Chicken Kurma Recipe | Chicken Kurma with Potato

Chicken Kurma Recipe is a coconut-based chicken curry that is very popular across South India. This South Indian chicken kurma makes for a delicious side dish that pairs well with umpteen Indian flatbread and pulao varieties.

Indian cuisine is a vast constellation of culinary influences and traditions from all over the Asian continent. The dishes vary widely between North Indian and South Indian cuisine. The ingredients depend on the provenance of the specific dish.

Kurma is a nut-based gravy. This is the main flavor profile of any kurma recipe. A very small quantity of tomato is added for acidity and to cut through the creaminess.

My Mom makes the best kurma ever, so I grew up eating it often over the weekend. Most of the time, mom would also add potatoes to increase the quantity of the curry. I’m sharing my mother’s recipe with a twist that enriches the taste and texture further.

chicken kurma recipe

About Chicken Kurma Recipe

The Chicken Kurma Recipe is simple and easy to make in which marinated chicken is cooked in a coconut-nuts-seeds-based gravy and flavored with aromatic spices.

Potatoes are a staple in Indian cuisine and are frequently added to chicken curries. Potatoes absorb all the wonderful flavors from the gravy and make the meal more hearty.

The distinguishing flavors of a kurma depend a lot on the whole spices, spices, and how well the curry is allowed to simmer over low heat.

With regional and personal influences, there are many variations to the chicken kurma recipes with subtle differences in the ingredients and their quantities.

The key ingredients to make a flavorful chicken kurma are tempering the whole spices – bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and green cardamom. Do not skip on these whole spices else you will miss out on the fragrant flavor.

These whole spices along with coconut, cashews, and poppy seeds paste bring in a unique aroma and taste. The paste not only adds creaminess but also acts as a thickening agent to the gravy.

Apart from whole spices, the recipe also uses powdered spices like turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, and garam masala.

The beauty of this chicken kurma is its velvety smooth gravy which is accomplished by adding a paste of onion, coconut, cashews, and tomatoes.

There is a little bit of roasting, grinding, and prep work involved but it’s totally worth it. This recipe will reward you with extra tender and juicy chicken chunks doused in an amazing thick creamy and nutty gravy. It has the goodness of whole spice flavors and the creaminess, the subtle sweet delicate flavor from the coconut and cashews.

I always make a big batch and store the leftovers in the fridge. The chicken kurma curry tastes even better the next day.

Reasons to try

Easy to make.

Delicious.

No marination is needed.

Connects you with authentic South Indian flavors.

A perfect dish for parties, get-togethers, or guests.

Pairs well with both rice and flatbread.

Pro Tips

To make a chicken curry, the best choice would be bone-in chicken pieces. The juices from the bones lend a delicious flavor to the curry. Also, the bone-in meat helps to thicken the gravy.

Cut the chicken into a medium size even pieces. So that they cook evenly.

A good kurma curry gets its texture, taste, and aroma from the kurma masala paste. Hence, make the kurma paste from scratch.

Adding whole spices are optional but I highly recommend them for enhanced flavors.

This curry has a medium spicy taste because of whole spices, red chili powder, chicken masala, and garam masala. To spice up the curry, add green chilies. Chop them or grind them along with tomatoes.

If your palate is not accustomed to spices, you can tone down the spiciness by reducing the quantity of ground spices.

The chicken kurma has a luscious and viscous gravy. Hence, do not add too much water while pressure cooking. But, if you want to make kurma extra saucy add hot water only towards the end once the chicken is cooked tender.

You can follow the same procedure and cook this in an Instant pot and in a heavy bottom pan over the stovetop.

Ingredients to make Chicken Kurma

Chicken: I prefer to use curry-cut pieces of a whole chicken that is a mix of tender bone-in and boneless leg, breast & wing pieces.

Feel free to use only chicken drumsticks. But if boneless chicken is your preference, use chicken breasts or thighs and cut it into 2 1/2 inch pieces to ensure they cook evenly.

Potatoes

Oil: You can use your favorite neutral flavor oil.

Kurma paste: onions, dry/fresh coconut, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, cashews, and poppy seeds.

Tomato adds water and resulting in a curry-like consistency. I just love the flavor and texture that tomato gives to the kurma, so I prefer to add it.

