Most people I know have only experienced chicken korma cooked in the northern style. This recipe for the southern style, kozhi kurma, is typical of Andhra cuisine and is very different to the kormas served in restaurants.
The first main difference is that it uses coconut milk instead of milk products.
The second main difference is that it is far more robustly spiced than you may be used to. It includes chilli, onion, garlic and turmeric, none of which feature in the northern style. If you are looking for the northern version, look at our recipe for Lucknow chicken korma.
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 item to serve with this in our household.
- 800 g chicken thigh fillets – fat and skin removed, cut into 3cm pieces
for the marinade
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp salt
for the masala
- 4 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 25 g raw cashews
- 3 red chillies – chopped
- 4 cloves garlic – chopped
- 20 g ginger – chopped
- ½ cup coconut – shredded
- 1 tsp white poppy seeds
- 1 tbsp gingelly oil – see notes
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 indian bay leaf
- 1 stick cassia – crumbled
- 4 green cardamom pods – broken open
- 4 cloves
- 12 curry leaves
- 6 shallots – finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tomatoes – pulp removed and pureed
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 200 ml thick coconut milk
- Dry the chicken pieces with absorbent paper and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle over the turmeric and salt. Mix well, ensuring an even coating on the chicken. Cover, refrigerate and marinate overnight
- Heat a small frypan over medium heat. Add the coriander and cumin seeds and toss gently until the seeds start to colour and become aromatic. Remove from the heat, allow to cool then grind to a fine powder.
- In the same pan, toast 12 of the cashew nuts. Set aside.
- Grind the red chillies, garlic and ginger with as little water as possible to make a thick paste. Set aside.
- Grind the coconut, remaining cashew nuts and poppy seeds with as little water as possible to make a thick paste. Set aside.
- Using a wide pan, heat the oil over medium-low 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.
- Add the chopped shallots, sprinkle with the salt and cook for ten minutes until they soften 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.
- Add the pureed tomato and cook for three minutes until the raw smell disappears. Add the ground coriander and cumin seeds and chilli powder. Mix well, and cook for another minute.
- Add the coconut, cashew and poppy seed paste to the pan, and mix well.
- Add the marinated chicken pieces and mix well. Increase heat to medium and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally, allowing the chicken to colour.
- Add the coconut milk and bring the pan to a simmer. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer for another ten minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.
- Remove from heat, then add the garam masala, coriander and mint leaves. Mix well, cover and leave for 10 minutes for flavours to develop.
- Garnish with the reserved toasted cashews and serve.
- Gingelly oil is Indian sesame oil. It is very different from the Asian sesame oil, being much less intense in flavour. Substitute with vegetable oil if unobtainable.