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Chicken korma vs Butter Chicken Recipe and difference

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As someone who has been absolutely obsessed with Indian cuisine for years, one of the most common questions I get from friends and fellow foodies is about the age-old debate: chicken korma vs butter chicken. Which dish reigns supreme? Are they the same thing? If you've ever been in an Indian restaurant, staring down a menu and feeling slightly overwhelmed by the options, this post is for you!

Creamy butter chicken on a plate with naan

Chicken Korma vs Butter Chicken: Both are popular dishes in Indian cuisine, but there are distinct differences between the two. Chicken Korma is characterized by its rich, creamy sauce made from a mixture of yogurt or coconut milk, poppy seeds, and a variety of spices, including garam masala powder. It often features bone-in chicken and is accentuated with whole spices like cinnamon sticks and black pepper.

On the other hand, Butter Chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani, is a tomato-based curry with marinated chicken pieces cooked in a buttery-rich gravy. The dish is celebrated for its creamy texture, thanks to the use of heavy cream or yogurt, and its blend of aromatic spices, delivering a flavor profile that's both tangy and buttery. While personal preference plays a part, understanding these key differences can guide your choice the next time you're at an Indian restaurant.

Chicken Korma

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What is Chicken Korma?

Chicken Korma, or simply Korma, has its roots in the Mughlai cuisine of the Indian subcontinent. It's a blend of aromatic spices, yogurt, and sometimes coconut milk, resulting in a creamy sauce with a slightly sweet taste.

Key Ingredients of Chicken Korma:

  • Chicken pieces (often bone-in chicken)
  • Mixture of yogurt or coconut milk
  • Poppy seeds
  • Whole spices (like cinnamon sticks and black pepper)
  • A variety of spices including garam masala powder

Flavor Profile:

Chicken Korma often presents a flavorful dish with a creamy texture, hinting at a mild blend of spices. Its grainy gravy from poppy seeds and nutty undertone can tickle your taste buds in just the right way.

Pros of Chicken Korma:

  • Mild and rich in flavor, suitable for those who prefer less spicy curry.
  • The use of yogurt or coconut milk provides a unique creamy curry sauce.

Cons of Chicken Korma:

  • Might be a bit heavy for some, due to the creamy base.
  • Doesn't have the tangy flavor that tomato-based curry offers.
butter chicken dish

Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

Butter chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani, is a popular choice in North America and around the world for a good reason. Its origins trace back to Kundan Lal Gujral, who is said to have invented this dish in northern India.

Now, before we delve deeper, here's a delightful Butter Chicken Recipe you can try at home!

Flavor Profile:

Butter Chicken boasts of a buttery-rich flavor with a creamy tomato sauce. It usually has a tangy flavor from tomato-based gravy, complemented by a variety of spices.

Pros of Butter Chicken:

  • Has a rich and tangy tomato-based sauce that is irresistible.
  • The butter gravy, combined with aromatic spices, gives it a unique and savory taste.

Cons of Butter Chicken:

  • Might be high in calorie intake due to the use of butter and cream.
  • Can be too rich for some, making it difficult to consume in large quantities.

Key Differences: Chicken Korma vs Butter Chicken

  1. Base: Chicken Korma often uses a base of yogurt or coconut milk while Butter Chicken uses a creamy tomato sauce.
  2. Taste: Korma tends to be more on the sweeter side while Butter Chicken offers a tangy flavor.
  3. Texture: Chicken Korma provides a grainy gravy due to ingredients like poppy seeds, while Butter Chicken is smooth.
  4. Spices: Both dishes use a variety of spices, but the key differences lie in the combination and cooking methods.
  5. Calories: Butter Chicken might have a higher calorie intake ranging between 470-630 calories per serving, depending on the preparation, largely because of the butter and cream used.

Recipe Tips for Chicken Korma and Butter Chicken:

  • Marination Magic: Marinate your chicken pieces for at least a couple of hours, preferably overnight. This allows the chicken to absorb the flavors more deeply, resulting in a more tender and flavorful dish.
  • Quality of Ingredients: Always opt for fresh ingredients, especially when it comes to spices. Freshly ground spices can significantly elevate the taste and aroma of the dish.
  • Yogurt Consistency: When using yogurt, always opt for full-fat and make sure it's at room temperature. This helps prevent it from curdling when added to the hot mixture.
  • Balancing Creaminess: If your Butter Chicken gravy is too thick, you can add a bit of chicken stock or water to adjust the consistency. For Chicken Korma, if you find it too creamy, balance it with a dash of lemon juice.
  • Control the Heat: Indian curries can sometimes be spicy. Adjust the level of chili peppers or red chili powder according to your taste buds. If the dish turns out spicier than expected, a bit of cream or yogurt can help tone it down.
  • Taste as You Go: Always taste your gravy as you go. Adjust the salt, spices, and creaminess to fit your preference.
  • Using Bone-in Chicken: Using bone-in chicken pieces can enhance the flavor of the gravy due to the marrow. However, remember that bone-in chicken may take a bit longer to cook.
  • Tomato Paste Alternative: If you don’t have fresh tomatoes for Butter Chicken, you can use tomato paste. However, adjust the quantity as the paste has a more concentrated flavor.
  • Optimal Cooking Time: While simmering the gravy, do so on low heat. This helps the flavors meld without the risk of burning.
  • Serving Suggestion: Both Chicken Korma and Butter Chicken pair well with naan bread or basmati rice. However, for an added twist, consider serving with garlic naan or jeera (cumin) rice.