If you live in a country where poppy seeds or khus-khus are not allowed, then feel free to skip them.

Dry Spices: Turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, red chili powder (this one is spicy).

For tempering: Bay leaf, green cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon stick, and star anise. ( you may skip them all).

How to make Chicken Kurma (stepwise photos)

Making Kurma Paste

1. Heat oil in a kadai over medium flame and add sliced onions. Saute by stirring at regular intervals until the onions turn soft.

Keep stirring the onions to ensure they cook evenly.

2. Add 7 cloves of garlic, 2 inches of ginger, and 1 tbsp coriander seeds. Saute for 1-2 minutes.

3. Add 1/4 cup of dry coconut (grated) and 6-8 whole cashews. Continue to saute for 1-2 minutes over low flame.

Turn off the flame. Transfer the mixture to a plate and let the mixture cool.

4. Take the roasted ingredients in a mixer jar. Blend without adding water to a paste as smoothly as possible. If needed, add 2-3 tbsp of water.

5. Add 2 medium size tomatoes and blend everything to a fine paste. Set aside.

If you are looking for a more tangy base or to increase the gravy quantity then add 1 more tomato.

Making the Chicken Kurma

6. In a pressure cooker, heat oil over medium flame. When hot, temper with 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 2-3 cloves, 1 inch cinnamon stick, and 2 small green cardamoms. Stir for a few seconds until you get the aroma of the whole spices.

Ensure the oil is hot before adding whole spices.

7. Add the ground masala paste and mix well.

8. Saute until the moisture reduces and the oil separates at the sides of the cooker.

Stir at regular intervals to avoid sticking to the bottom.

9. It is time to add the ground spices – 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tbsp red chili powder, 1/2 tbsp Kashmiri Red chili powder, 1/2 tbsp Chicken masala powder, and salt to taste. Mix well and continue to cook until the oil separates.

Oil separation indicates that the curry base is cooked and ready now to add the chicken.

10. Add the cleaned chicken pieces and saute them on high flame for 5-7 minutes or until the color changes to pale white.

Do not rush this process. Keep switching the flame from high to medium.

11. Add 2 medium size potatoes (cut into big cubes) and mint leaves. Saute for 1-2 minutes.

If the potatoes are cut into small pieces, they will turn mushy after cooking.

13. Cover the pressure cooker without a whistle and cook on low flame for about 5 mins so that the meat absorbs the flavors. Meanwhile, heat 1-2 cups of water in a separate pan. Else, can heat the water in a microwave for 1-2 minutes or until hot.

14. Pour 1-2 cups of hot water or as needed and mix well.

Using hot water will continue to maintain the temperature of the cookware.

15. Close the pressure cooker and cook on a medium flame for 2-3 whistles or until soft and tender.

The cooking time will depend on the age of the chicken and size of the pieces.

16. Check the chicken is done by pricking with a fork or knife. Taste the gravy and add seasoning and spice if needed.

17. Add 1/2-1 tsp of garam masala and simmer the curry on low flame for 5 minutes without covering the pressure cooker.

Simmer the curry uncovered until the gravy reaches the desired consistency.

18. Turn off the flame and add coriander leaves. Give a good mix. Cover and keep it aside until serving.

Serve Chicken Kurma with your choice of rice variety or Indian flatbread.

Serving Suggestions

Chicken Kurma is traditionally served with parotta, but can be paired with other bread – naan, roti, phulka, plain paratha, or rumali roti.

Because kurma is a luxurious dish, it also pairs well with steamed rice accompanied with rasam, plain basmati rice, or bagara rice.

Storage Suggestions

You can store this kurma in the fridge for up to 3 days. Cool the curry completely and store it in an air-tight container.

Reheat the curry in a pan over the stovetop or microwave, until it is nice and warm. Kurma gravy thickens up after being removed from heat and cooling. Add a bit of water while reheating to get the desired consistency.

Variations

This kurma recipe is versatile. It’s super easy to transform Chicken Kurma into a 100% vegetarian or vegan meal, too.

1. Boiled Eggs: Make the base kurma gravy and add hard-boiled eggs.

2. Mixed Vegetables: Can add vegetables of your choice such as potatoes, cauliflower, green peas, carrots, and french beans.

