Thursday, February 9, 2012

Potato and Chicken Korma

Potato and Chicken Korma

I felt like making Indian food last night and my daughter and I decided on Korma.  Funny thing:  although I have eaten Korma many times,  I was  not really sure what Korma was until I read up on it.   I have had korma from different countries and there seems to be some elements I have come to think of as belonging but I am still not sure the difference between korma and various kinds of curry! For our meal last night, our  “adopted” daughter from India was here and let me know her preferences for spices and what not and I have eaten korma often enough to know what I was looking for in this dish.
Now I know some people will read my recipe here and say “no, that is not right!” but I have come to understand that curries are like BBQ in the USA: everyone has their own regional or personal ideas of what ingredients are authentic in the sauce  and how it is to be cooked. People have strong opinions on what is correct although this opinion varies from person to person and place to place. So I apologize if my version offends, dear readers and you are more than welcome to share your recipes in the comments J

My limited understanding of korma is that it is kind of stew like- vegetables or meat braised with onions, tomatoes, chilies with spices like coriander, turmeric.  I used mustard seeds, cumin seeds, garam masala and a pinch of cinnamon and yogurt added to the sauce. It can vary in spiciness and main ingredients but  I used potato as the main item along with chicken. I was planning on making a vegetarian Korma only but ended up splitting the korma into two pots- one with chicken since my dinner guests like to have some meat.

For this recipe, I used both types of potatoes listed here- russet and red. Russets are more flakey and break apart. I like their flavor and texture and if you were only going to use one type I would opt for russet. Red potatoes have a nice flavor with a waxy, harder texture that keeps its shape better, keeping its form even if you cook and stir a long time. Using both means you will have smaller bits and chunks of potato in the finished dish.

You may also spice and season this according to your taste. Kormas can be mild or spicy so do whatever you like best.  I used mustard oil  (from Indian food store) and mustard seeds because our “daughter” likes it this way but if you don’t like mustard, skip it! Use mild chilies if you don’t like it hot and even skip them and some spice if you prefer.

You will need two pans for this- a large shallow skillet for browning and a nice, deep pot such as a dutch oven or 5 quart pot.

Potato and Chicken Korma

Vegetable oil  and/ or Mustard oil  
1 tsp. each whole mustard seed and whole cumin seed
4 small whole  red chilies, dried or 2 green chilies, minced
1 – 1 &  ½  large onions
3 Russet and 3 red potatoes or whatever potatoes you want to use, washed, peeled and diced
1 tsp coriander AND turmeric
1-2 Tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. Garlic powder
1 small pinch of cinnamon AND one of cloves
2-3  cups vegetable broth
Chicken thighs, about 5, boneless, skinless, diced
5-7 roma tomatoes , small diced
2 tsp. garlic paste
1 tsp. ginger paste
2 bay leaves
2-4curry leaves optional
1 cup or so Greek yogurt, 2% or regular yogurt (may substitute  coconut milk if avoiding dairy)

Prep potatoes, wash, peel and cut into bite size chunks. Make sure potato pieces are very dry.  Heat large, shallow skillet and add vegetable oil or a mix of veggie and mustard oil if you like. Once oil is hot add mustard and cumin seeds and heat till they pop and jump. Add potatoes and spices and cook on medium-high. Don’t overcrowd pan or turn pieces over too often until potatoes start to brown and crisp. Lightly Brown on at least a couple sides . Add onions and chilies and cook for 4 minutes.  Remove potatoes to a large pot- 5 qt. or so. Add vegetable or chicken broth to the large deep pot and begin to simmer on med-low.

Cut chicken into bite sized pieces, season with salt and pepper and add to the shallow skillet with a bit of oil. Brown for a couple minutes and then add diced tomatoes, garlic, and ginger.  Cook for a minute and then add to the large pot of potatoes along with bay leaves, curry leaves and vegetable broth.   Heat on med-low for about 30 minutes or more until potatoes are nice and soft and chicken is cooked through.   Remove from heat and cool a bit. Remove bay, curry leaves and chilies.  Add yogurt, mix well and heat on low.

Serve over basmati rice or coconut-cashew rice, with naan or paratha and perhaps a dahl or vegetable dish .


  1. I had never even considered a potato in a curry recipe before but now that I see it, I don't know why it should never have occurred to me. This looks like it would satisfy any curry cravings I may have!

  2. I love that you added potato into the curry!! My mother does that sometimes to stretch out the meat. :) You have some great flavors going here. :) Well done. :)

  3. Thanks for the comments!!! The first time I had potato curry was at our friend's house when I was just married...long time ago :-) She was from Northern China and said they often use potatoes in a curry dish. More recently, we make Aloo curry with our friend from Northern India. I have also tried a malaysian curry with potato and I think the goat head curry from Jamaica, which I did not actually try, had potatoes in it. So it seems cetain regions like it and as Ramona mentioned, it is often used to stretch out a recipe using less meat. I just love curry flavor and potato!

  4. The first time I tried making Indian food, the recipe I used was SO spicy it practically burned a hole through my tongue! I've been too chicken to try it ever since! But every time I see a recipe I think hmmm...

    1. I hope you will give Indian food another try because Indian food is not necessarily spicy. For this recipe, skip the chilies and cumin seed, mustard seed and only use a bit of garam marsala- maybe 1/2-1 tsp. Or substitute 1 tsp mild curry powder for all spice. The potatoes and yogurt really help keep this recipe mild. I think you can always try less spice than a recipe calls for and add more.

  5. I've never had Korma, but from what I read it looks delicious. My neighbor Indian friend always make some non-spicy Indian food for me since she knows I can't take any spice. I wish that I could eat more spicy food to enjoy the full extent of spicy food though. I love curry - Japanese, Thai, Indian... really delish.

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  7. This recipe is as similar as which i eat in an Indian restaurant in Calgary, my experience is awesome, Thanks for giving such a wonderful knowledge about it, now i am going to cook at home with the help of your blog. Thank you..

    1. Thank you so much for commenting Andrew!! Made my day :-) I am glad this post helped you feel confident to try Korma at home. Indian food is so good and pretty easy to make once you have the right spices and such! Happy cooking!