Margarita's International Recipes


Awadhi Murgh Korma

Awadhi Chicken Korma

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Awadhi kormas have the reputation of being fragrant and more delicious than kormas from other parts of the country. And that may very well be when cooked by someone other than me. I have seldom been able to cook Indian curries that matched even the humblest offerings from Indian restaurants and this was no exception. I combined two recipes I found, I went through the trouble of sending my husband - during the pandemic - to buy kewra water and poppy seeds at my local Indian spice market, but all I ended up with was a generic curry that tasted like every other curry I've made. It smelled divine, however. And I learned that there are white poppy seeds in addition to blue ones (I got the blue ones, but I'm sure the white ones would work as well).

I did skip the green chilis in this korma, however, because they were unavailable at my supermarket - but I'm sure that wouldn't make a huge difference.

In all, it was an OK meal but not what I dream the nawabs of Awadh delighted themselves with.


Awadhi Chicken Korma


  • 3 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cubed
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp ginger paste, divided
  • 2 Tbsp garlic paste, divided
  • 2 tsp garam masala, divided
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder, divided
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 5 Tbsp ghee, divided
  • 20 cashews
  • 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 2 Tbsp cream
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 6 white cardamon pods
  • 1 15 oz can coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp kewra water (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves.


Place chicken cubes in a large bowl. Season with salt & pepper, 1 Tbsp each garlic and ginger pastes, 1 teaspoon each garam masala, turmeric and chili powder. Add the yogurt and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.

Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp ghee over medium heat in a saute pan. Add sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Let cool. Puree and set aside.

Also meanwhile, soak the cashews and poppy seeds together in the warm milk for 45 minutes. Strain. Using a blender or mini-chopper, puree the cashews and poppy seeds. Add the cream and puree again. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 3 Tbsp ghee in a large pot over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and add to the pot. Cook until most of the remaining marinade has boiled off. Bring heat down to medium low.

Add the tomato paste and the remaining teaspoon of chili. Mix well and cook for a minute. Stir in the onion puree. Add the cashew mix and stir. Add the remaining tablespoon of garlic paste and ginger paste and teaspoon of garam masala. Add the fenugreek leaves, cumin, nutmeg and cardamon pods. Season with salt to taste.

Add the can of coconut well and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes or the chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the kewra water and ground mint and serve.

Adapted from Kumkum Chatterjee's recipe at and Shashwatee Swagatica's recipe at

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