Bangladeshi Style Creamy Chicken Korma w/ Crispy Shallots, Cardamom, Almonds & Golden Raisans

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by Sara on October 5, 2010

Good friends are a rare commodity these days. I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by wonderful & caring dear friends all of my life! I have learned a wealth of knowledge from my friends, who are from various different backgrounds.

Chicken Korma recipe comes from a dear friend Lani, who’s American as Apple Pie but has not forgotten her Bangladeshi roots. Lani grew up in New Jersey and also lived many years in France & Switzerland. She has vastly traveled the world , yet she is a humble & kind soul. I am thankful to her for teaching me such a festive Bangladeshi dish!

Below: History of the dish & Recipe is from my dear friend,Lani
Photographed by: OneTribeGourmet

Bangladeshis are known for hosting “dawats”, that is, lavish dinner parties where every  square inch of the table is filled with rich, mouth-watering dishes.  The expression “pulao- korma” is used to signify the special meal prepared for the guests.  Literally, “pulao-korma” translates to, pulao, a fragrant rice pilaf and korma, creamy, aromatic chicken.

Instead of being hit with the expected bold, heady spices such as chile powder or cumin, this dish gives its depth of flavor and subtle fragrance from whole ‘garam masala’ spices such as cinnamon and cardamom, its creaminess  from yogurt and almond powder, and its sweetness from sugar, caramelized onion and golden raisins.

The Bangladeshi version of korma closely adheres to the refined culinary traditions of the Mughal Empire of South Asia- reminiscent of its Persian roots using nuts, dried fruit and cream, in this case tangy yogurt to balance the sweetness. There are whole spices and whole green chiles, which lend great layers of flavor without the heat of traditional curries. People who are hesitant with South Asian food and even the pickiest of children tend to adore this dish. Dazzle your family and friends with this scrumptious recipe that harkens the royal culinary history of Bangladesh.


1 whole skinless chicken (about 2 lb), cut into about 10 pieces

Slivered or sliced almonds

5 TBS canola or vegetable oil

3 TBS clarified butter (ghee) or regular butter
2 medium-large onions, sliced thin
1 TBS ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt,  or plain yogurt, beaten well

-2 large cinnamon sticks
4-6 cardamom pods -smashed with mortar and pestle till seeds are visible
1 bay leaf
2 tsp salt or to taste
1 TBS sugar or to taste

1 TBS lemon juice

Boiling hot water
4 small whole green chiles (ie. Thai bird or Serrano)
2 TBS ground almonds
2 TBS golden raisins

Optional garnishes:
A few drops Kewra essence water (found in Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi stores)
Crispy fried sliced onions or shallots


1.  Trim and wash chicken pieces well and drain thoroughly. Add yogurt, garlic, ginger, and mix thoroughly. Marinate for an hour up to one day.

2.  Saute onion on medium heat in oil and ghee/butter until golden brown.  Add cinnamon, cardamom, and bay leaf, stirring until fragrant.

3.  Add marinated chicken and salt, raising the temperature to medium high. Stir frequently until water and juices separate from the chicken creating a gravy. Consistently monitor that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan or gets brown, about 10 minutes. Once the liquid has reduced, add a few tablespoons of hot water slowly (maintaining the bubbling of gravy) until chicken is partially submerged. The amount of water will vary because some chickens naturally give off more liquid than others. Bring to a boil and then lower to medium heat so that the gravy is at a heavy simmer but not boiling.

4.  Cover and stir occasionally.  Once oil droplets start to rise to the surface (about 20-30 minutes) and the gravy is reducing, add lemon juice, ground almonds, sugar, raisins and green chiles.  Check to see if sugar has balanced out the tartness of the yogurt. Cover and cook another 5 minutes on medium-low and remove from the heat.

Optional:  Sprinkle with kewra water. Garnish with almonds, more raisins and fried, sliced onion.

Serve with plain pulao, biriyani or steamed basmati or jasmine rice. Serves 4-6

Note:  More butter can be used and less oil if one needs the dish to be even more rich and buttery. If so, omit the green chile to preserve the buttery aroma.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Lael Hazan October 5, 2010 at 12:49 pm

The flavors of the recipe make my mouth water, of course the GORGEOUS photos help too! Thank you for the delightful blog and great history lesson!

Heavenly Housewife October 5, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Wow, this looks completely fabulous. I am always looking for delicious curries to cook hubbykins, and I think this is one of them. Thanks for sharing this.
*kisses* HH

my little expat kitchen October 5, 2010 at 2:16 pm

I have just discovered your blog and I think it’s wonderful. I love your collection of recipes!
I love Indian dishes and this one is one of my favorites. I will definitely try this version.

