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Chef Special from Atul Kochhar: Bengali Chicken Korma

Updated: May 26, 2020

Number three from Atul Kochhar for the Big Curry Night In - a delicious Bengali Chicken Korma.

On weekends, when I take over kitchen duties from Mrs K, this is one of the recipes I turn to. It’s fragrant and flavoursome and showcases the best of quick curries. This is a very light korma, without any almonds for thickening, so is a good recipe for anyone with a nut allergy, who normally can’t enjoy kormas. Whisking the yogurt and cream with a little water helps prevent it splitting in the pan. If your gravy does split, however, you can bring it back by stirring in another tablespoon of yogurt or double cream. I suggest using Greek-style yogurt in all the recipes in this book because it has been strained, so it is less likely to split.




600g chicken thigh fillets

250g Greek-style yogurt

2 tablespoons single cream

100ml water

fresh coriander leaves

1 tablespoon vegetable oil or ghee

1 dried bay leaf

2 tablespoons Onion Paste (page 218)

½ teaspoon red chilli powder, or to taste

½ teaspoon garam masala

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

sea salt

For the tarka

4 green cardamom pods

1 teaspoon ghee

5cm piece of cinnamon stick

2 cloves

1 dried bay leaf

Get cooking:

  1. Assemble all the ingredients and equipment before you begin. You need a bowl, a whisk, a large sauté or frying pan and a small saucepan.

  2. Cut the chicken thigh fillets into bite-sized pieces. Put the yogurt and cream in the bowl and whisk in 2 tablespoons of the water. Rinse and chop enough coriander leaves to make about 2 tablespoons.

  3. Heat the vegetable oil over a medium-high heat in the sauté pan. Add the bay leaf and stir it around to flavour the oil. Add the onion paste and stir it into the oil for 30 seconds. Add the chicken pieces and continue stirring just until they are lightly coloured on all sides.

  4. Stir in the remaining water, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the chilli powder, garam masala and turmeric. Season with salt and stir for 30 seconds to cook the spices. Watch closely so they do not burn. Turn the heat to medium, whisk in the yogurt mixture and leave the chicken to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until it is cooked through and tender. Do not allow the mixture to boil, or the yogurt will split.

  5. Just before serving, make the tarka. Lightly crush the cardamom pods to loosen the seeds. Melt the ghee in the saucepan over a high heat. Add the cardamom pods and seeds, the cinnamon stick, cloves and bay leaf, and stir until the spices crackle. Immediately pour this over the chicken mixture and stir in.

  6. Adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary, and stir in the chopped coriander just before serving.

Fancy giving this recipe a try? Make sure to tag us on Instagram: @bigcurrynightinuk #BigCurryNightIn

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