International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Qorma Lawand

Chicken korma

(Afghan chicken curry in an onion, nut and yogurt sauce)

Image Creative Commons by raasiel

Average: 4.1 (11 votes)

Qormas, or kormas, are creamy curries often thickened with nuts or nut purees. There are many different kinds of qorma, and qorma lawand is an Afghani version with chunks of chicken or lamb in a oniony sauce flavored with sweet spices.

4 to 6 servings


  • Cashews or almonds -- 1/2 cup
  • Garlic, minced -- 3 or 4 cloves
  • Ginger, minced -- 2 tablespoons
  • Water -- 1/2 cup
  • Chicken, boneless and skinless -- 2 pounds
  • Oil or ghee -- 1/4 cup
  • Turmeric -- 2 teaspoons
  • Cinnamon -- 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Cardamom -- 1 teaspoon
  • Cloves -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Nutmeg -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Bay leaf -- 1
  • Onions, thinly sliced -- 3
  • Chile peppers, minced -- 2 or 3
  • Whole-milk yogurt -- 1 cup
  • Salt and pepper -- to season
  • Cilantro, chopped -- 1/2 cup


  1. Place the nuts, garlic, ginger and water into a food processor or blender and process to a puree. Remove the puree to a large bowl. Cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks and stir into the nut sauce. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to marinate.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet, pot or wok over medium-high flame. Add the turmeric, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and bay leaf and saute in the hot oil for about 30 seconds, taking care not to burn. Add the onions and chiles and sauté until the onions are cooked down and just starting to brown, 7 to 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chicken and its marinade and simmer for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the liquid has cooked down and reduced somewhat.
  4. Stir in the yogurt and enough water to make a nice gravy and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer for 35 to 45 minutes. Add water as necessary to keep the dish from drying out. Keep the heat very low to avoid curdling the yogurt.
  5. Adjust seasoning and stir in the chopped cilantro. Serve hot with rice.

Qorma Lawand Variations

  • Substitute chunks of stewing lamb or beef for the chicken. Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours to ensure the meat becomes very tender.
  • Substitute heavy cream for half the yogurt if you like.

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