Easy BIR Chicken Korma with Coconut Milk

Chicken Korma with Coconut Milk is my attempt at making a UK Indian restaurant style korma that is rich, creamy and mildly spiced as well as quick and easy to make. Chicken Korma is an extremely popular dish in UK Indian restaurants that it tops the polls of Britain’s favourite curry, sometimes beating Chicken Tikka Masala.

The dish of Chicken Korma served in UK Indian restaurant looks nothing like the dish found in India, as can be seen from the picture below. Korma originates from the Mughlai cuisines of the Indian subcontinent and it’s name come from the Urdu word qormā, meaning braised. Originally the dish was cooked with various spices such as coriander, cumin and mixed with yoghurt. Though korma is thought of as a mild curry dish in the West today, it traditionally it could range from mild to spicy hot.

Authentic Indian Chicken Korma

Authentic Indian Chicken Korma

Like most curries served in British Indian Restaurants (BIR), Chicked Korma is a dish that has evolved separately from the original dishes found in India and are a result of adapting dishes to Western tastes and simplifying the cooking of dishes in restaurant kitchens to be quick and simple to produce.

My recipe for BIR Chicken Korma is slightly  different than most found in restaurants, in that it uses coconut milk instead of yoghurt or cream and uses chicken thighs instead of the more common chicken breast. I think these changes result in a far richer, creamier and tasty curry with the addition of dried fenugreek towards the end of cooking adding a slight sweet, nutty, curry flavour that enhances the dish with a more complex flavour not found in some blander tasting kormas.

Chicken Korma Recipe Coconut Milk

Chicken Korma Recipe Coconut Milk

Chicken Korma Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken Thighs – boneless and skinless
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 150ml (5fl oz) of BIR curry base
  • 2 tsp of ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger puree
  • 1 tbsp garlic puree
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 6 crushed cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice
  • 0.5 tsp of salt

To serve handful of cilantro (fresh coriander), chopped cashews, almonds or desiccated coconut

Chicken Korma Spices

Chicken Korma Spices


  1. Add the ghee or vegetable oil to a skillet over a medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped chicken to the oil and cook until just coloured
  3. Add the ginger and garlic puree to the pan with the ground turmeric and cardamom pods.
  4. Cook the spices for a minute or so, then add the BIR curry base and the coconut milk
  5. Gently cook the chicken mixture for 12 mins until the chicken is just cooked
  6. Add the dried fenugreek leaves, lemon juice and salt.
  7. Serve over boiled basmati rice and top with a selection of cilantro (fresh coriander), chopped cashews, almonds or desiccated coconut.
Chicken Korma with Coconut Milk

Chicken Korma with Coconut Milk

Essential Kitchen Supplies

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