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Chicken Korma (Instant Pot & Stove Top)

A mildly spiced Indian curry, Chicken Korma is made with whole aromatic spices like cardamom, cloves, black pepper, and cumin that are simmered in a light and flavorful yogurt-based sauce. This flavorful curry along with pot-in-pot rice makes a wholesome and healthy Dinner in under 30 minutes using Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.

chicken korma served in a white bowl with naan and rice

This Recipe originally published in April 2017 has been updated with new photos, a video, and tips.

This simple curry never fails to please adults and children. With delicate aromas from whole spices and a mild yogurt-based sauce, this chicken korma makes a yummy everyday meal. It is a great dish for someone who is new to Indian food or is looking for a mild yet flavorful take on Indian curries.

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What is Korma

Korma is a mildly spiced flavorful Indian curry with chicken, fish, or vegetables braised in a mildly spiced yogurt, coconut, or nut-based sauce. In addition to this chicken korma with a light yogurt-based curry, there are a few variations of the Korma or Kurma as they call it in South India:

  • Shahi Chicken Korma – Creamy chicken curry with a hint of sweetness studded with nuts and raisins
  • Veg Kurma – South Indian vegetarian curry with a creamy coconut-based sauce.
  • Navratan Korma – A Royal Mughlai dish with mixed vegetables and creamy cashew sauce. This recipe is in my The Essential Indian Instant Pot Cookbook
  • White Chicken Korma – Creamy chicken curry in a white nutty sauce. Similar to the Shahi Korma recipe, no tomatoes, substitute red chili powder with white pepper and green chiles.
chicken korma served in a white bowl with rice and naan on the side

Ingredients

  • Chicken – I recommend using skinless chicken drumsticks or chicken thighs for a moist and flavorful curry. You can also use chicken breasts for this recipe
  • Yellow Onion – finely diced onions make for a perfect curry base for korma
  • Whole Spices – cumin seeds, black peppercorns, cloves, and green cardamom
  • Ground Spices – turmeric, Kashmiri red chili powder, ground cumin, and coriander
  • Yogurt – Plain full-fat yogurt works best for this recipe. You can also use Greek yogurt for a creamier curry or low-fat yogurt for a thinner curry
ingredients for chicken korma

How To Skin Chicken Drumsticks

Most Indian recipes such as curries, pulao, and biryani calls for skinless chicken legs or drumsticks. And as you may have noticed, most US grocery stores sell drumsticks with skin. I have always gotten questions on how I deskin chicken and I recently also published a quick video tutorial on Instagram. Here are the quick and easy steps to de-skin the drumsticks:

  • Break a paper towel into two pieces
  • Use each piece as a grip to hold the two ends of the drumstick
  • Then pull down the skin from the top thick part towards the bottom pulling apart the skin

How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Korma

  • Heat oil and sauté cardamom, cloves, black pepper, and cumin for 30 seconds or until aromatic.
  • Add onions and cook for 2 minutes as the onions turn translucent. You may cover the pot with a non-locking glass lid to speed up the cooking of onions.
  • Add remaining spices, ginger, and garlic and give a quick stir. Turn the saute mode off (photos 1 – 4).
photos one through show showing how to make chicken korma in the Instant Pot
  • Add chicken and water and give a quick stir.
  • Optional step if you would like to make pot-in-pot rice at the same time. Add rinsed rice, water, and salt to a stainless steel pot. Then place a tall trivet in the main pot over the chicken and place the rice container over it (photos 5 – 8).
photos 5 through eight showing adding chicken to korma and how to make pot in pot rice
  • Close the Instant Pot with the pressure cooking valve to sealing and Pressure cook for 8 minutes.
  • Allow a 5-minute natural pressure release and then release the remaining pressure by moving the pressure release valve from sealing to venting. open the Instant Pot and carefully take out the rice and the trivet photos
  • Add a few spoonfuls of the curry to the yogurt and mix well. Stir in the yogurt in the chicken korma. PRO TIP: Adding cold yogurt to the hot curry can cause it to curdle. To prevent curdling of the yogurt, add a few spoons of hot curry to the yogurt, and mix it well. This will bring up the temperature of the yogurt and make a creamy yogurt mix that can be added to the curry. (photos 9 – 12).
photos nine through twelve showing pot in pot rice with chicken curry
  • Mix it well and garnish it with cilantro (photos 13 – 14).