Sara October 5, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Thank you Lael for the encouragement!

Lael Hazan October 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Gorgeous and easy to read. Thank you!

PIAMA October 5, 2010 at 6:39 pm

This recipe is simple in execution but more complex in flavor than meets the eye…and won’t stain your clothes or countertop! It’s always great to hear the roots of any dish, we can’t forget the incredibly rich history of the spice trade and nomadic cultural movements. Bravo Lani, on publishing a delicious recipe that has been made in our family for years!

Nadia October 5, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Gorgeous and vibrant pics. My dad loves Mughlai food and Korma is a fave of his, will send him your recipe to try out!

Faith October 5, 2010 at 6:48 pm

I love a good korma but this is one thing I haven’t tried at home. It looks fantastic, I would love to make it! I’m adding it to my list of things to make. :)

Soma October 5, 2010 at 9:34 pm

lip smacking good! the fried onions and the almonds make it even better.

regarding the biryani: (the twitter 140 char limit … made write here). use any vegetable which will hold up the shape and not mush up. carrots, peas, beans, potatoes, bell peppers (colored ones make it look good). I try not to use any with strong smell (eg: cabbage).. sometimes use cauliflower. I make another variation – no green veggies, but chk peas (usually the small brown ones as they have better flavor) and paneer. Hoep this helps :-)

shayma October 5, 2010 at 9:50 pm

wowowowowow. lovely photos, Sara. just adore this post. x shayma

carina October 5, 2010 at 9:51 pm

I looks delicious, will try it. I love your photography!! It’s vibrant and creative. You can start a recipe book with all your travels and beautiful pictures. What a gift.

Sara October 6, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Thank you Shayma, Nadia, Soma, Faith, Carina, Piama, My littel expat, & heavanly housewife! :)

Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. October 6, 2010 at 11:17 pm

What an amazing site! So glad you connected with me on twitter so I could find your site

Eliana October 7, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Whoa Sara – chicken has never looked so good! What an amazing combination of flavors and textures you have dancing on this plate. I love it.

Randi October 7, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Since my family’s tastes runs across the entire heat spectrum, I’m going to have to meet everyone as close to halfway as possible and cut the chilis down. Hope it doesn’t lose too much of its integrity. Looks like there is alot of flavour going on here so I should be safe. Fried onions really make a dish in my opinion. I could eat them on everything. Thank you for posting this.

Ameena October 8, 2010 at 2:31 am

Your photos are gorgeous Sara! This dish looks delicious – my husband is very partial to chicken korma so I will be bookmarking this and trying it out when I feel generous. :)

Jamie October 8, 2010 at 8:35 am

Gorgeous! And as usual a great recipe! Love Indian cuisine and this is an amazing dish that I’d love to make. I love when people combine cultures, mix and blend to come up with their own multi-cultural culture (you know what I mean). I can so relate. Beautiful as usual!

tasteofbeirut October 8, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Yum! I love the sounds of this dish; anything that combines garlic and ginger paste has my vote!

Ryan October 9, 2010 at 11:17 am

These pictures are gorgeous and drool inducing. Definitely a favorite in our family. THANK YOU PERSIA!

After you eat a plate full of Korma and Polau, you usually sneak back in the dining room and grab a few more pieces of chicken and eat it plain. Since I don’t eat sweets, Korma is my guilty pleasure. Pass the bucket of ice cream and give me a bucket of korma :)

deeba October 9, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Oh Sara, this is another wonderful and vibrant post! Just beautiful!

zerrin October 9, 2010 at 6:33 pm

This chicken dish is absolutely so mouthwatering! I love that it has raisin and almonds in it, which I have never tried. Also, it’s great to learn about its Bangladeshi history.

Tamanna October 10, 2010 at 10:18 am

yumm! i love korma from the bottom of my taste buds. every Eid my mom had to make this for me, now i cook it myself. =) that korma dish looks mouth watering
great to discover another Bangladeshi blogger. nice blog!

Mona October 10, 2010 at 1:21 pm

What beautiful clicks. Glad to discover your website.

Rachel@Tasty Thailand October 17, 2010 at 5:38 pm

This looks and sounds absolutely incredible. I’m a sucker for Indian food but I don’t think I’ve ever had Bangladeshi? Will have to test this out, particularly as I love, love, love the Indian version of korma.

Sara October 17, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Thanks Rachel

Jay November 2, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Yum! Just made this and it was SO good, and really relatively simple! I always appreciate scientific-quality recipe directions, but wouldn’t expect anything less from the author. Thanks for an awesome dinner, S dot ;)

mai majee June 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm

hi!i just discover this site,i loved to cook and to try new i just try chicken roast bangladeshi styles,my son luv it,

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