Chicken Korma with Coconut Milk

Chicken Korma dishes originated from South Asia and can be traced back to the 16th century. Today, the dish is still traditionally served in many countries. In the Caribbean, Korma is often made with curry spices and the rich smoothness of coconut milk. On the island, Korma is sometimes referred to as coconut rundown. Oftentimes, coconut rundown is used to flavor vegetables chicken, fish and other meats. Traditionally, the word ‘rundown’ refers to the oil that comes from coconut milk when you boil it. The sauce is smooth, creamy and lightly spicy.  It is a delicious sauce that goes well with chicken or vegetables.

Korma style cooking is like regular braising techniques where meats or vegetables are first seared or cooked quickly on high heat.  Then using minimum broth and moist heat, the meat or vegetables are cooked slowly in a spiced sauce made with cream, yogurt, nut or seed paste. This technique locks in the juices with the searing then adds extra moisture while the food cooks slowly in the sauce. The slow cooking method also fuses the spices into the vegetables and meat.

Sometimes korma is cooked with ghee and extra spices like cumin, coriander and bay leaves. The ghee and spices are added to the meat or vegetables and the mixture is then braised. Afterwards, the pan is covered and lightly shaken to mix the contents and release steam. Also, dried coconut may be added.

Chicken Korma is generally served with steamed rice or naan bread.


Serves 4

Prep 40 min

Cook time 35 min

Total time 1 hour 15 min

Ingredients for Chicken Korma

  • 1.1 pounds (about 4 breasts) chicken
  • ½ -1 teaspoon turmeric (to taste)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cups coconut milk (the thick type)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste or fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala or curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • A few mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oil


  1. Wash chicken and place in a bowl or glass container. Rub the chicken with salt, turmeric and garam masala (or curry powder). Set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a kadai or deep cooking pot.  Add onions and sauté until they start changing color, about 5 minutes.  Stir in ginger, garlic and mint leaves. Sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to low. Stir in marinated chicken and chili powder. Cook chicken until it is halfway done. Approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in coconut milk. Add ¼ to ½ cup of water if the sauce is too thick, to taste. Cook the chicken on low heat until the sauce becomes thick. Add more water if needed.
  5. When chicken is done, splash with lime juice and then sprinkle with garam masala (curry powder.
  6. Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley.
  7. Serve with hot steamed rice or naan bread


  1. Other spices that go great with this recipe are cumin and coriander. Yogurt is also a nice addition.

Best Cookware to Use

Kadai or deep cooking pot

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