Lazeez Murgh Qorma

Murgh Qorma is one dish I and my family cannot live without, because we are pakka Hyderabadis at heart. Its Irf‘s most loved dish. He will rate it ten out of ten all the time.

The masala which forms the base of the gravy consisting of yogurt, ginger-garlic, groundnut, coconut and fried onions and cashew nuts, chironji nuts and almonds, for this classic Hyderabadi dish is first braised/’bhun-na’ until oil floats on top, a technique essential for Qorma preparation, and then in the end, water is added to give it a gravy consistency and the chicken is simmered on low in the creamy fragrant yogurt sauce. Qorma is usually had along with Naan or Rumali Roti. The bread is dipped into the warm sauce, and had with a few bits of Chicken in each morsel.

A typical Hyderabadi menu for an occasion such as marriage will be: Non-Vegatarian or Vegetarian Kababs, or Spring rolls, or Marag as Appetizer; Any Sookha Salan (dry curry) of Chicken or Mutton; or a Chicken or Lamb Qorma (this will be the Patla Salan – gravy curry) with Rumali Roti (Rumali in Urdu language means kerchief, its called so because the roti/flat bread is unbelievably as thin as a kerchief!, it is light and very yummy); a Lamb Biryani or Chicken Biryani along with Mirchi Ka salan; and then a Meetha in the end. Ah! I am missing India and my hometown’s wonderful and mouth watering dishes. I am proud of my native home, Hyderabad for its most illustrious and scrumptious cuisine. Inshallah will post the recipes of each and every recipe here to share with you all, the way I prepare it in my house.

I plan to inshallah someday publish a cookbook of my own where I can write all my recipes, my version of Hyderabadi Cuisine. I have not done much about it at all. This thought and wish always lingers on my mind and I will inshallah definitely be doing something about it. I will need resources for this project though.

Lazeez Murgh Qorma with Parathas in the Milton hot-pot

You can also add heavy cream, cashew nuts, chironji nuts or almonds, shallow fried quartered potatoes, or shallow fried large cauliflower florets to the gravy. But it is optional. You can even omit chicken or lamb/sheep meat only add potatoes and cauliflower instead, to make it ‘Aloo/Potato, or PhoolGobi/Cauliflower Ka Qorma’, a vegetarian version. Or simply make it ‘Malai/Creamy Qorma’, excluding both the meat and vegetables.

Lazeez Murgh Qorma – Chicken Simmered in Fragrant Spiced Coconut-Groundnut-Yogurt Sauce


Chicken with bone/Boneless Chicken Breast – washed and cubed into bite size pieces, 600 gms
Red Chilli Powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Ginger-Garlic Paste – 2 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Lemon juice – 1 1/2 tsp
Onions – 4, large, sliced thick into semi circles
Cashewnuts, Chironji nuts and Almonds – 1 tbsp each, soaked in 1 tbsp milk for 30 mins (optional)
Yogurt – 400 ml, lightly beaten
Coconut cream powder – 1 tbsp
Roasted Groundnut paste -1 tbsp
Mint leaves/Pudina – 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Cilantro – 1/2 cup, loosely packed and finely chopped
Green chillies – 3, small sized, finely chopped
Canola oil


1. Marinate the chicken in ginger-garlic paste and lemon juice mixture for an hour.
2. Take a heavy bottomed non stick saucepan or a cast iron pan on medium heat and once it is warm enough, throw in the thickly sliced onion semi circles with no oil. Keep stirring and cooking the onion until the onions are lightly browned in color. Once done, transfer them into a blender container. Add the soaking cashew nuts, almonds and chironji nuts along with the milk to the blender container. Also pour in the yogurt and coconut cream and process/blend till it is a smooth puree.
3. In heavy bottomed non stick saucepan, heat 3 tbsp canola oil and add the marinated chicken, quickly fry them lightly on all sides in batches, stirring gently and occasionally till just lightly browned. Remove them with a slotted spoon in a bowl and keep aside.
4. In the same pan with the leftover oil in which the chicken were just shallow fried, add 3 more tbsp canola oil at medium heat . As it warms up add the pureed onion-yogurt mixture and let it cook for five minutes on medium flame. Reduce the flame to medium low, add red chilli powder, salt, turmeric and mix well. Cover it for a minute. Keep a close eye on it and keep giving it a stir every now and then. Add the roasted groundnut paste to it. Mix well and cover the lid again. The oil should start to separate by now. Let it cook a bit more, if the mixture has become too dry add a few splashes of water and cook it till all the oil has very nicely separated out.
5. Gently drop in the shallow fried chicken pieces in the cooking gravy and mix well. Cover the lid for a minute. Pour in two glasses of water. Add the mint, cilantro and green chillies. Mix well and increase the flame to medium high, let it it come to a boil once. Lower the heat, cover the lid and let it cook for 10 minutes. Once the chicken is done, serve it immediately.

I am sending this Qorma to Meeta as the theme for her Monthy Mingle this time is ‘Comfort Foods’. I’m waiting for its round up, now who doesnt like Comfort Foods?!; and I am also sending this as an entry to ‘Think Spice, Think Turmeric‘ event being hosted by Sudeshna.


25 thoughts on “Lazeez Murgh Qorma

  1. Question although this is an older post – do we reconstitute the coconut cream powder with water before adding to the onion-yogurt paste? Which brand do you use for coconut cream powder?
    If we are going to use canned coconut cream instead of powder, how much coconut cream should we use?
    Thank you. I very much enjoy your recipes.

  2. In step 4, it says to “add the roasted groundnut pastr to it”, but in step 2, the soaked groundnuts were blended with the onion yogurt mixture….what am I missing? Where did the roasted groundnut paste come from?

