Updated: Nov 29, 2020
This is such a beautiful, decadent, and complex dish; chicken korma can be traced back to the 16th century and is linked to the Mughal Empire. It is said that this White Chicken Korma was served to Shah Jahan and his guests at the inauguration of the Taj Mahal. Korma can come in many different forms - it can be a mixture of vegetables braised in water or stock with chicken and spices, or it can be a mixture of yogurt, cashews, and almonds coming together to create a rich sauce. Shahi Korma - which directly translates to "royal braise" is often a term used to describe this dish, enduring its majestic heritage.
This White Chicken Korma is particularly my favorite winter dish because of its cinnamon and clove notes. The wintry spices create so much depth to the dish while accenting the traditional garam masala flavors. Though I make this dish in a slow cooker, it can easily be combined in a pot and slow cooked over a low flame or low temperature setting. Because yogurt is the base of the marinade, the key is to never raise the heat too high, preventing the yogurt from ever curdling.
Though Chicken Korma is linked to royalty, don't be dissuaded! This marinade is actually so, so simple to bring together. The active work behind making this dish is no more than 20 minutes, which involves combining the yogurt and spices and throwing it onto the chicken. The rest is just letting the dish come together and do its job - and your house will smell SO beautiful and fragrant once that's all done.
I used about 1.5 pounds of chicken thigh meat; I always find that chicken thighs provide for a more flavorful dish and absorb the other flavors better than chicken breast. As this is meant to be a decadent dish, I would suggest not skipping on this meat choice!
This is the easiest part to throw together is the marinade, which is a combination of yogurt, onions, garlic, ginger, chilis, and spices before throwing this all onto the chicken. You can add or remove spices as you see fit - this is a recipe that allows you to build your own creative freedom in. Because the chicken is slow cooked, the onions, garlic, and ginger can all be roughly chopped as they eventually cook down in the pot, making your job even easier.
Finally, after your chicken has cooked for a couple of hours and the spices have had some time to marry, we add the final royal piece. Soak cashews in water and add some sesame seeds and blend the mixture together, and then throw this into the chicken korma and combine everything together. This last step really brings the entire dish together and elevates it to the next level, and it should not be missed!