• 1 ½ teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 150g full fat yoghurt
  • 65 ml ghee/ clarified butter
  • 50 g blanched almonds
  • 50g unsalted cashewnuts
  • 1 clove
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 350g onions chopped
  • 3 green chillies
  • 4 green cardamoms (elaichi)
  • 1 whole green chilly
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
  • 1 kg boneless chicken
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg (jaiphal) powder
  • ½ teaspoon mace (jaipatri) powder
  • Salt to taste

A mild aromatic korma also sometimes referred to a the “Safed murgh korma”, this is basically a dish from the muslim royal court during the reign of the Moghul emperor Shahjehan, who had the Taj Mahal built in memory of his beautiful wife Mumtaz. It is said he preferred to have all white banquets on full moon nights at the Agra Fort. The terrace was decorated in all white right from carpets to cushions, white flowers and even guests dressed in white. All dishes served were white in colour (hence some refer to it as safed murgh where “safed” means white and “murgh” means chicken.

This recipe is a blend of Moghlai and Nawabi cuisine.

Originally this recipe was made only with Almonds (badam hence the name badami)

However modern day chefs prefer a combination of Cashews and Almonds. The traditional Lucknowi recipe also includes 25 gms of “char magaz” or 4 seeds; which were a mix of seeds of various melons, squash & pumpkin seeds which are available in India from speciality grocers, and a teaspoon of powdered rose petals for the more elaborate touch, but for simplicity I have not included these in the version below.

METHOD:

  1. Soak the poppy seeds in 100 ml of water for 1 hour. Then drain the water and grind into a fine paste.
  2. Hang the yoghurt in a cheese cloth for 1 hour to drain the whey. Then put the hung curd/ yoghurt in a bowl and whisk.
  3. Heat the ghee or clarified butter in a cooking pan, reserving 1 tablespoon. Then add the almonds, cashews and cinnamon or bay leaf and fry for about 8 mins.
  4. Now add the chopped green chillies, cardamoms and ground poppy seeds & fry for about 3-4 mins. Add 200ml water & cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaf & leave it to cool.
  6. Put the mixture into a blender and puree to a smooth paste without any grains.
  7. Add the reserved 1 tablespoon of ghee to the cooking pan and add he garlic, ginger, whole green chilly & clove. After about a minute add the chicken pieces. The chicken will slowly release its own juices until the meat is almost dry. Then add the yoghurt & stir continuously to prevent it from curdling.
  8. Add the ground spice mixture with the nutmeg & mace powders & salt to taste.
  9. Stir well & add 300 ml of hot water. Taste the mixture. If you find it bland you can adjust by adding additional whole green chillies. Cook over a low heat until the chicken is tender.

White Chicken Badami Korma