Hyderabadi Chicken Korma

Spiced chicken curry cooked with whole garam masala, turmeric and cashew nut paste

Hyderabadi Murgh Kaju Korma

There is such a variety of Kormas within regions of India; each using their unique techniques of cooking and ingredients that are synonymous with local communities. One of the most popular dishes from my cook book Indian Kitchen was the Hyderabadi green chicken masala. Apart from the inclusion of coriander & mint making it such a stand out dish I also use cashew nuts which lend a lovely richness and creamy flavour to the curry. Blended cashew nut paste is commonly used in India cooking and especially when you are looking to get that smooth creamy consistency yet lending some richness to the dish. A blended paste like this is great to thicken sauces too.

A few years back I attended a family wedding in Hyderabad and the green chicken curry was the recipe my friend’s mother so kindly shared with me. That evening, I was invited to an Indian feast at their home where she cooked a korma. I was curious to find out if all kormas were painstakingly lengthy recipes and if they took forever to make. She disagreed and cited her method of cooking as easy as it could get, to give it a creamy delicious gravy. And I agree her recipe which she inherited from her mother in law, is a classic example of how simple it can be with amazing flavours. While she was talking me through how she had made it, I wrote it all down on a scrappy piece of paper. I remember rushing to write it just so I wouldn’t forget the little tips she gave to cook the korma. Looking through my notes recently I found that little piece of paper and here’s the result. A really easy yet scrummy korma which I savoured during the meal years ago in Hyderabad and still remember fondly.

This Murgh Kaju ka Korma is flavoured with whole spices including cardamom, cloves and bay leaves which give it the required warmth alongside chilli for the heat. I’d cook this recipe when I want to impress my guests with a delicious korma. If you are vegan and planning to cook this Korma, make sure to leave the yoghurt out but add a little more of the cashew nut paste for a luscious curry.

Served with a pulao and some salad it really doesn’t need much else.

Method

  1. Mix the yoghurt with the chilli powder and turmeric powder in a bowl and set aside. Add the ginger and garlic to a blender with a little water and blend to a thick smooth paste. Set aside and in the same blender add the soaked cashewnuts with 100mls of the soaking liquid. Blend to a smooth fine paste and set aside.

  2. In a heavy bottom large non stick saucepan heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the whole spices and fry for 2-3 seconds. Followed by the chopped onions; stirring well and continuing to fry for 16-18 minutesHyderabadi Murgh Kaju Korma (4)

  3. As they begin to change colour and brown add the chicken along with the ginger and garlic paste and fry for 5 minutes. Stir well making sure to seal the chicken pieces.

  4. Add the yoghurt spice mix and stir well coating the chicken pieces and continue to fry for 2-3 minutes. Add 50mls water, season to taste and simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes with the lid on. Make sure to stir half way through the cooking process.

  5. Now add the cashewnut paste and simmer for a further 5 minutes over a low heat stirring continuously. Garnish with fresh coriander and cashewnuts. Serve with naan or pulao.

  • Anna Stepanova

    Hello, Maunika!
    I don’t have any cinnamon sticks and whole cardamon pods, but I have ground cinnamon, ground cardamon and ground garam masala. Is it possible to replace whole spices by ground ones on the step 2? What amount of ground spices should I take, if this replacement is possible?
    Thanks in advance for your reply!

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Hi Anna, The flavour of this Korma come from the warmth of the whole spices and as such would be required for cook at the start. Using powdered spices would alter the taste completely so I would recommend whole spices for this curry rather than powdered. There is another recipe for an easy korma you could try here – http://maunikagowardhan.co.uk/cook-in-a-curry/easing-myself-into-january-with-a-murgh-korma/ You can leave out the cardamom pods and swap with a pinch of powdered cardamom at the end. Happy cooking!

      • Anna Stepanova

        Thank you for your advice, Maunika!
        I like cashewnuts so much, that I will buy the whole spices specially for this dish) It must be delicious!

  • shimon london

    hello – does anyone know any non-dairy replacements for the Greek yogurt? Does coconut cream help or soya cream?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Hello! Yes you could swap for non dairy yogurt as well. Also the quantity of yogurt in this Korma is not a lot so would be fine to leave it out and add a little more of the cashew nut paste instead for a creamier texture in the curry. Enjoy!

  • Fathma

    hi Maunika,
    This is such a lovely recipe and I so want to try it out however, Would it be possible to change the cashew nut to something else since my husband is allergic to cashew nuts :(

  • Katie Egervari

    I didn’t quite get the same colour as yours :/ But thanks for the recipe! I also have your book too so I will keep making more 😉

  • Katie Egervari

    Also, I desecrated your recipe. I reheated some left-overs, and I was itching to have it with hot chili sauce for some reason. And you know what? It’s like a really good match! Haha.

  • Rowan Love

    May I ask, how long do I soak the cashews for?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Around 15-20 minutes soaked in warm water should be good to soften them. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Peter MacQuibban

    Maunika, you’re a real inspiration. Keep up the delicious work!

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      How lovely!! Thank you for your support and hope you enjoy the recipes.

  • Kriss Mart
  • Prachi Gupta

    I can’t wait to make this! Perfect for a typical Pacific Northwest rainy afternoon. Photos are stunning, as always :)
    Ashi Verma

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Thank you:) One of my favorite curries x

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