Remember, the secret to a successful dish lies in experimenting with and adjusting the ingredients to suit your personal taste. Enjoy your culinary journey through the heart of Indian cuisine!

butter chicken a plate

Our family favorite Recipe

When the scent of melting butter mingles with the intoxicating aroma of spices, you know something delectable is simmering on the stove. Butter Chicken, with its luscious tomato-based gravy and tender pieces of chicken, is more than just a dish; it's a symphony of flavors that dances on the palate.

Over the years, I've tried countless variations of this classic Indian delicacy, but none compare to the recipe passed down in my family. It's not just food; it's a cherished memory, a story of gatherings, laughter, and love. Every bite takes me back to those warm family dinners where it stood as the star of the table. Today, I'm sharing this piece of my heart, my family's favorite Butter Chicken recipe, with all of you. Prepare to be enchanted!

Indian food on a plate

Butter Chicken Recipe

Total Servings: 6

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 2 lbs boneless Chicken
  • 2 tablespoon Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, divided
  • 2 teaspoon Salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon kasuri methi (Dried fenugreek leaves)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (All spices mix)
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 6 tomatoes diced
  • 4 tablespoon butter + 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 100 ml cream
  • 10-12 blanched Almonds

Toppings

  • 1 tablespoon butter for topping
  • Cream for topping
  • Fresh coriander

Instructions

  1. First take a large bowl and add boneless chicken cut into cubes. Now add (1/2 tbsp. cayenne pepper, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tbsp. lemon juice) to the chicken. Now mix the spices with chicken well and wrap it up. Make sure to rest the chicken for at least an hour.
  2. Now take a deep pan. Heat the pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When oil heats up add 1 medium chopped onion with garlic and ginger along with a cinnamon stick broken into pieces. Cook for at least 3-4 minutes on medium high until onion gets softened and develops a light golden color.
  3. Add 6 diced tomatoes and cook them until they soften. Now add (10-12 blanched almonds, ½ tbsp. cayenne pepper, 1 tsp. All spices mix, 1 tsp. salt, ½ tsp. turmeric) and mix well until combines. After it starts turning into paste lift the pan from the stove.
  4. Rest the tomato mixture for 5 mins to cool it down and blend it well in a blending jar until the mixture gets smooth texture.
  5. Now wipe out the deep pan and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add 1 tbsp. butter to it. Bring the bowl in which you placed the chicken. Add the chicken to the pan when the oil and butter mixture gets hot. Cook chicken for 15 minutes until it starts getting dry. Take out the chicken from the pan.
  6. In the same pan, add the tomato mixture through a sifter to prevent tomato skin or any other large particles from mixing in the main sauce. Add 2 tbsp. butter to the mixture on medium heat. Keep mixing until butter gets melted into the mixture. 
  7. Add 1 cup Greek yoghurt and 100 ml thick cream. Mix it well until the yellowish tone of the mixture appears. Add cooked chicken cubes to the mixture and mix until combined. 
  8. Add 2 tbsp more butter in the mixture. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Now sprinkle Dried fenugreek leaves on top by rubbing it in between your hands. Mix it well, then turn off the heat and lift the pan. Add topping with butter small cubes(optional), fresh coriander chopped, and cream. Serve with Naan, roti, or rice. 
Food on a plate

Recommendations

  1. The spices mentioned above are very optimum. However, if you prefer less spices, you can reduce the cayenne pepper and ground spices.
  2. Eat fresh to obtain the desired aroma and taste from the final dish.
  3. Naan and chapati is highly recommended. You can use boiled rice too.

FAQs:

  1. Which dish is spicier, Chicken Korma or Butter Chicken?
    • Typically, Chicken Korma is milder than Butter Chicken. However, it's all about personal preference, and spices can be adjusted according to taste.
  2. Can I use chicken breast for both dishes?
    • Absolutely! Whether you use boneless chicken or bone-in chicken, both work wonderfully. However, the cooking time may vary.
  3. Is Chicken Korma similar to Chicken Tikka Masala?
    • While both are popular Indian dishes, Chicken Tikka Masala usually has a more tomato-paste-heavy base, whereas Chicken Korma leans on yogurt or coconut milk.
  4. How do I know when my Butter Chicken is ready?
    • Your butter chicken is ready when the chicken pieces are golden brown and the tomato gravy has thickened to a creamy consistency.
  5. Which dish is more popular in Indian restaurants?
    • Both are equally popular. It genuinely boils down to personal preference. Some prefer the creamy texture and tanginess of Butter Chicken, while others adore the nutty and mild flavor of Chicken Korma.

