Creamy rich with beautiful aromatic flavors and very mildly spices, this Creamy Malai Chicken - Murgh Malaiwala is a luxurious curry. It is easy to prepare and will wow your family or guests at the very first bite. Don't miss the DETAILED VIDEO that is attached below.
What is Murgh Malaiwala - Creamy Malai Chicken
To break down the words, Murgh is chicken and Malai is cream. This is a unique chicken curry where you cook the chicken in milk and heavy cream. The end result is a rich succulent juicy chicken pieces.
Creamy Malai Chicken or Murgh Malaiwala is a rich milk based chicken curry, and you prepare using aromatic dried herbs, heavy cream and milk. Unlike most other chicken curry, this particular chicken curry is off white in shade or sometime mild orange because of the addition of saffron.
The spices that go in are also very aromatic. Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) and green cardamoms along with some fennel seeds gives that floral perfume flavor.
You can add saffron too if you prefer the orange hue. But traditionally, the curry is left off white in color.
Are there NUTS?
I wanted to address this right in the beginning that there are absolutely no nuts added in this curry. You can definitely feel free to add cashew cream instead if you want to avoid milk or heavy cream.
Key Ingredients to Prepare Creamy Malai Chicken
Chicken pieces - I keep it a mix of bone and boneless chicken. Make sure to score the drumsticks if using. Do keep in mind that cooking time will be faster if you use only boneless chicken.
Onion - I used red onion, and it didn't temper the color. You can choose white or yellow too.
Milk - Cooking the chicken in milk makes it rich, and the texture turns very juicy tender. If you are lactose intolerant, feel free to try with any dairy free milk. The taste will definitely differ based on that.
Three key spices - Green Cardamoms, dried fenugreek leaves and fennel seeds. These three spices adds a beautiful aroma to the dish without making it spicy.
Adding color to this Malai Chicken Recipe
I personally like to keep it off white shade, but if you prefer the orange yellow shade in chicken curries, then add turmeric or saffron.
Saffron will not make it very colorful and will instead add a very light tint of orange shade.
Turmeric will definitely make it look very yellow like any other home style chicken curry.
Because the chicken is cooked in heavy cream and milk, there are no tomatoes added. The acidity in tomato can curdle the texture of the gravy.
HERE IS THE DETAILED VIDEO OF THE RECIPE
Preparing this Malai Murgh Recipe
I believe there are quite a few versions of Murgh Malaiwala.
Some stir fries the chicken for a while and then slow cooks in milk. Some prefers to not add oil or ghee at all.
I have seen versions where they add saffron to get the hue or orange shade of the murgh malaiwala and others prefer to leave it white.
Cooking the Chicken in milk is the base of this dish, and the rest you can alter as per your liking.
Murgh Malaiwala typically has no oil, butter or ghee. It’s a complete cream based gravy, and hence the name Malaiwala. Malai means Cream in English. However, I do prepare it in ghee mixed with little oil.
The sauce is not overloaded with spice or heat. A few green cardamoms and a little bit of dried fenugreek leaves and fennel powder makes a lovely flavor blend.
A key point to cook at medium low heat and stirring occasionally, so the milk doesn't get burnt at the bottom of the pan.
Being used to seeing chicken curries in vibrant shades of color, I was not very sure of Murgh Malaiwala, which looked quite pale.But as the flavor started to infuse, I was sold. It’s mildly spicy, smooth to the palate and absolutely delicious.
Best way to serve This Creamy Malai Chicken Curry
Pair it with Rice or try my Instant Naan
Because the chicken curry is so light and mildly spiced, you can enjoy some pickle on the side or some salad, perhaps for the crunch.
Whatever way you pair this rich, aromatic creamy white chicken curry, you will surely enjoy the sublime taste of this unique dish.
Creamy Malai Chicken (NO NUTS)
- 1 and ½ lb Chicken pieces (mix of bones and boneless)
- 2 green chili
- 3 garlic cubes
- 1 inch fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
- 1 medium onion (8 oz)
- 1 and ½ tablespoons ghee
- A drizzle of oil
- 1 or 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 4 green cardamoms
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon fennel powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
- finely chopped cilantro leaves to garnish on top
- Using a small grinder, grind the ginger garlic and green chili. You can also, simultaneously, finely chop or pound it using a mortar pestle.
- Marinate the chicken pieces with the ginger garlic and chili paste, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves and leave it aside for minimum 4 hours or overnight for best flavor.
- When you are ready to make the curry, finely chop the red onion.
- Place a heavy bottom skillet at medium hot temperature. Pour the ghee and drizzle the oil. Once it heats up at the fennel seeds, cumin seeds, cardamoms and bay leaves. Stir it around for a few seconds for the aroma to release.
- Scatter the onion and stir it around.
- Season with ½ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves. Cook in medium heat for 1 minute. You don't want to brown the onion.
- Pour the heavy cream and keep stirring around occasionally for the onion to soften down completely. It will take roughly 5 minutes.
- Add the marinated chicken pieces and give it a toss.
- Sprinkle ½ teaspoon fennel powder, ½ teaspoon cumin powder, 1 green chili slice in half. Mix it around and then pour the milk.
- Stir occasionally, and let the chicken cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon cardamom powder in between and continue cooking.
- After 20 minutes, a lot of that milk will be reduced and the chicken should be cooked. Add the garam masala powder and a little bit more dried fenugreek leaves and simmer for 5 minutes.
- The Creamy Malai Chicken is ready. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and serve warm.
Good morning and thank you for this recipe 🙂
Simmering onions in cream sounds so exotic! Like French technique! This is a majestic, magnificent type curry which can hypnotize even a saint's senses 🙂
Love the recipe and your warm, inviting pictures.
I think its easy to get stuck in a recipe rut with tried and tested favourites! I am always looking for inspiration, especially chicken dishes. This looks lovely and comforting, I love the subtle spicing! Great tip about not adding the salt until the end, thank you!
This looks droolworthy! And I can't get enough of your photography.
I love chicken and I think this dish is extremely mouthwatering. As usual, your pictures are magnificent.
Pictures are so beautiful!! I have got a very similar wooden tray that I brought along from India this year.