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How To Make Malai Chicken

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Palash Mitra's tandoori chicken

We make malai chicken at all of my cooking classes. It’s so good!


Tandoori malai chicken is posh chicken at its best!

When I started writing my blog, I’d already been cooking Indian food for about 18 years. Like many of you, I got through my share of cookbooks and made hundreds of recipes. One of my favourites was authentic chicken malai. 

I was quite good at cooking other people’s recipes but had very few of my own. It took starting a blog and knowing the basics before I actually began developing my own recipes.

Developing my own recipes is one part of writing my blog that I enjoy most. That and learning new unique recipes and techniques from chefs that are taking Indian food to a new level. This  chicken malai is one of those recipes on a very high level!

Nowadays, I still look at the odd new Indian cookbook, but I prefer getting out there and learning from the best chefs. I learned this chicken malai recipe from my chef friend Palash Mitra.

Palash Mitra is one of the most talented and passionate chefs I’ve ever had the honour of meeting. I met him when he was Head Chef of Scarfes Bar at Rosewood London.

Following is Palash’s tandoori chicken malai recipe which I helped him prepare at the  him prepare at Scarfes Bar. Believe me… this chicken malai is as good as chicken malai gets.

Palash, who once worked under one of my all time food heroes Chef Vivek Singh, took me through his chicken malai recipe step by step. He mixed all of the ingredients by hand and then rubbed them into the chicken to marinate for 24 hours.

After trying the malai chicken at Scarfes Bar, I knew I had to make it myself.

I took home with me not only Palash’s recipe but a few preparation techniques which I now apply to all my tandoori recipes. 

For a food blogger, this information is like gold! For the casual home cook, recipes like this will make family and guests think you are an expert Indian chef.

So give this chicken malai recipe a go. Be sure to leave a comment and let Palash and me know what you thought of it. 🙂

If you like this one as much as I think you will, be sure to try Palash’s tandoori prawns!

Palash Mitra's tandoori Chicken

Preparing the first marinade.


Palash Mitra's tandoori chicken

Working the second marinade into a smooth emulsion.

UPDATE: This chicken malai recipe features in my red cookbook ‘The Curry Guy’.

A couple of years after writing this blog post, I was offered my first cookbook deal. There was no doubt in my mind that this chicken malai had to go in it! It has become one of the most popular recipes in the cookbook. You can purchase your copy here.

I now hold cookery classes here in the UK and at Villa Jousselin with Big in France near La Rochelle, France and this chicken malai recipe is always one I have guests to my classes try. The recipe is a bit hidden in my cookbook so for many of them who have my books, this chicken malai is still new to them and they love it.


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Yield: 4

Palash Mitra's Tandoori Murgh Malai Tikka

Palash Mitra's Tandoori Murgh Malai Tikka
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 500g chicken thighs deboned and diced
  • 1 tbsp. ginger- garlic paste
  • 2 tsp. green chillies, finely chopped with seeds
  • 2 tsp. ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. corn oil
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. sandalwood powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. Greek style yoghurt
  • 120 ml double cream
  • A few strands of saffron
  • ½ tsp. Royal cumin
  • 2 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp. coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. cream cheese


  1. Pour the oil into a deep bowl and add the ginger-garlic paste, salt, turmeric, chopped green chillies, ginger, lemon juice and saffron.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and one half of the cream. Mix well and add the sandlewood powder if using. Rub this into the chicken to marinate while you prepare the second marinade.
  3. Heat the ghee over a low flame and add the royal cumin (black cumin) and let it splutter.
  4. Let this cool to room temperature.
  5. Pour this mixture over the chicken and then add the rest of the cream, the cream cheese, coriander and the yogurt.
  6. Allow to marinate for 24 hours.
  7. To cook the chicken, thread them onto skewers and grill over medium heat untill cooked through.
  8. Alternately bake in an oven at 180c for 6-8 minutes or until cooked through.

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Chef Mitra Palash and Team

Palash (second on the left) and his team at the amazing Scarfes Bar


Palash Mitra's tandoori chicken

My daughter showing off two skewers of chicken malai she cooked.


Friday 26th of May 2017

I must try this. It will be me doing the cooking though. I am the curry fan in my house!

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 31st of May 2017

Go for it Daniel! This is one of my favourite chicken tikka recipes.

Thanks, Dan


Friday 19th of August 2016

Hey...can you tell me when to add the chopped ginger and garlic...there is already the ginger garlic paste mentioned in the first marinade but no mention of the chopped ginger and garlic elsewhere in the procedure. Thanks in advance!

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 23rd of August 2016

Hi Pavani

Sorry about that. Need to get it fixed. The garlic and ginger goes in after the oil. about two tablespoons garlic/ginger paste.

Cheers, Dan

Simon Geraghty

Tuesday 31st of May 2016

Hi Dan, great site watched all afternoon great recipes but which base curry do you use as I see on line there are several to choose from. Thanks Simon

Dan Toombs

Friday 8th of July 2016

Hi Simon

I use the large batch which is on my site. It isn't needed for this recipe though. :-)


Hira Rai

Friday 1st of April 2016

yummmmi thanks i love this :)


Monday 11th of January 2016

Please confirm if I have misread but are u suggesting that hot ghee and royal cumin mixture is poured over raw chicken and the is left for 24 before it is cooked. Isn't there a risk of food poisoning ?

Dan Toombs

Friday 15th of January 2016

Hi Trish

Thank you for your question. To be honest, the ghee does cool quite quickly when it comes in contact with the cold chicken. I have never had a problem. That said, I have changed the recipe and suggested people allow the ghee to cool before adding. Good idea.

Cheers Dan

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