with the coconut milk, leftover marinade and drained cashews. Blend until smooth. Pour back into the skillet along with par-cooked chicken and garam masala.
- Bring to a simmer and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oil starts to separate from the sauce, and sauce has thickened into a gravy consistency.
- Serve with roti and topped with red onion and cilantro.