Key Takeaways:

  • Personal Preference: Whether you prefer Chicken Korma vs Butter Chicken comes down to your taste buds. Both have distinct differences in flavor and texture.
  • Versatility: Both dishes can be made with different ingredients, making them adaptable based on what you have in the pantry.
  • Pairing: Both curries go wonderfully with Naan bread, chapati, or basmati rice.
  • Cultural Significance: These dishes carry with them the rich history and culinary traditions of the Indian subcontinent, making them not just food, but an experience.

In Conclusion

Chicken Korma vs Butter Chicken are both iconic dishes in Indian cuisine. They represent the rich tapestry of flavors, ingredients, and history that Indian food brings to the table. While they might seem similar at first glance, their key ingredients, preparation methods, and flavor profiles are unique.

Next time you're in an Indian restaurant or cooking at home, give both dishes a try. You might just discover a new favorite or, at the very least, appreciate the culinary artistry that goes into each bite. Whichever you choose, there's no denying that both dishes are mouthwateringly delicious and a testament to the richness of Indian cuisine.

Yield: 6

Butter Chicken Recipe

Creamy butter chicken on a plate with naan

Indulge in the creamy and aromatic world of this Butter Chicken, a true gem in Indian cuisine. With a harmonious blend of spices, succulent boneless chicken, and a velvety tomato-based gravy enriched with Greek yoghurt and cream, every bite is a culinary journey. Enhanced by hints of ginger, garlic, and the warmth of cinnamon, this dish becomes truly irresistible. The finale of dried fenugreek leaves and a sprinkle of fresh coriander elevates the flavor, making it a must-have on your dinner table. Serve it with naan or rice and watch it become a family favorite!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 46 minutes
Total Time 56 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 2 lbs boneless Chicken
  • 2 tablespoon Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, divided
  • 2 teaspoon Salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon kasuri methi (Dried fenugreek leaves)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (All spices mix)
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 6 tomatoes diced
  • 4 tablespoon butter + 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 100 ml cream
  • 10-12 blanched Almonds
  • Toppings
  • 1 tablespoon butter for topping
  • Cream for topping
  • Fresh coriander

Instructions

  1. First take a large bowl and add boneless chicken cut into cubes. Now add (1/2 tbsp. cayenne pepper, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tbsp. lemon juice) to the chicken. Now mix the spices with chicken well and wrap it up. Make sure to rest the chicken for at least an hour.
    Now take a deep pan. Heat the pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When oil heats up add 1 medium chopped onion with garlic and ginger along with a cinnamon stick broken into pieces. Cook for at least 3-4 minutes on medium high until onion gets softened and develops a light golden color.
  2. Add 6 diced tomatoes and cook them until they soften. Now add (10-12 blanched almonds, ½ tbsp. cayenne pepper, 1 tsp. All spices mix, 1 tsp. salt, ½ tsp. turmeric) and mix well until combines. After it starts turning into paste lift the pan from the stove.
    Rest the tomato mixture for 5 mins to cool it down and blend it well in a blending jar until the mixture gets smooth texture.
  3. Now wipe out the deep pan and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add 1 tbsp. butter to it. Bring the bowl in which you placed the chicken. Add the chicken to the pan when the oil and butter mixture gets hot. Cook chicken for 15 minutes until it starts getting dry. Take out the chicken from the pan.
  4. In the same pan, add the tomato mixture through a sifter to prevent tomato skin or any other large particles from mixing in the main sauce. Add 2 tbsp. butter to the mixture on medium heat. Keep mixing until butter gets melted into the mixture.
  5. Add 1 cup Greek yoghurt and 100 ml thick cream. Mix it well until the yellowish tone of the mixture appears. Add cooked chicken cubes to the mixture and mix until combined.
  6. Add 2 tbsp more butter in the mixture. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Now sprinkle Dried fenugreek leaves on top by rubbing it in between your hands. Mix it well, then turn off the heat and lift the pan. Add topping with butter small cubes(optional), fresh coriander chopped, and cream.
  7. Serve with Naan, roti, or rice.

Notes

The spices mentioned above are very optimum. However, if you prefer less spices, you can reduce the cayenne pepper and ground spices.
Eat fresh to obtain the desired aroma and taste from the final dish.
Naan and chapati is highly recommended. You can use boiled rice too.

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