How to Make a Rich Chicken Korma with Perfect Rice

Appearing on menus the world over, Chicken Korma has rightly earned its place as a favourite around the globe.  It is rich, creamy and flavourful, with a hint of sweetness and unique nuttiness which is always the signature of a good Korma.  The perfect comfort food, it is a real experience and a joy to prepare.

There are two distinct ‘halves’ to this recipe – the first being rice and spice preparation; the second is cooking and assembly of the dish. Take your time and enjoy!

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Time: 30 mins prep; 20 mins Cooking
  • Serves: 4 – 6
  • Calories: 680 per serving (approx)


You will need:

  • 1 x large frying pan (with lid, or foil to cover)
  • 3 x medium bowls (for sauce preparation)
  • 1 x small dish for dissolving the creamed coconut block
  • 1 x saucepan and bowl for rice


  • 6 chicken thighs (boneless, skin removed, cubed)
  • 360g basmati rice
  • 3 medium (or 2 large) onions, chopped
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 300ml single cream
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 tsp granulated sugar
  • ½ x Creamed Coconut block (100g)
  • 525ml water (plus extra for rice)
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 2tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2tsp ground fennel
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • ½tsp black pepper
  • 2tbsp concentrated tomato puree
  • 1tbsp dried onion
  • 2tsp garlic powder
  • 2tsp salt
  • 3tbsp dried coriander
  • 3tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1tbsp nigella seeds
  • 3 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • Small handful fresh coriander, for dressing


Stage 1 – Rice

  1. Tip the dry rice into the cold dry saucepan, noting how high in the pan it reaches.  Return the rice to a bowl, then fill the pan with water to twice the height of where the rice had reached, and heat to a rolling boil.
  2. Add the rice to the boiling water and stir.  Return to the boil, stir again and then reduce to a simmer.
  3. Once at a simmer, place a securely fitting lid on the saucepan.  Cook for 13 minutes.  It is very important not to remove the saucepan lid from hereon in, until ready to serve.
  4. After 13 minutes remove the pan from the heat and set aside.  The rice can sit for 25 to 45 minutes – plenty of time for the curry to be prepared.

Stage 2 – Curry Paste Preparation

  1. Mix the coconut block with 50ml water in a small bowl andallow to dissolve.
  2. In the first bowl, mix the following: 1tbsp sunflower oil; 2tsp sugar; 1tsp ground ginger; 2tsp turmeric; 1tsp ground cinnamon; 2tsp ground fennel; 1tsp ground cumin; ½ tsp black pepper; 1tbsp dried onion; 1tbsp concentrated tomato puree; 1tsp garlic powder; 1tbsp dried coriander.  
  3. Add the coconut block mix and stir to a paste.  Set aside.

Stage 3 – Flavour Puree

  1. In the second bowl, combine the following: 1tbsp desiccatedcoconut, 25ml water, 1tsp sugar, 1tbsp sunflower oil, 1tsp garlic powder, 1tbsp tomato puree; 1tbsp dried coriander; pinch saffron.

Stage 4 – Spice Finisher

  1. In the third bowl, combine the following: 2tbsp desiccated coconut; 1tbsp nigella seeds; 3 x crushed cardamom pods; 1tsp ground cinnamon; 1tbsp dried coriander; 1tbsp sunflower oil

Cooking and Assembly

With the spices prepared, the dish is now ready to be cooked and assembled.  

  1. Heat 1tbsp sunflower oil in the frying pan, add the onions and set over a medium heat until they are soft.  This usually takes around 8 minutes.
  2. Add the Curry Paste prepared in stage 2 together with 50ml water, stirring until incorporated.  Add in the chicken and the Flavour Puree made in stage 3. Cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining water, stirring well.  Cook for 5 minutes, then turn down the heat to medium low.  Add the ground almonds, 1tsp sugar, and the single cream.  Bring to a very gentle simmer – cover and cook for a further 5 minutes.  
  4. Mix in the Spice Finisher from stage 4, cover again and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid from the rice prepared in the first stage and use a fork, fluffing it well.  It should be perfectly cooked and ready to serve.
  6. Serve the korma sauce on a bed of the warm rice, with a sprinkle of the coriander to dress.