    Farah, perhaps you misread. In setp 2, you have to add soaking cashew nuts, almonds and chironji nuts to the mixture, and in later steps you are adding the groundnut paste.

  3. This turned out great ! Very classic
    I also wanted to add that I doubled the onion ,nuts and coconut and with out adding yogurt I made a paste. I put half of this mixture in Pyrex small container in the freezer to make this later ,I would add yogurt to this thawed mixed and make this dish when I am short on time. I also added 1 tsp garam masala powder and pinch of nutmeg powder and shahzeera
    It was delicious !

  4. i tried making this today….and it was a complete disaster:(
    can you please let me know what went wrong….the colour of my gravy was not at all same as urs…could it be cause of not browning the onions well enough? and also i added 5 6 pieces of cashew…and few almonds…did not have chironji available..and i roasted coconut and made a paste along with onions

  5. Dear Mona,

    1. Onions – the ingredient list says thinly sliced – the method says thickly sliced – please advise

    2. What is coconut cream? I have fresh coconut, dessicated coconut and coconut milk (in a can) Can I use any of these? If yes, how much

    3. We do not get chironji here. What can I replace that with?

    4. My wife is a vegetarion. If I have to make an aloo gobi korma for her, do I marinate them too for one hour?



    Aseem, here are your replies:
    1. I apologize for the typo, corrected the post.
    2. You can use about 2 tbsp thick coconut milk, or 1 tbsp of (unsweetened) dessicated coconut paste instead.
    3. Simply omit chironji nuts if unavailable.
    4. No need to marinate if preparing Aloo Gobi Qorma. However I recommend cutting the vegetables into slightly larger size and shallow frying in little oil before adding to qorma, not necessary though.

  6. Pls let me know if we need to add any masala powder or whole masalas for this recipe

    Fatima, I do not usually use any masala powders for qorma. However you can add a little bit of garam masala powder if you desire.

  7. Mona, Do we need to add coriander powder to this dish or not ?
    Thank you.

    Fatima, there is no need for coriander powder in this recipe.

  8. Mona,

    I did not know you put peanuts in khorma. I don’t think my mom ever used peanuts. Doesn’t the peanut completely change the taste of the khorma?

    Farah, the peanuts impart a delicious nutty flavor to the qorma, try it. ~Mona

  9. Hi Mona,

    Really like ur site 🙂 keep up teh great work ..

    Can u please explain what is coconut cream … is it the same as thick coconut milk …. can i substitute the coconut cream with something else ???


    Mamata, coconut cream is nothing but thick coconut milk.
    You can substitute the following for 1 cup coconut cream use:
    -1 cup light-cream/evaporated milk/half and half/low-fat milk/unsweetened condensed milk + 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
    -1 cup cream
    Or you can also use the following instead according to your tastes:
    -Unsweetened shredded fresh or dry coconut – dry roasted and later finely powdered
    -Canned Coconut Milk
    -Coconut Milk Powder. ~Mona

  10. Hi Mona,
    Thanks for the response. I have always used oil while browning onions. I never thought it can be done without using oil, which is great. How thick should the onion rings be? Till now, I sliced onions very thin, while making barista or even while browing so that it is cooked evenly and fast. I will be making this over the weekend. Thanks again for posting these yummy recipes.

    My Pleasure! Well, You do not need to slice the onions very thinly, you can go by chopping the onions roughly, as once they get browned, you eventually will be blending them to a fine paste later~Mona

  11. HI Mona,

    I saw your blog recently and must say I am impressed.

    I thought of making korma, but am confused. You say “Take a heavy bottomed non stick pan on medium heat and throw in the sliced onion rings”. Arent we supposed to put any oil? Will not the onion rings burn? Even if they dont, will not they be cooked unevenly, cause you mention thick rings.

    Thanks for the tip in advance,


    It not important to add oil to the pan when you need to just caramelize the onions. The sugars in the onion help in the caramelization, making them browned and well cooked. This is a tip I learnt from my Mom, it reduces the use of oil in a dish too. You need to use a heavy bottom non stick pan, and keep stirring them often for the even distribution of heat to all onions, and even caramelization~Mona

  12. Dera Mona,
    Loved your recipe. Can you tell me instead of chicken if I use mixed vegetables like aloo, beans, peas, carrots to make a mixed vegetable korma. Will this recipe work>? Await your reply as I want to cook it for my kid’sbirthday. Secondly will it go along with a peas pulao or kashmiri pulao? Thanks

    For a completely vegetarian version of Qorma, you can try the Vegetable Khorma recipe on my blog instead of this one. If you would like to use this Chicken Qorma recipe, you can alter it by using chicken stock intead of water for flavor and just use quartered shallow fried potatoes and shallow fried cauliflower florets instead of Chicken. And it will be great along with Kashmiri pulao.~Mona

  13. Assalam Alaikkum,
    dear, missed some of your posts..:(
    Its a great idea to publish the book, hope me too can buy chicken curry and dal preparation too..

  14. hi…..tried your chicken dum biryani yesterday! it came out awesome….thanks for the recipe! once i prepared the ‘gravy’ and tasted it, i wasn’t sure if it would make a good biryani. but the ‘dum’ made a lot of difference. my oven was broken, so i did the ‘vessel on heated pan’ dum. it was worth the effort in the end! tasted even better the day after! thanks again….
    waiting for your mutton biryani recipe now….:-)

  15. I love Murgh Qorma. I’m going to have to try this recipe sometime next week, insha’Allah. I also love dal curry (with red lentils), and red lentil soup, indian/pakistani style. These recipes are very soothing for the soul.

    Thank you for the recipe.

  16. Hi mona, just read through the recipe, great and delicious too!! had done a post on chicken khorma some time back….yours is almost similar but I have to give it a try using coconut milk, havent done that before..:)

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