Murgh Malaiwala

Murgh Malaiwala | Playful Cooking

Murgh Malaiwala is a rich milk based chicken curry prepared using aromatic dried herbs, nuts 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.

What is Murgh Malaiwala

To break down the words, Murgh is chicken and Malai is cream. This is a unique chicken curry where chicken is slow cooked in milk. The end result is a rich succulent juicy chicken pieces.

The spices that goes in are also very aromatic. Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) and green cardamoms along with some fennel seeds are my favourite pick for the dish.

You can add saffron too if you prefer the orange hue. But traditionally the curry is left offwhite in color.

Murgh Malaiwala | Playful Cooking

Ingredients to Prepare Murgh Malaiwala:

  • Chicken pieces – I keep it a mix of bone and boneless chicken
  • Onion
  • Milk
  • Geeen Cardamoms
  • Dried Fenugreek Leaves
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Ginger Garlic Paste
  • Fresh green chili

Murgh Malaiwala | Playful Cooking

Preparing this Malai Murgh Recipe 

I believe there are quite a few version of Murgh Malaiwala.

Some stir fries the chicken for a while and then slow cooks in milk. Some prepfer 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.

The sauce is not overloaded with spice or heat. Hint of saffron, few green cardamoms and a little bit of dried fenugreek leaves makes a lovely flavor blend giving it a perfumy aroma.

A key point to note here is to not add salt as you cook, cause it could curdle the milk. Just season the chicken while marinating and right at the end, add some more salt for taste.

As per your liking you can add ground almond to the curry or just scatter from chopped nuts at the end.

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 zeera 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 chicken curry, you will surely enjoy the sublime taste of this unique dish.

Murgh Malaiwala | Playful Cooking

Murgh Malaiwala | Playful Cooking

Murgh Malaiwala | Playful Cooking

Murgh Malaiwala

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 500 gram chicken pieces
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 3 green chilies, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cup milk
  • 3 green cardamoms, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper powder
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala powder
  • salt
  • chopped almonds for garnish, optional


  1. Marinate the chicken pieces with grated ginger, grated garlic, dried fenugreek leaves, chopped green chilies and salt. Let it rest for at least 4 hours or overnight for best result.
  2. In a hot pan, pour the cream and drop the chopped onion. Let it simmer and stir occasionally until the onion softens.
  3. Now, drop the marinated chicken, pour milk and give it a mix. Scatter the pinch of saffron and crushed cardamom. Give it a mix and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until the chicken in cooked through.
  4. Add garam masala powder, salt and let it simmer for 5 more minutes.
  5. Taste for salt and add any, if required.
  6. While serving, scatter some chopped almond on top.


Don't add salt while cooking as it might curdle the milk. Just add it while marinating the chicken and later at the end for taste.

Murgh Malaiwala | Playful Cooking

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Comments are closed.

  • Sandhya Hariharan
    Sandhya Hariharan
    August 17, 2015 at 6:58 AM

    Pictures are so beautiful!! I have got a very similar wooden tray that I brought along from India this year.

  • Rosa
    August 17, 2015 at 7:56 AM

    I love chicken and I think this dish is extremely mouthwatering. As usual, your pictures are magnificent.



  • angiesrecipes
    August 17, 2015 at 9:59 PM

    This looks droolworthy! And I can’t get enough of your photography.

  • Cygnet Kitchen
    Cygnet Kitchen
    August 18, 2015 at 12:01 PM

    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!

  • Nusrat Azim
    Nusrat Azim
    August 23, 2015 at 12:44 PM

    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.

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