Chicken Korma

My friend Elie is moving to Peru. How cool is that? She was determined to do it months ago, even before she fell in love with a Peruvian photographer. And now she leaves in two weeks. Her house is rented, she’s sold most of her furniture and her ex-boyfriend has assumed custody of her dog.

I had Elie over for dinner last week. She came over on a Tuesday, which presented a small problem. Since she was coming over right after work, I needed to have my cooking done the night before. Fortunately, I have an amazing slow cooker — a friend gave it to me a couple of years ago. I love it so much I pet it sometimes.

Chicken korma is a mild north Indian dish that doesn’t require much prep work. After you chop the onion, mince the garlic and grate the ginger, you simply measure the spices and start sauteing everything. Korma is creamy and tangy. Cashews really draw out the flavor, which is dominated by a mix of ground coriander, cumin, tumeric, cayenne and a cinnamon stick. Some kormas call for yogurt. This one uses buttermilk. It’s as good (if not better) than any chicken curry you’ve had in any Indian restaurant.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can make this in a large pot on the stove, with the flame on low. But do consider getting a slow cooker. It’s a wonderful piece of equipment. It took less than 30 minutes for me to prep the ingredients, saute, and then hit the slow cook button on my machine. It cooked overnight, then waited in the fridge to be heated up for dinner.

Chicken Korma
slightly adapted from Essentials of Slow Cooking

1/4 cup canola oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2-inch piece cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (for a medium-spiced curry. use 1/2 teaspoon if you prefer mild)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup canned tomato sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips 1/2 inch wide
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup roasted cashew nuts
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

In a large frying pan (or slow cooker insert) over medium-high heat, warm the canola oil. Add the onion and saute until it begins to soften,about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander, tumeric, cayenne, and cumin and saute until the spices are fragrant and evenly coat the chopped onion, about 1 minute. Stir in the broth, tomato sauce, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt and deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil.

STOVE TOP: Transfer the broth-spice mixture to a large Dutch oven. Add the chicken strips and stir to coat. Partially cover and cook over low heat until the chicken is very tender and the sauce is thickened, about 1 hour.

SLOW COOKER: Transfer the broth-spice mixture to a slow cooker. Add the chicken strips and stir to coat. Cover and cook until the chicken is very tender and the sauce is thickened, 3 hours on the high-heat setting or 6 hours on the low-heat setting.

About 15 minutes before the chicken is done, combine the buttermilk and cashews in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until the nuts are finely pureed and combined with the buttermilk. Add to the chicken adn stir to blend with the chicken and sauce. Continue cooking until the sauce is completely heated through and thick, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon and bay leaves.

Serve with rice, preferably Basmati. Garnish with cilantro.

Serves 6 to 8.


3 Responses to “Chicken Korma”

  1. 1 Marianne
    November 2, 2010 at 9:01 am

    After reading your blog, we made this recipe last night. I think it is the best meal that I’ve made in the past 2 years! I have similar Indian recipes that use coconut milk. Using buttermilk was genius though, it added wonderful flavor and creaminess. We did the stove-top version although will have to try the slow-cooker in the future. I love how easy this recipe is. Love your photography too!

    • November 3, 2010 at 12:17 pm

      Isn’t the korma great??! I’m so glad you tried it and loved it. I’ve got another chicken curry recipe that calls for the buttermilk/cashew blend, and I plan to make it sometime this winter. It’s not quite as simple, but it’s sooooo delish. Stay tuned. And thanks for the comment!

  2. 3 Kim Stone
    November 11, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    I made this and the curried lentils for the maiden run of my new range. Freakin’ loved it. As did Todd. Now find me an easy saag paneer recipe, woman.

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