Creamy Saffron Chicken


This creamy, nutty dish is subtle and mild. Do splash out on a little saffron, as it makes all the difference to the flavor. You should serve the chicken as soon as it is cooked, or the sauce may separate.


  • 2 lb 4 oz/1 kg chicken breasts, on or off the bone
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • â…” cup cashew nuts
  • a little milk
  • 8 oz/225 g red onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • ghee or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 4garlic cloves, peeled and puréed
  • 1 inch/2.5 cm piece of fresh gingerroot, peeled and puréed
  • 3 inch/7.5 cm cinnamon stick, crushed
  • 5green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 4cloves
  • 1¼ cups plain yogurt
  • a pinch of saffron threads
  • â…” cup heavy cream
  • a handful of cilantro leaves
  • salt


Put the chicken breasts into a bowl, then sprinkle with salt and the lemon juice and let stand in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

Soak the cashew nuts in the milk for about 1 hour, then purée with the milk in a food processor and put to one side.

Cook the onions in the ghee until completely soft, then add the garlic and ginger purées and stir-fry until the mixture is slightly browned.

In another pan, heat some ghee and cook the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, and cloves for a couple of minutes, then add the onion paste.

Reduce the heat and stir in the yogurt and saffron, then add the chicken pieces and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.

Stir in the nut purée and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

At the last minute, stir in the heavy cream and cilantro leaves, then heat through and serve.