Shahi Korma is a beautiful dish of melt-in-your-mouth chicken with subtle tastes of mace, green cardamom, and aroma of kewra. Sheermal bread is traditionally served with Korma. Kormas are made for extremely special occasions, such as weddings or large gatherings. Pieces of chicken are slowly cooked in a thick, fragrant onion sauce layered with sweet and spicy spices, making them so rich and luscious. It is fondly called “Dilli ki Shadiyon wali korma. “This dish captures the city’s imagination from the by-lanes of Old Delhi.
A korma is a meat stew that is cooked in yoghurt and spices. Nut pastes are sometimes used in this curry or korma to add weight or richness. Like biryani, each region has its own korma, with a wide range of ingredients and each one competing and claiming to be superior. The unique blend of spices, the addition of kewra flavor, and the use of fried onion paste define Delhi’s korma. This is a sumptuous dish that is typically served at weddings in Old Delhi or in old Muslim districts. It goes well with tandoori roti, naan, or the thick breads.
This korma was introduced to us by a cab driver when we were in Delhi NCR. It was during one of my husband’s official trips that he hired a cab to return home from the airport. The cab driver insisted he wanted to stop to buy some food as a take away. Hearing from him about the good Muslim food, my husband gladly agreed to the halt. He also shared with my husband that the place is very famous for its kormas and stews, and people actually pre-book and order kormas for weddings in large quantities. My husband soon ordered it for himself and got it packed to bring home. I was not a big fan of north Indian kormas as they looked oily, but when I tried it, it was totally different and full of flavours packed together. I was so surprised and realised I needed to try this at home. I tried multiple recipes, but somehow I was not getting the same flavors. I thought this recipe took me a toll and felt I may never find the same taste. But eventually, I decided to combine some recipes, and somehow it turned out wonderful.
My husband quickly bonded with the cab driver over food, and he would only call him for his official airport transfers. He also dropped us off at the airport when we were moving back from Delhi. We always remember and cook this korma, which not only reminds us of Delhi but also of the bond we had with the people there. It might not be very close, but some people will always be in the memories of our lives.
This recipe is very special and traditional party dish with tender pieces of meat covered with special masala that gives a beautiful aroma which makes it irresistible. Just follow the steps properly and make it like a professional.
- Chicken -1 kg
- Red chili powder- 2 teaspoons
- Salt- 2 teaspoons
- Ginger paste -1 table spoon
- Garlic paste – 2 Tablespoons
- Yoghurt -1 tablespoon
- Oil or ghee- 1 cup (200ml approx)
- Onions slices -250 gms or 2 big nos.
- Whole Garam masala or spices- 7 cloves, 4 nos cardamom, 2 pc star anise, few pepper corns, mace and 2 bay leaves
- Coriander powder 1 tablespoon
- Coconut powder or desiccated coconut 1 tablespoon
- Yoghurt 1 cup
- Almonds crushed 7 nos.
- Fresh cream 1 tablespoon.
- Cumin (jeera), cinnamon 1 stick, mace 1, cardamom 4-5 pods, cloves 4 nos and few peppercorns. (for spice mix)
- Kewra water 3 teaspoon.
- Whole Almonds (optional).
- Marinate cleaned and cut chicken pieces with chili powder, salt ginger and garlic paste and yoghurt, Mix well and marinate the chicken for one hour. Keep aside.
- Prepare a spice mix using Cumin cinnamon, mace, cardamom and peppercorns. Keep aside
- Now thinly slice onions and fry them in a cup of oil or ghee. The onions should be golden crisp and take care it doesn’t turn dark brown. It should have a light pinkish brown colour. Fry the onions on a high flame stirring continuously so as to fry them evenly. Drain them from oil and keep aside to cool
- Add whole Garam masala into the same oil in which the onions were fried. Add the marinated chicken and keep stirring the chicken on high flame.
- Add coriander powder and coconut powder to the chicken mixing well. Cover and cook on high flame till the masala is cooked and till the oil separates.
- Add beaten curd, crushed almonds to the chicken and mix well. Cover again and cook for 5 minutes on medium flame. Keep stirring in between.
- Now crush or ground the fried onions and add to the chicken. Add almonds and add fresh cream mixing well.
- Cook them covered for 5 more minutes and add kewra water and one teaspoon of the prepared spice mix.
- Adjust the gravy by adding 1 cup water, check for salt and allow to simmer again for 10 minutes.
- Serve hot with breads or Rice.
Use a heavy bottom pan or a cast iron or Dutch oven to make this korma.
The onions should not turn dark but should be crisp as it is the key ingredient that maintains the flavour and colour of the korma. If the onions turn dark, it will make the korma turn dark and its taste will be affected. Do not add water while grinding or crushing the fried onion. You can simply pulse them using your mixer grinder.
You can prepare the Spice mix ahead and store in an airtight container.
Do not use very sour yoghurt to add to the korma.
Soak the almonds and peel the skin off before adding it to the korma.
Do not add fresh cream more than the amount mentioned. It will change the texture of the korma.