Chicken Korma
Place of origin India, Pakistan
Main ingredients Yogurt, cream
Cookbook: Korma 

Korma (from Turkish kavurma), also spelled kormaa, qorma, khorma, or kurma, is a dish originating in Central Asia[1] consisting of meat or vegetables braised in a spiced sauce made with yogurt, cream, nut or seed paste.


  • History 1
  • Variations 2
    • In the United Kingdom 2.1
    • Navratan korma 2.2
  • Preparation 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The word "korma" is derived from Urdu ḳormā or ḳormah, meaning "braise",[2] derived in turn from Turkish kavurma, literally meaning "cooked meat".[3] Korma (قورمه in Persian)[4] has its roots in the Mughlai cuisine[1] of modern-day India and Pakistan. It is a characteristic Moghul dish which can be traced back to the 16th century and to the Mughal incursions into present-day Northern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Classically, a korma is defined as a dish where meat or vegetables are braised with water, stock, and yogurt or cream added. The technique covers many different styles of korma.

The flavour of a korma is based on a mixture of spices, including ground coriander and cumin, combined with yogurt kept below curdling temperature and incorporated slowly and carefully with the meat juices. Traditionally, this would have been carried out in a pot set over a very low fire, with charcoal on the lid to provide all-round heat. A korma can be mildly spiced or fiery and may use lamb, chicken, beef or game; some kormas combine meat and vegetables such as spinach and turnip. The term Shahi (English: Royal), used for some kormas indicates its status as a prestige dish, rather than an everyday meal, and its association with the court.


In the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, a korma is a mildly spiced dish with a thick sauce, served in curry houses. It often features almonds, cashews or other nuts, and coconut or coconut milk.

Navratan korma

Navratan korma is a vegetarian korma made with vegetables and either paneer (an Indian cheese) or nuts - or sometimes both.[5] "Navratan" means nine gems, and it is common for the recipe to include nine different vegetables.


A chicken korma dish of Pakistan

The korma style is similar to all other braising techniques in that the meat or vegetable is first cooked briskly or seared using a high heat and then subjected to long, slow cooking using moist heat and a minimum of added liquid. The pot may be sealed with dough during the last stages of cooking.

Chicken or other poultry requires fairly thorough coating with the spice mixture, or marinating, and heating evenly in cooking oil or ghee at a high enough temperature to cook through, followed by a cooling period after which yogurt or cream may be added. However, lamb requires a very brief initial searing to brown the surface of each piece, followed by a braising at a continuous low temperature. This prevents the lamb from toughening, a particular problem if a large amount is to be cooked; temperature heterogeneity is difficult if the mixture is left to stand. This low cooking temperature is usually quite difficult to achieve, but if done correctly results in a memorable dish.

The korma can make use of a technique called bagar: later in the cooking, additional spices are mixed with heated ghee and then combined with the sauce formed by the braising; the pan is then covered and shaken to release steam and mix the contents.[6]

There is a wide variation between individual korma and other "curry" recipes. Chilli and ginger are often used, but the precise method of preparation results in widely different flavors. Bay leaves or dried coconut may be added, the latter being a predominantly South Indian flavoring.

In few korma recipes coconut is used as the spice base like vegetable korma with coconut.[7]

A korma pilau (pilaf) is a rice and meat dish made with braised meat.[8]


  1. ^ a b (Times Online)My Chicken KormaAmjum Anand (2007),
  2. ^ Singh, D. Indian Cookery, Penguin, 1970, pp.24-25
  3. ^ "korma, n.". OED Online. June 2013. Oxford University Press. Retrieved: 2013-08-29.
  4. ^ Hyderabadi Korma with Puri's Namita's Kitchen. Retrieved: 2013-08-29.
  5. ^ "Navratan Korma - Nine-gem Curry". about.com. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  6. ^ Singh, p.26
  7. ^ Harini. "vegetable korma recipe, how to make veg kurma". Cook click n devour!!!. 
  8. ^ Singh, p.154

External links

  • The dictionary definition of korma at Wiktionary