2 tablespoons cooking oil or ghee (clarified butter)
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces
3 bay leaves
3 cinnamon sticks
12 green cardamom pods
1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped (about 2 cups chopped)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed in a press or finely minced
3 tablespoons grated or finely minced fresh ginger root
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, deveined, and finely minced
Cilantro, parsley or toasted slivered almonds to garnish (optional)
In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup yogurt with 1/4 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
Sprinkle chicken pieces with 1/2 teaspoon salt and set aside.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat, in a large skillet with a lid. When it is very hot, but not smoking, add the bay leaves, cinnamon, and cardamom pods. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, until the spices start to sizzle. Add the chopped onions and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, until the onions just start to brown around the edges. Add the chicken pieces and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and has started to brown a bit. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry for two minutes more. Add Jalapeños and yogurt/water/salt mixture. Lower heat and simmer, stirring, for a minute or so. Cover skillet and cook at a gentle simmer for 8 minutes. Remove cover and add the remaining 1/2 cup of yogurt, heating and stirring gently for about a minute. Serve korma with steamed white rice. Garnish with cilantro, parsley or toasted slivered almonds.
Note: Remove bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods before serving.