My Chicken, Chickpea & Butternut Korma takes a no-apologies shortcut by harnessing the power of a spice pot to make this the perfect throw-together-in-a-hurry weeknight meal. It isn’t cheating, its cooking smart. Replace the chicken with quorn/veg/tofu for an easy veggie/vegan curry.
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Simple curries are super simple to make at home. They are not difficult at all to make from scratch but you do need to build up your stash of spices and flavourings. Once you have a variety, it is very easy to mix and match them to make various style curries.
Using a store bought spice pot makes the process extra simple. Its a great way for people that don’t have an extensive spice collection to get an authentic flavour which is similar every time. I do use other spice pots but the Korma pot is the one I turn to the most. Some people might call this a cheat’s korma. I just call it smart cooking!
Now I am no namby-pamby when it comes to spices. Saying that, I also don’t like things to have so much of a kick I can’t feel my face! Korma has a bit of a poor reputation for being wimp fodder. But that is a stupid fallacy. Why deny yourself a tasty dish just for “kudos” points? I just add me some extra chilli.
Actually I used to ask for extra chilli when ordering korma for a takeaway. Once upon a time there was a misunderstanding and I got ‘extra hot’ instead. I just order them mild nowadays!
How to Serve Chicken, Chickpea and Butternut Korma
You can serve this curry simply with rice (one of the microwave packets would be my likely choice) and/or with any chutneys, poppadoms or Indian breads as you desire. Naan is my go to, just don’t call it “naan bread”. You’ll be asking for “bread bread” and look silly!
I do also sometimes serve with couscous as it is so quick to whip up and is a nice alternative to rice on occasion.
I generally swirl a little yogurt or creme fraiche into the curry and sprinkle a little fresh coriander on top. There aren’t many dishes I don’t add coriander to but it is entirely optional. I know that many folk can’t stand it.
I also serve this dish without any sides, more like a soup. Perfect for a office lunch.
Make Chicken, Chickpea and Butternut Korma into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
I mentioned above that I often eat this curry without any sides or rice as a kind of chunky meal soup. Served the same way it would make a great curve ball option at a Soup Night Feast. You could even serve it full soup style with a good hunk of my Chilli & Oregano Soda Bread.
Don’t forget to head over to my Feast Collection pages to find all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my recipe index to create your own awesome Feast!
Ingredients for Chicken, Chickpea and Butternut Korma
You can substitute any squash or sweet potato for the butternut squash. It can take a little while to cook through so make sure that it is fully soft before serving.
I use chicken breast as I have always made this curry as a lower fat/calorie option. Chicken thigh fillets would be my preference otherwise.
Korma Paste Pot
There are numerous options available on the market so just use your favourite. There are other paste options in jars etc. Just ensure that whichever pot or paste that you are using serves the number of people that you are making the recipe for.
This is a throw it together dish so I use tinned chickpeas which I always keep in my cupboard. You could soak and cook dried chickpeas if you prefer and have time.
Like with my use of chicken breasts, I usually use light coconut milk in this recipe rather than the full fat variety in order to keep the calorie count a little lower. I can’t personally tell any difference in the finished dish.
More Coconut Milk Recipes
For more great recipes featuring coconut milk, check out my post featuring the Best Coconut Milk Recipes from top food bloggers and this site.
There are soups, curries, sauces, chocolate tarts, ice creams and even scones to try.
There are many ways in which you can vary this basic recipe.
Choose your main ingredient. King prawns, lamb leg, chicken on the bone, or duck all make great substitutes for the chicken breast. I also like to make it with a white fish like haddock. I would usually cook this separately and serve it on top.
The butternut squash can be switched for another chunky veg like cauliflower, switched out for potato or left out entirely. The same is true for the chickpeas. Another white bean would work or leave them out entirely.
Coconut milk can be omitted providing another creamy alternative such as yogurt is used.
A true korma includes ground almonds in the recipe. This gives the curry texture and bulk. I do sometimes add them to this recipe but as they are quite pricey and calorific, I tend not to for at least one of those reasons on any given occasion.
Make it Vegetarian or Vegan
The bulk of this Korma recipe is vegan. Only the additional of chicken makes it unsuitable. (And any garnish of yogurt – use more coconut milk or non-dairy yogurt instead).
Substitute the chicken for paneer, tofu, quorn (vegetarian but not vegan), seitan or tempeh for a great vegan dish. Or add in another “meaty” vegetable like cauliflower, aubergine, courgette or portobello mushrooms. Or a mixture of both.
Make it Allergy Friendly
This korma recipe is free from gluten, dairy, egg and nuts. With the following caveats:
Nut Free: The Korma paste pot that I used doesn’t contain any nuts but does come with a “may contain nuts” warning.
Dairy Free: This recipe is dairy free providing that the optional yoghurt topping is excluded. A dairy-free yoghurt could be substituted however.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Chicken, Chickpea and Butternut Korma
I do not like leaving the skin on butternut squash as I think it is chewy and ruins the lecture of the curry. So I peel it using my speed peeler. I think it is much safer than using a knife, just be careful to not slip.
A stockpot might seem a little on the large side for a cooking vessel when making a smaller amount of this curry. But curries have a tenancy of spluttering as they cooks and so I tend to go extra large to contain the mess.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
My Korma is a great dish to make in advance or as part of a meal prep plan.
Curries really improve with time so actually it is a great idea. The whole finished dish can be cooked and left in the fridge for a couple of days or frozen either as a whole or in portions. The korma can be easily reheated either in the microwave or on the hob.
