Chicken Korma VS Butter Chicken – All You Need To Know

Considering their similarities, a comparison of chicken korma vs butter chicken is in order to understand what differentiates these recipes. They can look and taste quite similar, and in many cases, the variation between the recipes might have significant overlap. 

This makes pointing out the differences between butter chicken and chicken korma rather difficult, especially since the boundary between these dishes can be quite blurry. So, it’s best to consider the roots and conventional approach of these recipes, rather than splitting hair on recipe variations.

Let’s see what really sets these famous Indian recipes apart.

Differences Between Chicken Korma And Butter Chicken

The key differences between both these dishes are dependent on the curry. The gravy for chicken korma is thicker and grainier, and makes generous use of a variety of spices. 

Interestingly, the spices used for the korma are intended more as a way to add flavor, rather than add heat. The use of yogurt in the gravy underlines this approach, allowing the gravy to have a thicker consistency, with a mild heat. The use of garam masala as the garnish adds some heat, though it’s still on the milder side of things.

Butter chicken follows a milder approach too, but it is spicier and hotter than chicken korma. Besides, butter chicken relies heavily on tomatoes and tomato paste for its gravy. Chicken korma uses tomatoes or tomato paste as the base for its gravy too, but its overall flavor is less dependent on tomatoes.

Finally, butter chicken as a recipe works best when chicken is used in the gravy. The gravy in chicken korma is more versatile and allows convenient switching of chicken with other meats. In fact, mutton korma is perhaps as popular, if not more popular, when compared to chicken korma.

Chicken Korma vs Butter Chicken – The Key Points

What Is Chicken Korma?

Chicken Korma VS Butter Chicken

Chicken Korma is an old dish and is believed to have been around since the times of the Mughal Empire. The recipe features chicken dipped in a thick gravy, and often, the chicken doesn’t need to be marinated before cooking.

The magic here lies with the curry or gravy that covers the chicken and is the key flavor element of this recipe. Chicken korma gravy relies heavily on spices and uses several spices generously. The use of spices gives it a magnificent aroma that wafts through the kitchen and makes its presence known with the serving as well.

Overall, the recipe has a thick and grainy gravy and a thin layer of oil floating on top. It’s often served when garnished with garam masala and coriander, both of which add to the flavor and aroma. 

Another key element of this recipe and gravy is the use of dark caramelized onions and yogurt. Interestingly, the korma doesn’t rely much on tomatoes or tomato paste, choosing to use onions and spices instead. Don’t get me wrong – chicken korma uses tomatoes as the base for the gravy, however, the flavor relies more on the caramelized onions.

Considering Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

Butter chicken usually includes seared or grilled chicken pieces in a thick gravy or curry that relies heavily on tomatoes. The dish has a generous serving of butter (hence the name) and includes a fair bit of spices for that touch of traditional Indian cuisine.

Related FAQs

Is Chicken Korma Spicy?

Chicken Korma isn’t spicy in the traditional sense. The recipe uses a generous amount of spices, but they’re more targeted towards adding flavor to the recipe, rather than bringing heat. Its curry uses a fair amount of yogurt, which further reduces the heat in the recipe. Although keep in mind, although Chicken Korma is mild by Indian food standards, many western palates might still find it to be too hot.

What Is In Chicken Korma?

Apart from chicken, it is the korma or curry that forms the key part of this recipe. Indeed, it is the korma that gives this recipe its flavor and texture. 

Conventional ingredients of the korma include dark caramelized onions, yogurt, garlic, ginger, turmeric, ground almonds, cardamom, and cinnamon. Coriander and garam masala are often employed for garnishing. Chefs often use a variety of other spices and pastes to give the korma a unique touch and taste.

Is Chicken Korma A Curry?

Korma is typically characterized as a curry since the thick gravy is a key element of the recipe. Besides, it is the korma that gives flavor, taste, and texture to the recipe. So while the korma is a curry, the case for chicken korma is a little different. 

Korma by itself has a thick and grainy texture. Once the chicken is added, it gets chunkier. At this point, it may not be correct to call chicken korma a curry, though definitions can vary wildly.

Enjoying Butter Chicken And Chicken Korma

Though the line between chicken korma vs butter chicken can get hazy, both recipes show off some conventional differences worth a consideration. Since both these dishes depend heavily on the gravy (curry) used for their serving, the difference largely lies in the preparation and taste of the curry. Nevertheless, they’re both amazing and delicious recipes.

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