½cup(75 grams) cashews, blanched almonds, or a combination of both(or use an equal amount of almond or cashew meal)
1tablespoonminced or crushed fresh garlic
1tablespoonminced fresh ginger
1teaspoonkosher (coarse) salt
½teaspoonKashmiri chili powder(alternatively use ground cayenne or crushed chili flakes)
2pounds(900 grams) skinless, boneless chicken breasts, tenders, or thighscut into bite-size pieces
1tablespooncanola, vegetable, or other neutral oil or ghee
1large onion,peeled and chopped
½cupchicken broth or stock
1tablespoonpacked light brown sugar(optional)
2 to 4tablespoonsheavy cream or coconut milk
Kosher salt,as needed
Sliced or slivered almonds or whole or split cashews, for garnish(optional)
Chopped scallion or cilantro (fresh coriander), for garnish(optional)
Julienned fresh ginger, for garnish(optional)
Add cashews/almonds to a food processor and finely grind. Add the yogurt, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, and spices to a food processor and process until smooth (if using almond or cashew meal you can just stir it all together in a bowl until smooth). Transfer the mixture to a metal or glass mixing bowl or to a large zip-top bag.
Add the chicken pieces and combine until chicken is well coated with the marinade. Tightly cover the bowl or seal the bag and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring regularly until softened and starting to turn golden, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the cooked onions to a small food processor and puree until smooth (add a splash or two of the chicken broth to help it along if necessary).
In the same skillet over medium heat add the chicken with all of its marinade and cook for about 7 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through. Stir in the chicken broth, pureed cooked onion, and brown sugar (if using), reduce the heat to low and cook for another 7 minutes, uncovered until thickened. Add the cream or coconut milk and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Remove from the heat, transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with nuts and chopped herbs if desired, and serve with basmati rice.
These cooking times are based on breasts and tenders, but using chicken thighs may take a little longer to cook. Check them for doneness and extend the cooking time longer if needed.
I cut the chicken into about 1-inch pieces which are smaller than some others do, but I find it easier to eat when they are cut more bite-size like this. They also cook faster.
If your skillet isn't non-stick you may find the marinade sticking and browning to the bottom a bit while you first cook the chicken. Don't fret. When you add the broth it will slowly soften and dissolve it as it simmers. Just beware to lower your heat if you notice it browning to the pan so it doesn't end up burning.
To make this chicken korma dairy-free: 1) use non-dairy yogurt such as cashew yogurt in place of the regular yogurt (you're using nuts anyway so why not?), 2) use oil and not ghee for cooking the onion, and 3) use coconut milk to finish instead of heavy cream. This recipe is naturally gluten-free.