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Savory Chicken Malai Tikka – Creamy Spiced Skewers

time is 15 minutes. Cook
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Introduction

The culinary landscape of India is a tapestry of flavors, aromas, and traditions. One such treasure in the vast array of Indian cuisine is the delectable Chicken Malai Tikka. This dish, known for its tender and succulent chicken pieces marinated in a creamy blend of spices, has a history as rich and vibrant as its flavors. Malai translates to “cream,” and the dish is named after its signature creamy marinade.

The origin of Malai Tikka can be traced back to the northern regions of India, particularly the Mughal Empire. The Mughals, who had a profound influence on Indian cuisine, brought with them a love for rich, creamy dishes. Over time, this influence merged with the native spices and culinary traditions of India, giving birth to delightful creations like Chicken Malai Tikka. Today, this dish is celebrated across the country and beyond for its melt-in-the-mouth texture and harmonious blend of flavors.

Historical Context

The Mughal Empire, which spanned from the early 16th to the mid-18th century, was renowned for its opulent and extravagant feasts. Dishes like Chicken Malai Tikka became an integral part of these lavish banquets. The Mughals introduced the use of dairy products like cream and yogurt in Indian cooking, resulting in a rich, luscious style of cuisine that is still cherished today.

Now, let’s embark on the journey of preparing this savory delight.

Preparation

  1. Marination: In a mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, fresh cream, ginger-garlic paste, green chili paste, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, turmeric powder, red chili powder, lemon juice, salt, and vegetable oil. Mix everything thoroughly to create a smooth, creamy marinade.
  2. Chicken Prep: Add the bite-sized chicken pieces to the marinade, ensuring that each piece is well coated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, allowing the chicken to absorb the flavors.
  3. Skewering: After marination, thread the marinated chicken pieces onto the soaked wooden skewers. Make sure to leave a little space between each piece for even cooking.
  4. Gram Flour Magic: Sprinkle a light coating of roasted gram flour (besan) over the skewered chicken. This step not only adds a unique flavor but also helps to absorb excess moisture, ensuring the chicken cooks evenly.
  5. Grilling: Preheat your grill or oven to 200°C (392°F). Place the skewers on the grill rack or in the oven. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and develops a beautiful, golden char on the outside.
  6. Basting: During grilling, baste the chicken with a little extra cream or butter, which adds a velvety finish to your Chicken Malai Tikka.
  7. Serving: Once the chicken is cooked to perfection, remove it from the grill or oven. Serve hot, garnished with fresh coriander leaves and a wedge of lemon.

Tips and Variations

  • You can add a few drops of kewra essence for a subtle floral aroma.
  • For a smoky flavor, use a charcoal grill and add a smoldering piece of charcoal to the grill with a few drops of ghee (clarified butter).
  • Adjust the level of green chili paste to control the spiciness of your tikka.

Chicken Malai Tikka, with its creamy and spiced skewers, makes for a delightful appetizer or even a main course. The marination ensures that each bite is a burst of flavors, a testament to the centuries-old culinary legacy of the Mughals and the vibrant essence of Indian cuisine.

This dish serves as a fantastic representation of the diversity of India’s culinary heritage, a blend of cultures and flavors that has stood the test of time. Whether enjoyed during a festive celebration or as an indulgent treat, the Chicken Malai Tikka is a true testament to the richness of Indian gastronomy. So, prepare this dish, savor the flavors, and experience a slice of history on your plate.

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staffcontributor
prep time
ion time is 30 minutes.
cooking time
time is 15 minutes.
servings
4
total time
me is 45 minutes.

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl

  • Grill or oven

  • Grill rack (if using)

  • Wooden skewers (soaked in water)

Ingredients

  • 500 grams of boneless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 cup thick yogurt

  • 1/2 cup fresh cream (malai)

  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste

  • 1 teaspoon green chili paste

  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder

  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder

  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • Salt to taste

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 tablespoon roasted gram flour (besan)

  • 16 wooden skewers, soaked in water

Instructions

1
Prepare the creamy marinade.
2
Marinate the chicken for 2 hours.
3
Thread chicken onto skewers.
4
Grill until charred and cooked.
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