Malai chicken is the posh option. Very easy to make and so good!
There are many different chicken tikka recipes out there. I have quite a few of my favourites here on the blog. Malai chicken is one I make all the time.
The flavours of cream, cream cheese, saffron and black cumin make malai chicken tikka one that stands out from the crowd in a mouthwatering way.
About this malai chicken recipe…
I learned to make malai chicken at a restaurant called Scarfs Bar at the Rosewood Hotel in London.
The head chef at the time, Palash Mitra took me through all the steps to make what was one of his signature dishes. He mixed the marinade ingredients together completely by hand ensure there were not lumps in the marinade.
Then he added the chicken and placed it in the fridge to marinate for 48 hours. I was beginning to think I wouldn’t be able to try this delicious malai chicken but then he brought out a batch that had been marinating for two days and cooked it up.
Do you need to marinate the meat for 48 hours?
For best results, yes. That said, this is a recipe I taught every week in my curry classes and we only had time to marinate the meat for about 40 minutes.
It was still amazing, though if you do have time to marinate longer, it will be even better.
Do I have to use chicken for this malai chicken recipe?
The marinade works well with many different proteins, from lamb and beef to paneer. So if chicken is not your thing, go ahead and make the marinade anyway.
Use it on the meat or vegetables of your choice. Chicken is by far the most popular option with this marinade though.
Does the malai chicken need to be cut into tikka as in the photos?
No. Malai chicken tikka is very good but you could use this same marinade on bone in cuts such as chicken legs, thighs or even a whole chicken.
Step by step photographs of malai chicken tikka…
If you like this chicken malai recipe, you might like to try some of these too…
Pakistani Chicken Kebab
Soola Chicken Tikka
- 5 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
- 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 - 4 green bird's eye chillies, finely chopped
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- Pinch of saffron threads
- 1 kg (2 1/4 lbs) chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite sized tikka
- 250ml (1 cup) double (heavy) cream
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 2 tsp royal (black) cumin
- 3 tbsp cream cheese
- 4 tbsp coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
- 100g (1/2 cup) Greek yoghurt
- Heat the ghee in a small pan over a low heat, add the royal (black) cumin seeds and let them splutter. Set aside and allwo to cool to room temperature.
- Now pour the oil into a deep tray and add the garlic and ginger paste, salt, turmeric, chopped chillies, lemon juice and saffron. Add the chicken tikka and half the cream. Rub this into the chicken, cover and marinate while you prepare the rest of the marinade or over night.
- Push the marinating chicken to one side of the tray and spoon in the rest of the cream, the cream cheese, chopped coriander (cilantro) and yoghurt to the other side of the tray.
- Work these ingredients together with your hands until they are completely emulsified. This takes about 5 minutes. Pour the cumin and ghee mixture over the chicken and then mix the chicken into the creamy marinade. You could start cooking immediately but if you can allow at least 30 minutes or 24 hours to marinate it will be even better.
- To cook the chicken, thread the pieces onto skewers and grill over direct heat until charred on the outside. Alternatively, bake in an oven at 200c (444f) for 6 - 8 minutes or until cooked through.
This Malai chicken recipe is in my cookbooks 'The Curry Guy' and 'The Curry Guy Bible'.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 157Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 752mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 8g