3. Soya chunks: soak them in hot water for 5-10 minutes and squeeze them. Make the base kurma gravy, add the soya chunks, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

More Related Recipes

Kadai Chicken

Chicken curry with Coconut Milk

Ginger Chicken

Spicy Chicken curry

Kolhapuri Chicken curry

Easy Chicken curry

If you’ve tried this Chicken Kurma Recipe, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Feedback and suggestions are highly appreciated. Also, please share the recipes with your friends and family members.

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Recipe Card

South Indian style Chicken Kurma Recipe

Author: Santosh Allada
South Indian style Chicken Kurma is packed with flavors from whole spices, powdered spices, and a paste made from coconut, cashews, and onion! Best enjoyed with parotta, poori! This flavorful kurma tastes good with anything – Indian flatbread or rice variety.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

Kurma Paste

  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 2 medium size Onion (roughly sliced)
  • 1 tbsp Coriander seeds
  • 7 cloves Garlic
  • 2 inches Ginger
  • 6-8 whole Cashews
  • 1/4 cup Dry Coconut (grated or thinly sliced)
  • 2 medium size Tomatoes
  • 1-2 tbsp Water (for grinding)

Chicken Kurma

  • 1 kg Chicken (skinless, bone-in)
  • 3-4 tbsp Oil
  • 2 numbers Bay leaf
  • 2-3 numbers Cloves
  • 1 inch Cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp Red Chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Kashmiri Red chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Chicken masala powder
  • 1/2-1 tsp Garam masala
  • Salt to taste

Instructions
 

Kurma Paste

  • Heat oil in a kadai over medium flame and add sliced onions. Saute by stirring at regular intervals until the onions turn soft.
  • Add garlic cloves, ginger, and coriander seeds. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add dry coconut (grated) and whole cashews. Continue to saute for 1-2 minutes over low flame.
  • Turn off the flame. Transfer the mixture to a plate and let the mixture cool.
  • Take the roasted ingredients in a mixer jar. Blend without adding water to a paste as smoothly as possible. If needed, add 2-3 tbsp of water.
  • Add tomatoes (cut into 4) and blend everything to a fine paste. Set aside.

Making the Chicken Kurma

  • In a pressure cooker, heat oil over medium flame. When hot, temper with bay leaves, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick, and small green cardamoms. Stir for a few seconds until you get the aroma of the whole spices.
  • Add the ground masala paste and mix well.
  • Saute until the moisture reduces and the oil separates at the sides of the cooker.
  •  It is time to add the ground spices – turmeric powder, red chili powder, Kashmiri Red chili powder, Chicken masala powder, and salt to taste. Mix well and continue to cook until the oil separates.
  • Add the cleaned chicken pieces and saute them on high flame for 5-7 minutes or until the color changes to pale white.
  •  Add potatoes (cut into big cubes) and mint leaves. Saute for 1-2minutes.
  • Cover the pressure cooker without a whistle and cook on low flame for about 5 mins so that the meat absorbs the flavors. Meanwhile, heat 1-2 cups of water in a separate pan. Else, can heat the water in a microwave for 1-2 minutes or until hot.
  • Pour 1-2 cups of hot water or as needed and mix well.
  • Close the pressure cooker and cook on a medium flame for 2-3 whistles or until soft and tender.
  • Check the chicken is done by pricking with a fork or knife. Taste the gravy and add seasoning and spice if needed.
  • Add garam masala and simmer the curry on low flame for 5 minutes without covering the pressure cooker.
  • Simmer the curry uncovered until the gravy reaches the desired consistency.
  • Turn off the flame and add coriander leaves. Give a good mix. Cover and keep it aside until serving.
  • Serve Chicken Kurma with your choice of rice variety or Indian flatbread.

Notes

Use bone-in chicken for the best taste. However, you can use boneless too.
Skip whole spices if you do not have them. Instead, you can replace garam masala with Everest brand shahi biryani masala as it adds a more intense flavor to the curry.
To substitute cashews, add 1/4 cup of curd or yogurt. To prevent curd from splitting, add it and ground spices and whisk everything well. Then lower the flame and add it after cooking the kurma paste well.


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