Chicken Kurma With Cashews And Coconut Cream

Rich with yogurt and coconut cream
Adorned with cashews

Kurma is a curry made using various ingredients like coconut, yogurt, nuts, poppy seeds, vegetables/meat and spices. … There are so many ways of making a kurma, this chicken kurma recipe is different from the mughlai or Shahi Chicken korma that is made using cream.

Classically, a korma is a dish wherein meat or vegetables are braised with water, stock, and yogurt or cream. The flavour of a korma depends a lot on the spices, ingredients and how well the recipe is allowed to braise over medium heat. The mixture of spices includes grounded coriander and cumin which is sprinkled over yogurt kept below curdling temperature.
It is a characteristically a Mughlai dish which can be traced back to the 16th century. The word korma or kurma is derived from Urdu ḳormā or ḳormah, meaning “braise”.

One is the traditional South Indian Kurma where a lot of coconut is used. But if you don’t’ like the taste of coconut you can always replace it. In its place, to thicken the sauce, you can use boiled and mashed potatoes. It is eaten with paratha, which is made of maida instead of wheat or atta.

The North India Korma, on the other hand, has thick, moderately spicy and creamy sauce. It is a dish that uses a lot of yogurt, heavy cream and vegetables in a blend of spices. This looks a little darker in color than the South Indian Kurma.

Not only is it spelt differently in the North and South, but the curry bases are also different, even though they are the same dish. Korma or Kurma they both taste heavenly!

Today I’ve made a Kurma with the use of yogurt and coconut cream. I indulged with cashews and a few drops of kewra just for the sheer extravagance! The heat and you know how I love my hot food actually comes from the green chilies. I always add a fair few initially in my ginger garlic paste but I taste towards the end and always add some more fresh chilies to adjust the heat and let the aroma of the chilies infuse. If you’re not too sure about the heat just add a few in the initial paste and adjust according to your preference.

Cashew nuts can be substituted for almonds, pistachio or whatever nuts you would like. If I have sliced almonds or pistachios, I add a few of those too.

I don’t particularly like raisins in any of my curries but if you want please add a handful towards the end.

I like to add green peppers at the end just for that freshnes and beautiful fragrance it imparts. With it a few slit green chillies but thats optional.

But mostly once you have made the dish once, feel free to add your signature touches to suit your palate.


Whole chicken cut on the bone for maximum flavour
2 onions very finally minced
6 cloves of garlic
2 inch ginger chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cardamom pods split
2 bay leaves
8 green chilies (reduce to your palate)
1 cup of thick greek yoghurt
1/2 a cup of vegetable oil                      
2 tsp of salt
3 tbsp of butter ghee
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 a cup of coconut cream or can of coconut milk
1 tsp of ground white pepper
1 tsp of garam masala
1 tsp of cumin powder
2 tsp of coriander powder
1 cup of cashew nuts
1/2 a tsp of cinnamon powder          
1/2 tsp of cardamom powder       
Pinch of black cardamom power        
1 Green bell peppers cut into chunks Few drops of Kewra water
A few cashews for garnish.

Main powdered spices
cinnamon, cardamom
and black cardamom powders

First blend your garlic, fresh chilies and ginger into a fine paste using a food processor.

Using a large non stick pan heat the oil and ghee and make sure it’s nice and hot. Add in your whole spices and let them sizzle for a few minutes.

Whole spices

Then add your onions. cook for a few minutes. Now add in your garlic, ginger and chili paste. Let this sizzle for a few minutes. Check to make sure that you have enough oil and ghee to ensure that your ingredients fry and not burn.

Garlic, ginger and chilli paste
Lightly golden

Add your salt, sugar and cook your onions on a low to medium heat covered to sweat them and get them soft without adding too much colour. Add a splash of water if you want to help steam the onions until they become mushy.

Salt/sugar go in
sugar balances the yogurt
Water to steam
Oil is splitting

Next add in your powdered spices and cook this for a while. Keep adding splashes of water until the oil splits and repeat this process for about five minutes.

Main spices
Seasoning aromats
Cook till oil splits

Now add in your yogurt and give this a really good stir. Continue to cook this now until your yogurt starts to release some of its oils.

Beaten yogurt
Coik till oil splits

Next add your chicken to the yogurt and cook this for anout 5 minutes in the yogurt and spices.

Bhuna well

Now add your coconut cream, 2 cups of water, sugar, stir in well, cover your chicken and let it cook in the sauce on a low heat untill your chicken is almost cooked.

Add your cream/water
Gently cook till chicken almost done

Now add the green peppers, cashews, a few more slit green chillies if you want and reduce the sauce to a nice custard like consistency for a few mins. Take it off the heat.

Add green peppers, cashews and taste
Cook till peppers just done

Before serving add a few more cashew nuts and a few drops of kewra water.

Serve with a nice plain pulao, or plain boiled rice or fluffy naan.


Add eggs if you like, I often do as its lovely and in some regions traditional to do so. Score them well. I also added chilli powder in order to balance with eggs and for some heat too. Again chilli powder can be optional.

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