Leftover Chicken, Chickpea and Butternut Korma
Leftovers can be eaten over the course of a couple of days or frozen and reheated at a later date.
Chicken, Chickpea and Butternut Korma Tips
If you need to speed up the cooking process, you can steam the butternut squash in the microwave for 5 minutes before adding to the curry. I use my microwave steamer plate for this sort of thing all the time.
Be careful about the curry bubbling and spitting. Check that the heat is low enough to prevent this and that you use a large enough pan.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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More Meaty Main Meals
More Chicken Recipes
Chicken, Chickpea and Butternut Korma
- 250 g Onion
- 350 g Butternut Squash
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes
- 750 g Chicken Breast
- 70 g Korma Paste
- 400 ml Light Coconut Milk
- 240 g Canned Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
- 400 ml Water
- 3 tbsp Cornflour
To Garnish (Optional)
- Fresh Coriander (Cilantro)
- Chop 250g Onion and 350g Butternut Squash into 1cm cubes and add to a deep wide pan on a medium heat with 2 tbsp Veg Oil and 1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes.
- Fry gently for 5 to 10 minutes until the onion has softened and the butternut is little golden.
- Meanwhile, cube 750g Chicken Breast into 2-3 cm chunky pieces and add to the veg once its ready.
- Fry gently for another 5 minutes.
- Add a 70g Korma Paste and continue to fry for another couple of minutes. The spices need to cook out a little before the liquid is added.
- Add 400ml Light Coconut Milk, 240g Tinned Chickpeas and 400ml Water to the pan. Bring to a simmer and leave for 10 to 20 minutes. You may want to stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking.
- In the meantime, mix 3 tbsp Cornflour with a little water to make a slurry.
- Once the butternut squash cubes are tender and the chicken is firm, add the cornflour slurry to the sauce. Continue to stir until the sauce has thickened a little. (If you want to add ground almonds, add them at this stage).
- And serve!
Kirsten Ing says
I cooked this tonight because a curry was the plan and most of the ingredients mentioned were in the house. I just replaced the chicken with Quorn and the butternut squash with carrots. I even added the chickpeas! I really just like them as humus.
Well this was delicious and hubby was very happy to hear that there was leftovers for during the week! Next time I will make it with chicken, if I remember to take it of the freezer in time :)!
Cat | Curly's Cooking says
This sounds delicious. I love the addition of the veggies to make it more exciting than other korma recipes. Pass me a beer and I’m there.
Yeh I don’t do well with just sauce and chunks of meat – my face gets bored!
Helen - Cooking with my kids says
Korma is the only curry I can get my kids to eat – i tried a few versions before discovering the spice pot, so it was that that convinced them! This looks like a dinner I could get my fussy kids to eat!
I think a ringing endorsement right there!
Kat (The Baking Explorer) says
I would make this veggie and enjoy it on a cold night, it sounds so cosy!
Such an easy recipe to be flexible with, it would certainly make a fab veggie meal!
Beth Sachs says
Curry paste is my saviour! Love the addition of butternut squash.
Its just too good to be silly and avoid totally!
Jacqui – Recipes Made Easy:Only Crumbs Remain says
This looks like the sort of curry I would like. A great idea to stretch the meat with chick peas
Yes, its nice to have another texture too!
Corina Blum says
I love all curries whether they are mild or spicy and whether made completely from scratch or using a spice pot. I do both at home depending on how much time I have and what day of the week it is. I love the fact that this has butternut squash and chickpeas in as well as the chicken.
Variety is absolutely the spice of life!
Janice Pattie says
What a lovely idea to include butternut squash in a korma. It’s perfect for people who don’t like to much heat.
Thank you, I just love the sweetness that it adds!
Jeanne @ Cooksister says
Hah – korma was my gateway drug into the wonderful world of curry! Still love it today and as you say, just add extra chillies if you find it too mild! Agree 100% with you on the spice pot too. Not scared of grinding my own spices but unless you cook a LOT of Indian, they are bound to go stale. Not with a spice pot!
Gateway curry! I love it!
Michelle - Lost in Food says
Sounds just like my kind of curry. I love a korma and agree they are underrated when done well. If I fancy more spice then I always have a bottle of chilli sauce close by. Michelle x
Ah yes, always have to have a bottle of chilli somewhere near by! Nigella Lawson carries a mini bottle of tobasco in her handbag but I think that might be taking it a bit too far!
Jo Allison / Jo's Kitchen Larder says
You can never have enough delicious curry recipes and this one sounds divine Chloe! Plus who doesn’t like cooking smart. 🙂
Exactly. The odd shortcut never killed anyone!
Cat | Curly's Cooking says
This looks delicious and a great way of adding extra veggies to your dinner. I don’t read namby pamby enough these days and it made me laugh. Also I am guilty of saying Naan bread, what a numpty!
Ha ha I say it too! But I do chastise myself every time! I think its just ingrained in us to be fair.
This looks like a winner to me. Nothing nicer than a good curry. I’m going to try this out on hubby tonight – I love butternut and he won’t touch it. I’m going to disguise it in this curry and see whether he notices 🙂 . I bet he doesn’t – as long as he’s eating a curry he’s happy!!!
I have to do hidden veg for my dad and he’ll happily eat this so fingers crossed he likes it! Do let me know x
Corina Blum says
Comment from post at cedges.co.uk
This sounds really tasty! I also like kormas as well as spicy curries and definitely understand wanting one that’s a little hotter in a restaurant.
Comment from post at cedges.co.uk
This sounds blinkin lovely.I absolutely agree with the korma thing.Just a little extra heat would make it bang on.A good korma is one of my most favourite things to eat 😋