How to Make Stove Top Chicken Korma

  • Heat oil in a large skillet or pot. Add cardamom, cloves, black pepper, and cumin, and saute for 30 seconds or until aromatic.
  • Add onions and salt and cook on medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until the onions turn light brown and translucent. Cover the pot with a lid to speed up the cooking of onions.
  • Add ground spices, ginger, garlic, and chicken.
  • Add ¾ cup of water and give a quick stir.
  • Cover the pot and cook on medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Use a digital thermometer to make sure that the internal temperature of the thickest piece is at 165 F.
  • Add a few spoonfuls of the curry to the yogurt and mix well. Stir in the yogurt in the chicken korma and gently mix. Garnish with cilantro.

Serving

Serve chicken korma with basmati rice, parathas, and cucumber salad. For a low-carb meal, serve with cauliflower rice. Note: Be sure to pick out and discard the whole spices while you eat.

Chicken korma curry served in a white bowl with white rice and naan.

Tips to Make the Best Chicken Korma

  • Instant Pot Chicken Korma will look a bit watery after pressure cooking. It will start to thicken as the curry cools down and some of that excess moisture evaporates.
  • Do not wash raw chicken. Just pat dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Cooking chicken removes any and all of the bacteria
  • Remember to add a few spoonfuls of hot curry to the yogurt before adding the yogurt to the Pot. This will prevent the yogurt from splitting. You can also add coconut cream or coconut milk instead of yogurt

Recipe

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chicken korma in s white bowl with rice and naan
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4.48 from 68 votes

Chicken Korma

Here is my EASY Chicken Korma recipe. It is a mild and healthy chicken curry cooked in whole spices and then braised in yogurt-based sauce.

Prep Time5 mins

Cook Time25 mins

Total Time30 mins

Course: Entree

Cuisine: Indian

Servings: 4

Calories: 192kcal

Ingredients

Optional Pot in Pot Rice (For Instant Pot Recipe only)

Instructions

Instant Pot Recipe

  • Turn the Instant Pot to sauté mode and heat oil. Add whole spices – cardamom, cloves, black pepper, and cumin. Saute for 30 seconds.

  • Add onion and mix well. Saute for 2 minutes covered with glass lid.

  • Add ginger, garlic, turmeric, red chili powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, and salt. Mix well.

  • Add chicken and water. Mix well to evenly coat all the spices to the chicken. Turn the saute mode off.

  • Optional Pot in Pot Rice – Add rice, water, and salt to a stainless steel pot.Place a tall trivet in the Instant and place the rice pot over it. 

  • Close Instant Pot with pressure valve to sealing. Pressure Cook for 8 minutes followed by 5-minute Natural Release.

  • Open the Instant Pot. Take out the rice and trivet if cooking rice.

  • Add a few spoonfuls of hot curry to the yogurt and mix well. This step is important to avoid the cold yogurt getting split in the curry.

  • Cook on Saute mode to thicken the sauce. Garnish with chopped cilantro!

Stove Top Recipe

  • Heat oil in a large skillet or pot. Add cardamom, cloves, black pepper, and cumin, and saute for 30 seconds or until aromatic.

  • Add onions and salt and cook on medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until the onions turn light brown and translucent. Cover the pot with a lid to speed up the cooking of onions. Add ground spices, ginger, garlic, and chicken.

  • Add ¾ cup of water and give a quick stir. Cover the pot and cook on medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Use a digital thermometer to make sure that the internal temperature of the thickest piece is at 165 F.

  • Add a few spoonfuls of the curry to the yogurt and mix well. Stir in the yogurt in the chicken korma and gently mix. Garnish with cilantro.

Notes

How To Skin Chicken Drumsticks Here are the quick and easy steps to de-skin the drumsticks and check out the video tutorial on Instagram:
  • Break a paper towel into two pieces
  • Use each piece as a grip to hold the two ends of the drumstick
  • Then pull down the skin from the top thick part towards the bottom pulling apart the skin
Variations 
  • We enjoy this curry a bit soupy. If you want a thick curry, reduce the ¼ cup water by adding only 2 tablespoons of water and saute in the end for a few extra minutes.
  • For boneless chicken thighs or breasts – cook for 5 minutes followed by a 10-minute natural pressure release. 

Nutrition

Calories: 192kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 719mg | Potassium: 405mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 282IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 2mg

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Author: Archana

Hey there! I am a techie turned recipe developer, cooking instructor, and food blogger. I love food and enjoy developing easy and healthy recipes for busy lifestyles. I live in New Jersey with my husband and two sons.
Source: Ministry of Curry
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