Chicken Korma (Paleo, Whole30, AIP)

Chicken Korma (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

 Yet another chicken curry you ask? Well…I can only say that this is one chicken curry that you definitely need to try! If you eat once, you will remember forever!

Really, what’s so different about it? Kormas have their origins in the Mughal empire and they typically consist of meat cooked in a thick sauce of fried onions and also some nuts like almonds. In India there are two types of Kormas – there is the typical northern Indian korma (influenced by Mughals) and then there is the southern Indian Korma, which is mildly spiced and coconut based.  I have posted a version of the southern indian Korma in my Vegetable Korma recipe.

This Chicken korma recipe that I am sharing today is the Mughal influenced one and has a special ingredient!  Deep fried onions!  Yes, onions are first thinly sliced and deep fried and then these crisp onions are crushed to a coarse paste and added to the curry towards the end! This gives the rough coarse texture and immense flavor to this curry!  Some aromatics are also added that are not typically included in curries like black cardamom and kewra water.

My first experience eating Mutton korma was at a small Moghlai restaurant once when we were on vacation in the western hills of India. I still remember the flavor of that korma and what a wonderful and memorable meal that was! Recently, I was reminded of korma again while watching an episode of Rick Stein’s India Travel Show where he was visiting Lucknow. His description of the dish made me drool and I quickly noted down ‘Chicken Korma’ on my ‘To do’ recipes list, which incidentally is now 2 pages long 🙂

Then two weeks ago, I had the perfect opportunity to make korma as I had some leftover onion pakoras that I had made over the weekend. Typically fried onions are used while pakoras have a slight coating of gram flour (my paleo version has a coating of cassava flour).

But since it was all going to be blended up anyways I thought why not! So that’s how I ended up making this Chicken Korma and it was such a beautiful dish! Serve it with some grain free rotis or gluten free rotis and your family will thank you immensely and hug you tight!

I purposefully avoided adding any nuts to this recipe to keep it nut free and nightshade free. I did not want to add any coconut because then it will become more southern Indian and I wanted this recipe to be similar to the Lucknowi or Northern Indian Korma. If you can tolerate Kashmiri chili peppers(which is a nightshade), I recommend adding a tiny bit. Even without any peppers, this curry will taste good because of all the aromatic flavors!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Chicken Korma (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
A finger-licking chicken curry in which deep fried onions are blended into a paste along with some aromatic spices
For frying the onions:
  • About 1 cup avocado oil for deep frying
  • 2 medium size red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp cassava flour (optional)
  • pinch sea salt
For cooking the chicken:
  • 2 tbsp grass fed ghee or extra virgin coconut oil (use coconut oil for AIP)
  • 1 whole black cardamom (OMIT for AIP)
  • 2 small green cardamoms (Omit for AIP)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1½ lb chicken (preferably boneless thigh )pieces, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste (see below recipe)
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder (OMIT for AIP)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground mace
  • ¼ tsp ground clove
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper or ground Kashmiri red chilli pepper (Omit for AIP)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp Kewra water (or rose water)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
For ginger garlic paste:
  • 1 whole garlic - peeled (about 10-12 cloves)
  • 1 inch by 2 inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and roughly chopped
  • About 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  1. Heat the avocado oil in a small deep frying pan until hot. Lower heat to medium.
  2. Place the onion slices in a mixing bowl and sprinkle the cassava flour (if adding) and sea salt. Mix lightly to coat.
  3. Deep fry the onions in batches until golden brown and crisp!
  4. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to remove excess oil. Keep aside.
  5. Heat a medium size sauce pan with a wide bottom and add the ghee (or coconut oil). Then add the whole spices - cardamoms (if adding) and the bay leaves. After 30 seconds, add the chicken pieces in batches and lightly fry them for about 2 mins on each side. Then transfer to a dish.
  6. To the same oil, add the ginger garlic paste and stir fry for 1 minute on low heat. Then add all the ground spices, salt and water. As the water begins to boil, add the chicken pieces back into the pot and cover and cook for 15 minutes on low heat.
  7. While the chicken is cooking, take the deep fried onions and blend them in a food processor or blender to a coarse paste.
  8. Once the chicken is cooked, add the onion paste and stir to mix. let simmer for a couple more minutes until the gravy is to your desired thickness. (You can add more water if you like a runny curry)
  9. Turn heat off. Transfer to a serving dish and add the kewra water (or rose water) and the fresh cilantro leaves. Serve warm with grain free rotis or with rice!

If you like curries like these, you should definitely check out my other curry recipes – AIP Chicken Tikka Masala,  Instant Pot Chicken Curry, Moroccan Chicken Curry

And definitely check out my cookbook ‘AIP INDIAN FUSION’ which has 114 AIP compliant recipes with Indian flavors!

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  1. I never rate recipes, but this was so divine that I couldn’t not. This made me forget that I was even on a restricted diet, so good and so much depth of flavour!

    • Awesome! Thanks so much Michaela for your feedback! I really appreciate it! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  2. This was delicious – thank you! I didn’t have all of the ingredients (Kewra water, rose water, black cardamom, or cilantro), but it still turned out delicious. A little extra work to fry the onions and blend them, but a very tasty, unique result.

    Oh, and I used waterchestnut flour for the onions instead of cassava. Worked fine. 🙂

    • That’s so good to hear Hannah! Yes the fried onions are a bit of work but I am glad you agree that it’s worth the effort! And thank you for sharing that you used water chestnut flour instead of cassava. That’s one that I would recommend too! Next time see if you can get the kewra or rose water to add that additional aromatic touch! thanks so much for your lovely feedback!

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