Dairy free recipes and food reviews

Takeaway style dairy free chicken korma

Takeaway style dairy free chicken korma

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For the dairy challenged of Britain it is common knowledge that the first victim of a dairy free diet is Indian takeaway. Yoghurt, cream, and ghee are the main components of the one of the nation’s favourites: chicken korma. Do not fear though! This takeaway style dairy free chicken korma will give you hope that there’s life after dairy, and it’s pretty easy to make!

The sauce itself takes just 30 minutes and for that you get a luscious creamy sauce without any dairy. Cashews are the key; they take care of the nutty sweet component that is so important in korma but also allow for an incredibly creamy thick sauce. The great thing here is that you don’t have to waste time soaking the cashews, once they simmer in the stock for 10 minutes they’re tender enough to blend.

Korma sauce ingredients
The aromatics for the korma sauce. I just thought all the colours popper really nicely against a black background.

Coconut yogurt is another life saving ingredient. It takes care of the tangy and coconutty element of the sauce at the same time without having to use fatty coconut milk. This means that the sauce is less calorific then other korma sauces. I used koko brand coconut yogurt.

If you want the full takeaway experience then marinating and grilling the meat will give it that lovely charred flavour. However, if you’re short on time then the sauce can be made really quickly and you can just fry the chicken after blending the sauce, adding the sauce back into the pan once the chicken is cooked.

Marinade ingredients
The ingredients for the chicken marinade. Although the ingredient list may look scary, there are really only a few things that go into a curry sauce. Once you’ve stocked up on spices you can make the sauce over and over again.

Swap out your shop bought dairy free korma sauce and bottle this one:

You could also make a big batch of the sauce and store it in the fridge ready for meals later in the week.  Then you can just fry your protein of choice and add the sauce once ready. It would make a much healthier alternative to shop brought korma sauce that contains who knows how much salt and sugar.

Make it a vegan korma:

If you wanted to make a vegan korma, just use vegan friendly vegetable stock instead of chicken. Add the veg at the same point you would add the chicken, simmering until the veg is cooked.  Note that if you wanted to use potatoes, or other veg that takes longer to cook, I would recommend par-boilng them before adding to the sauce.

Easy takeaway style dairy free chicken korma

A creamy, rich, and aromatic dairy free korma curry that tastes just like a takeaway from your favourite Indian restaurant. Skip marinating the chicken if you want a quicker meal.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Helen Kohn


  • 600 g skinless and boneless chicken thighs or chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces I think thighs provide better flavour, and their cheaper

For the marinade:

  • 100 g coconut yoghurt I used Koko brand
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • Thumb sized piece ginger grated
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp each ground coriander, ground cumin, and ground turmeric
  • 5 pods cardamom seeds crushed or 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper

For the dairy free korma sauce:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • Thumb sized piece fresh ginger grated
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cloves
  • 8 Cardamom pods seeds crushed or 1tsp ground cardamom
  • tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 100 g cashews
  • 400 ml chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 100 g coconut yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • Salt + black pepper
  • Coriander leaves


  1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl big enough to hold the chicken. Add the chicken pieces and incorporate thoroughly. Put in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours and up to overnight.
  2. An hour before you want to eat, preheat the grill to high or 200֯C. Take the chicken out of the fridge and thread onto skewers. Put on a grill rack over a cooking sheet and place under the grilled. Keep an eye on the chicken, you want it to catch and char a bit. Rotate the chicken when it’s browned on one side repeating on the other sides. This should take about 3-5 minutes each side. Once they’re browned and charred evenly, take them out and slide off the skewers onto a plate. *
    The chicken after grilling
  3. Meanwhile, heat a wide flat bottomed pan on a medium flame. Add the oil and onions with ½ teaspoon of salt. Sautee the onions for 10 minutes until translucent and slightly golden.
  4. Add the garlic, ginger, bay leaf, cloves, ground coriander, turmeric, chilli powder, and tomato paste. Sautee for another minute to cook out the spices.
  5. Stir in the cashews and the stock. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and let the curry simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. After 10 minutes turn off the heat. Pour into a blender or use a hand blender, and blend on high until the cashews have been completely broken down and the sauce is thick and as smooth as you can get it. If it’s looking a bit too thick add a little water to thin it out.
    The sauce after blending
  7. Pour the sauce back into the pan along with the chicken and garam masala. Allow the sauce to come back to a simmer and cover for five minutes (take care, the sauce is likely to spit at this point).
  8. Turn the heat off and stir in the yoghurt. At this point taste the sauce for seasoning; you can decide if it needs any salt. Add half a teaspoon at a time tasting all the while to make sure the seasoning is perfect (remember you can put salt in but you can never take it out).
  9. Serve with rice and a sprinkle of coriander leaves for garnish.

Recipe Notes

  • For a quicker meal, skip steps 1 and 2 and just fry the chicken with some salt and pepper, adding back into the curry at step 7.
  • If you want to bottle the sauce then you can skip any step involving the chicken and keep the sauce in the fridge for up to a week or up to a month in the freezer.
  • For a veggie or vegan curry skip steps 1 and 2 and add vegetables of your choice at stage 7. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked. If you want to add potatoes make sure to par-boil them first.

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