Most people I know have only eaten chicken korma cooked in the northern style. This southern style, kozhi kurma, is quite different.

The first main difference is that it uses coconut milk in place of cow’s milk products.

The second main difference is that it is far more robustly spiced than the northern style. It includes chilli, onion, garlic and turmeric, none of which feature in the northern style.

This dish can be quite fiery, although if you make it too hot you will lose some of the subtlety of the dish.

This dish is best served with simple accompaniments. Idli are a favourite in our household to serve with this.

the recipe

prep 30 minutes
cook 30 minutes
mariante 12 hours
total 1 hour
servings 4 servings
calories 744 kcal


to serve

  • ½ cup coriander leaves
  • ½ cup mint leaves


  1. Wash, drain and pat dry the chicken pieces and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle over the turmeric and salt, and mix well, ensuring an even coating on the chicken. Cover, refrigerate and marinate overnight

  2. Grind the red chillies, garlic and ginger with as little water as possible to make a thick paste. Set aside.
  3. Toast 12 of the cashew nuts. Set aside.
  4. Grind coconut, the remaining 12 cashew nuts and poppy seeds with as little water as possible to make a thick paste. Set aside.
  5. Using a wide pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the fennel seeds, cumin seeds, bay leaf, crumbled cinnamon, cardamom pods and cloves. Allow to sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the curry leaves and stir.
  6. Add the chopped shallots and cook for three minutes until they caramelise and the raw smell disappears. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli paste, stir well and cook for a further two minutes or until the raw smell disappears.

  7. Add the pureed tomato and cook for three minutes until raw smell disappears. Add the ground coriander and cumin seeds and chilli powder. Mix well, and cook for another minute.

  8. Add the coconut, cashew and poppy seed paste to the pan, and mix well.
  9. Add the marinated chicken pieces and cook on medium heat for five minutes, stirring occassionally.  Reduce heat, add coconut milk, cover pan, and simmer for another five minutes, or until chicken is cooked.

  10. Add salt and garam masala and mix well. Remove from heat, and garnish with coriander, mint and the roasted cashews. Cover and leave for 10 minutes for flavours to develop. Serve.
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