Hyderabadi Kurma

Every home has a family recipe they are proud of. The secret to a good dish is not just in the recipe but the techniques involved in making the dish. There is not one particular way which can be nominated as the authentic version. Some of these techniques involve family recipe of a spice blend fresh ingredients, the cooking time, utensils used etc. I found pre-jarred sauces called ‘Korma’ in the stores that i find completely off in flavor and the look. So i wanted to share my family recipe and details of what this dish really means and look like.

Hyderabadi Kurma

Recipe by Smita ChutkeCourse: Dinner, LunchCuisine: Indian



Kurma” in South of India especially (Hyderabad) is a traditional gravy also known as “Korma” In North India. The basic difference is that in Hyderabadi ‘Kurma’ the gravy is made with Poppy seeds and Coconut which is as good as vegan cream where as ‘Korma’ is a yogurt based gravy.


  • 1 lb Chicken

  • For Marinade
  • 1 tbsp yogurt( this is to tenderize the meat)

  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder

  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder

  • 1 whole lemon juice

  • 2 tsp sea salt or to taste

  • 2 tbsp oil

  • For Gravy
  • 2 tbsp white poppy seeds ( I am not sure if black poppy seeds can be used as i never made gravy with it but a replacement would be to just add 1/4 cup more coconut)

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut

  • 1 large chopped tomato

  • 2-3 large garlic cloves

  • a small piece of ginger

  • For Final dish
  • 1 /2 cup diced onions

  • 1/4 tsp Smita’s Cookery Meat Spice (or use regular garam masala if you don’t have Smita’s Meat Spice. You may need to increase the quantity)

  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder

  • 1/4 tsp turmeric

  • Marinated chicken ( See the ‘For Marinade’ step from above)

  • Gravy (See the ‘For Gravy’ step from above)

  • Any type of cooking oil 1/4 cup

  • chopped coriander or dill to garnish

  • Water (About 1 1/2 cup. )


  • Marinade
  • Marinade the meat atleast for 24 hrs . If you are short on time, then marinate atleast for 30 mts with the listed ingredients and add extra 2 tbsp of yogurt
  • Clean and cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Mix all the ingredients from marinade list to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the chicken to it and massage the meat to coat it properly with the marinade.
  • Then cover it and keep it refrigerated until ready to cook.
  • Make Gravy
  • If you do not have a high efficient blender like Vitamix that can blend Poppy seeds into fine smooth paste. Then soak it for at least an hour before grinding.
  • If you soaked the poppy seeds then no need to toast it . Heat a small pan on medium low heat to toast the coconut and poppy seeds until coconut turns slightly brown and keep aside. You may need to stir this and keep an eye so it doesn’t burn.
  • If you have coffee grinder then grind together the toasted Coconut and Poppy seeds into a fine powder until coconut leaves the oil and turns into brown coconut butter. If you do not have coffee grinder then grind it all in the blender like mentioned in the step after roasting tomatoes.
  • Now in the same saucepan, add a tsp of oil and chopped tomatoes to roast it lightly for a minute or two until softened.
  • Finally to make the sauce, add tomatoes, ginger, garlic cloves, soaked or toasted poppy seeds or toasted coconut and 1/2 cup water to the blender and blend it all into smooth paste.
  • Final Dish & assembly
  • Note that if you are using stove top for cooking then pre-cook the chicken in oven for best results as guided here. Skip this step for Instant Pot.
    Preheat the oven at 385 deg F. Use a baking sheet and spread all the chicken on it to avoid crowding. Cover with a loose foil on top and let it cook in the oven for 20 mts. (After 20 mts, Turn off the oven and take out all the chicken pieces in a separate bowl. Discard any residuals , water from baking sheet.)
  • Clean , wash and finely chop the herbs for garnish. Keep aside.
  • Method : On Stove
  • Heat a wok on medium high and add oil.
  • Add the chopped onions and sauté until lightly brown.
  • Then to the onions add meat spice, Kashmiri red chili powder, turmeric and mix well.
  • Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the blended gravy and cook for a minute with a lid covered. You will notice the oil from coconut and poppy seeds forming a layer on top. It’s ok if you don’t see it.
  • Add the half cooked chicken from oven to it. Coat it with sauce well.
  • Add 1 1/2 cups of water and salt.
  • Cover with the lid and let it cook on medium heat for another 15- 20 mts. If the gravy is too thick and sticking to bottom then add little more water. If the gravy is too thin then remove the lid and let it cook in open until the sauce comes to desired thickness.
  • Garnish as desired
  • Method : Instant Pot (No need to Pre-cook the Chicken in Oven)
  • Turn on the Instant pot on sauté mode.
  • Follow all steps from above except cooking chicken in oven.
  • Cancel saute mode. Put the Instant Pot lid and cook on high pressure for 15-16 mts for Chicken.


  • Slightly roasting or charring the tomatoes adds a lot of flavor to the gravy. The flavor will change a lot with canned tomatoes or ready made tomato puree. Usually i avoid using it but you can use it if you want to .
  • For best flavor use skinless (bone in or boneless ) chicken thighs. If not then use any other meat type you like.
  • Smita’s Cookery blends are concentrated and there are no fillers or additives. It’s a really unique blend which pairs really well with meats and adds a lot of flavor. It can also be used for some vegetables or beans.
  • A cast iron wok or Indian type Karhai is best way to cook this dish. But i like how it tastes in Pressure cooker or Instant Pot too. If you are using a flat pan then you may see the difference in the gravy texture which can be a little dry. A deep pot can result in slightly thinner gravy and may take slightly longer to cook the whole thing.
  • Best to serve with hot rice, chapatis , naan or any breads.

Smita’s Meat Spice blend

Signature Meat spice blend

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I am Smita Chutke , and welcome to my blog. Cooking for me is an art. Once you know the techniques then you have freedom to experiment and create something new.


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