Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a deep sauté
pan or wok. Tip in the onions, then fry over
a medium-high heat for about 12-15 mins,
stirring occasionally, until a rich golden
colour and the pan is sticky on the
bottom. While they cook, chop the garlic
and ginger. Make a slit down the length of
each cardamom pod just deep enough to
reveal the tiny seeds. Remove the onions
from the heat. Transfer a third of them
to a small blender along with the garlic,
ginger and 2 tbsp water. Whizz together
to make a paste that is as smooth as you
can get it. Set aside.
Return the onions in the pan to the heat,
add the remaining oil, cardamom pods
and cinnamon stick, then stir-fry for a
couple of mins. Stir in the chicken, ground
coriander, 1¼ tsp of the garam masala,
mace and black pepper, then stir-fry for
another 2 mins. Reserve 3 tbsp of the
yogurt, then slowly start to add the rest,
1 tbsp at a time, stirring between each
spoonful. When all the yogurt has gone
in, stir in the oniony paste and stir-fry for
2-3 mins. Stir in 150ml water, then the
milk. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered,
for 20 mins, scattering in the chillies for
the final 5 mins, by which time the
chicken should be very tender. Remove
the cardamom pods and cinnamon.
The flavours mellow all the more if
refrigerated overnight. When gently
reheating, splash in a little water if
needed to slacken the korma sauce.
Finish by stirring in the chopped
coriander. Taste and add a little salt
if you wish. Swirl in the reserved yogurt.
Spoon the korma into bowls, scatter
a few almonds over each portion with a
sprinkling of the remaining garam masala.
Serve the saffron rice on the side.