Is Chicken Korma The Same As Butter Chicken? (Full Analysis)


Here’s a quick comparison table highlighting the key differences between Chicken Korma and Butter Chicken.

ComparisonsChicken KormaButter Chicken
Method of PreparationOven or stovetop cooking; can be pan-cookedSlow-cooked on low heat for several hours; traditionally prepared in a tandoor or clay pot
TextureThicker and chunkier sauceSmoother sauce
FlavorFlavorful with spices like cinnamon and cardamom; tanginess from tomato pasteMild and creamy curry flavor; spicy from turmeric and chili peppers
Nutritional ValueRich in vitamins, minerals, protein, and carbs; moderate calorie content (300-330 calories per serving)Rich in nutrients, including Vitamin A and calcium; higher calorie content (470-630 calories per serving)
PriceRelatively affordableMore expensive, depending on customer preference and preparation time

Both chicken korma and butter chicken are famous Indian dishes. However, many people often confuse the two dishes. Why? That is because they almost have the same orange color, are mild in spice, and creamy. So, how are they different? Is butter chicken like korma?

Quick Answer: In India, chicken korma is spiced-based and has a focus on caramelized onions, seasoned oil, and whole/ground spices. Butter chicken on the other hand is dairy-based and uses a lot of creams, milk, yogurt, and butter along with various spices for the curry. 

There is no doubt that both the chicken korma and butter chicken produce tasty golden chicken bits in curry gravy. But they are by no means the same. How do they differ in their method of preparation? How do they taste? Well, stick around and let us answer all your queries!

What is Chicken Korma?

img of Chicken Korma

Chicken Korma is a mixture of yogurt, roasted spices, caramelized onions, and more spices. (*)

It normally comes with either beef, veal, chicken, or lamb. Due to the roasted cumin and coriander, the dish often gives off a breath-taking aroma.

Chicken Korma has two parts:

  • Firstly, there is a thick gravy base with a thin layer of oil on top. The gravy is rich, spicy, and grainy.
  • The second part consists of the sauce that produces that special chicken korma taste.

What is Butter Chicken?

img of Butter Chicken

The invention of the butter chicken is more of an accidental one. (*)

It came to be when Tandoori chicken was mixed with tomato curry on a particularly busy night at a restaurant (the 1950s).

This resulted in the creation of a scrumptious and tasty dish that would be known as Butter Chicken.

Now, Butter chicken is a mixture of yogurt, cream, butter, garam masala (spices that are grounded and roasted), tomato paste, milk, onions, and spicy curry (in a mixture of masala), and even more cream.

There are many variations to the recipe/ingredients, but the taste of the gravy remains mostly the same.

Learn more: What Does Butter Chicken Taste Like?

img of What Is Chicken Korma vs Butter Chicken?

The 5 Key Differences Between Chicken Korma vs Butter Chicken!

1. Method of Preparation

You cook chicken korma in an oven or on the stovetop. In the oven, preheat to 350° C and cook for 45 minutes or until tender. Chicken korma can also be pan-cooked.

Cooking tip:

For more character, you can slightly sear chicken korma before allowing it to simmer in the sauce.

Butter chicken takes longer to prepare. You need to cook it on low heat for approximately up to 3 hours or until tender. Afterward, allow it to simmer with spices and butter for another hour. Then, you finish it off with coconut milk or heavy cream.

Cooking tip:

For the best-tasting butter chicken, we recommend that you should prepare this dish in a tandoor or clay pot.

2. Texture

Due to the yogurt and nut paste, Chicken korma tends to have a thicker and chunkier sauce.

Although butter chicken contains a lot of the ingredients, the chicken korma tends to have a smoother sauce.

3. Flavor

Chicken korma is more on flavor than on heat. It contains spices such as cinnamon and cardamom which give a spectacular taste.

In addition, it has a tanginess which is due to the tomato paste.

Butter chicken has a mild and creamy curry flavor.

It also has a spicy flavor due to the turmeric and chili peppers.

4. Nutritional Value

Chicken korma is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. A few of which include sodium, potassium, dietary fiber, protein, and carbohydrates.

If you are watching your calories, it is important to note that chicken korma, per serving, has about 300-330 calories.

Like chicken korma, Butter chicken is a rich source of nutrients. It also is rich in Vitamin A and calcium.

However, comparing it to chicken korma, butter chicken is richer in calories – averaging around 470-630 calories per serving!

5. Price

Chicken korma is relatively affordable as it doesn’t use as many ingredients as butter chicken.

Butter chicken is not as friendly on the pocket as chicken korma.

It tends to be more expensive because of its long preparation time.

However, depending on the customer’s choice, it can be relatively cheap or expensive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Interesting Facts

What is the difference between tandoori chicken and butter chicken?

There are several differences between the two. (*)

  • Firstly, the type of ingredients. Tandoori chicken consists mainly of yogurt and spices while butter chicken consists of butter, tomato sauce, cream, and many spices.
  • Secondly, the cooking method. You must roast tandoori in a cylindrical clay oven (tandoori) while you must pan-fry butter chicken is pan-fried.

Another clear distinction between the two is the flavor.

Tandoori chicken has a flavorful and smoky taste while butter chicken is buttery, slightly sweet, and flavorful.

Furthermore, tandoori chicken has drier skin with juicy meat while butter chicken has softer and more tender meat in a creamy sauce.

2. Can I freeze chicken korma?

Yes, you can store chicken korma in the freezer until you are ready for it again.

3. How long does chicken korma last in the fridge?

You can store chicken korma in the freezer for up to 2 months. This will also be dependent on the ingredients it contains and the type of meat.

But generally, you can store korma in the freezer for extended periods.

4. Can butter chicken be made with coconut milk?

Yes, you can cook Butter chicken with coconut milk. After cooking for 3 hours, you must cook your butter chicken for an additional hour in heavy cream.

Instead of using heavy cream, you can use coconut milk as a substitute.

Learn more:

Take Away

Choosing the better, healthier between Chicken Korma and Butter chicken will ultimately be up to individual preference.

If you want a creamy but sweet dish that is rich in sauce, then chicken korma is for you. If you prefer a lighter and buttery dish that is rich in creamy tomato sauce, then the Butter chicken is for you.

Whichever your choice, you will surely have a great dining experience tasting chicken korma and butter chicken.

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