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Jordan rgb edit and crop leon happy curries shumaiyas family korma copy
Steven Joyce

Shumaiya's family chicken korma

A rich, buttery korma with slow-cooked onions and whole spices.

Serving: 8 - 10


  • 4 tablespoons ghee
  • 3 onions, finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt, or ¾ teaspoon ordinary salt
  • 6cm stick of cinnamon, roughly broken
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3–5 cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 3–5 green chillies, split lengthways to taste
  • 1.5kg whole chicken, cut into jointed portions on the bone, skin removed (or use the same weight of thighs and drumsticks)
  • 10 eggs, at room temperature
  • a handful of fresh coriander, to garnish (optional)


  • Pilau or Paratha to serve


  1. Heat the ghee in a very large heavy-based pan with a lid, set over a medium-low heat.
  2. Add the onions, salt, spices, bay leaves, cardamom pods and black and white peppers. Cook until softened and slightly translucent, 10–15 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger and chillies and cook until the onions are on the verge of becoming jammy and the oil separates from the mixture, about 10 minutes.
  4. Increase the heat to medium and add the chicken, including the carcass. Stir, then cover with the lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the juices have emulsified to a gravy. Don’t let the juices dry up and, if needed, add around 100ml of water.
  5. After 20 minutes cooking, bring a pan of water to the boil, add the eggs and cook for 7 minutes (don’t hard-boil them). Drain and cool under running water, then peel and add to the chicken korma for the final 2 minutes of cooking to warm through.
  6. Check seasoning, adding more as needed. If you used the chicken carcass, remove it now.
  7. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with a plain (meatless) pilau or freshly cooked, crispy parathas.

Recipe extracted from LEON Happy Curries by Rebecca Seal and John Vincent (€19.53) published by Octopus. Photography by Steven Joyce.