Thursday, 18 October 2012

Murg Malai Tikka/ Chicken Malai (Cream) Tikka

I grew up believing that Tikka always has to be red or orange in colour. Though traditionally these colours were attained with the use of turmeric powder or chilly powder, modern chefs have indulged in the extensive use of food colours for this purpose. And for this very reason, foods with strong colours usually eat on my appetite. So whenever I come across food with little to no colours I am very eager to try it out and if they have the perfect flavours, I seek to unfold its mysteries.I was acquainted with this Murg Malai Tikka from Cafe Saffron, South Morang, more than a year back. Surprised at seeing the almost colourless chicken, I knew I was bound to like it. (Not sure if they still serve the same tikka now).

Tikka is Persian for bits and pieces and is believed to have originated from Punjab. Generally they are prepared with boneless pieces of chicken, fish or goat, marinated in spices, put on skewers and baked either in a tandoori clay oven or grilled at the highest possible temperature in the oven, for best results. It is also a good practise to prepare tikka in a barbecue; a charcoal barbecue is best since it imparts the unique tandoor flavour to the dish.  

Murg Malai Tikka is one variation of the numerous flavours of Tikka that originated from Punjab. Cream and cheese, together with yoghurt and traditional tandoor spices and the grilled flavours make this a perfect appetiser loved by all. This recipe is closely inspired by making a few variations for flavours I prefer. Thank you Soma for sharing your recipe.
Makes: 6 - 8 serves
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Marination: 2.5 hrs (maximum)
Cooking Time: 11 - 12 minutes

  • 1 kg boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
Dry Marinade
  •  1/2 tsp meat tenderiser (you can opt not to use this but will have to marinate at least overnight after mixing wet marinade)
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp kasoori methi/ dried fenugreek leaves (for a less pungent flavour you can use fresh, finely minced fenugreek leaves)
  • Salt to taste
Wet Marinade
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 - 4 green chilly, chopped (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves, minced
  • 1/2 cup thickened cream (I used Philadelphia cream for cooking)
  • 1/2 cup greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup melting cheese, like colby or cheddar
1. Mix chicken pieces with dry marinade, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. In the meantime, finely grind garlic, ginger and chilly. Mix this together with remaining wet ingredients. After 30 minutes of leaving chicken in the refrigerator, mix it with wet ingredients. Cover and leave to marinate in refrigerator for 2 hrs, not more. (Chicken pieces will become too tender if left for more than 3 hrs and will be hard to grill. If you are not using met tenderiser, please leave to marinate in refrigerator for 8 hrs).
3. Pre-heat grill in your oven to maximum temperature possible. (Maximum on my fan-forced oven was 250° C). Put chicken pieces on skewers, 3 - 4 pieces on each skewer. If using wooden skewers, use it after immersing in water for 1 hr to avoid them burning into flames. Place it under grill, 6 - 7 minutes on first side and 3 - 4 minutes on the other, till each side gets a slightly charred look.

Serve hot with green yoghurt chutney.  


  1. Nice and Interesting "can I have some please "

    I have cook many time without the colour,the colour makes it temping that's why we mix colour in it...either way it taste good ;)
    I have been to Cafe Saffron - Ivanhoe not to South Morang it too far for us but I think they don't serve this recipe any more.

  2. Damn. for vegetarian ,pics r good enogh.

  3. Woohoo...whats going on? So tempting dish...Had come to say thanks for the comment on,I think I must have some from these Tikkas..:-)

  4. Roha Khan - Yeah, my friends keeps telling me the same thing that colors make food more temtpting. So I am forcing myself to use more turmeric powder in the least to add colour ;)

    Julie, Deep Krishna - Thank You..

    Kitchen Queen - reckon you should try the same with tofu :)

  5. Oh dear! Delicious & flavorful, your picture makes me so hungry :)

  6. Wow! wonderful post! what a nice picture. Way too tempting. Yum! I don't have an outdoor grill, but well now I know I can try in my oven too, so I'm gonna try it out very very soon chinese food