Murgh Malaiwala

Murgh Malaiwala | Playful Cooking

Growing up, chicken was usually prepared couple of times a week at home. And almost every time, it was painted with lot of spices and slow cooked or pressure-cooked until the meat is tender and the gravy is rich red in color. I never got bored of it. I looked forward to it every single time. That’s still my favorite chicken curry. Over the period of time, with the help of several food blogs and our ever-curious taste buds, I learnt handful other chicken dishes. I would prepare these recipes on a random basis over and over again. Few weeks back, as we were doing our weekly grocery shopping, Arvind suddenly said that I should try other chicken dishes and eventually sent me a few links too. He wanted me to learn and share. Well, clearly he was bored of the same old curries. Either way, the idea was quite motivating.


Murgh Malaiwala | Playful Cooking


Murgh Malaiwala | Playful Cooking


So, for the past few weeks, every time we bought chicken, a new recipe was tried and tested. There are probably thousands of chicken curries out there and why was I not trying out a new one every time? I had no idea! I guess that push was required.

Being used to seeing chicken curries in vibrant shades of color, I was not very sure of Chicken 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.


Murgh Malaiwala | Playful Cooking


Murgh Malaiwala | Playful Cooking


This chicken curry 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.

There are no nuts added in the curry, but you could sprinkle some powdered nuts for added richness. I just used some chopped almonds for garnish.

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.