A chicken malai tikka recipe for soft, juicy kababs on skewers that will simply melt in your mouth. Tender pieces of boneless chicken are marinated in a unique blend of yogurt, cream, cheese, papaya and spices and cooked on a grill or oven. Perfect for an outdoor barbecue or luncheon.
A balmy summer evening in your backyard (or park). Your most favorite people in the world. And these creamy chicken malai kababs.
Sound good? Heavenly, I'd say!
Chicken malai tikka or murgh malai tikka (murgh - chicken, malai - cream) and barbecue parties are a match made in heaven. Always a super-duper hit with people. Bite into one tender piece and you'll know why. Not overwhelmingly sharp or spicy, these kababs are mild and creamy with a rich taste that lingers on long after they've disappeared.
And when you also have a cilantro-mint chutney to go with them? Oh, joy! Pop a chutney smothered tikka into your mouth and your taste buds will be doing a happy dance!
Grilled or baked murgh malai tikka?
This choice depends on the kind of do you're having. If it's an outdoorsy summer event, go ahead and fire up that grill. Grilled malai tikka has a wonderful smoky taste and gets cooked faster.
However, if grilling is not an option, you can still have these kababs on skewers in your oven. Just position the skewers on a baking tray and bake in the oven. It will take a little longer though, about an hour's baking time for the kababs to be done properly. But they taste good!
Ingredients for the chicken malai tikka marinade
- boneless chicken breast or thigh, cut into bite-sized pieces.
- ginger-garlic paste - make your own or buy bottled. To make your own paste, put equal quantities of peeled ginger and garlic in a blender along with some water and blend to get a smooth puree. Store in a covered glass container/bottle in the fridge and use as required.
- raw papaya paste - fresh, raw papaya can be found in Indian stores. It's very easy to make this paste - just chop some papaya along with the green skin and put in a blender with a little water. Whiz to get a smooth puree. Or you can also buy bottled papaya, again from any Indian or Pakistani grocery stores.
- cheddar cheese, grated
- Greek yogurt
- heavy cream
- white pepper powder
- green chillies, minced
- cooking oil
- lemon or lime, wedges
- cilantro or mint, for garnish
Ingredients for the green chutney
- cilantro leaves
- mint leaves
- green chillies
How to make chicken malai tikka
Easiest thing in the world! Mix all the marinade ingredients + chicken, thread the chicken on skewers and grill away.
Here's a step-by-step -
1. Prep all the ingredients
- cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces
- grate the cheddar cheese
- mince the green chillies
- make the papaya paste
- make the ginger-garlic paste
Note: If you are in a hurry, you can cut back on the prep by using bottled ginger, garlic and papaya pastes.
2. Mix the marinade ingredients with a spoon and put the chicken pieces in it.
- Keep in the refrigerator for 2 hours or more (marination time). If using chicken breasts, you need a longer marination time, preferably overnight in the refrigerator. The reason is that breast meat tends to dry out and become tough at high temps especially when you're cooking it on a grill. So it's best to give it a longer marination time for soft tikkas. Thigh meat doesn't have this problem, so you're good to go with it with less marination time.
3. Thread the chicken onto wooden or metal skewers.
- If using wooden skewers, soak them first in water for a couple hours. You can do this at the same time as you put the chicken in the fridge to marinate.
- If cooking in an oven, line a baking dish with aluminum foil and place the skewers on it.
4. Grill or bake the skewers.
- Grilling - fire up the grill and place the skewers on it. Baste with oil or butter at regular intervals. Turn over and repeat. The kababs should be cooked through and slightly charred on the surface.
- Baking - Place the baking dish in a preheated oven (400 F) and bake for 25 minutes. Turn over the skewers and bake for another 25 minutes.
5. Brush the cooked skewers with some extra oil or butter and serve hot with lemon wedges and green chutney.
How to make green chutney
- Put all the ingredients in a blender and whiz to get a smooth puree.
Tip - This is optional, but you can throw a little yogurt in the blender for a thicker cilantro-mint-yogurt chutney.
- Warm some Indian bread of your choice (naan, roti, pita), and serve the chicken malai kabab over it. Or roll it up for a kabab roll!
- Make a salad to go along with the kababs. Sliced onions, sliced tomatoes, finely cut green chillies and a dash of salt and lemon taste so good with these kababs.
Other grilled recipes you might like
Chicken Malai Tikka
- 3 boneless chicken breasts or thighs cut into bite-size pieces
- 6 wooden or metal skewers
- a sprig cilantro for garnish
- lemon wedges
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- 2 tablespoon raw papaya paste
- 2 tablespoon grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoon Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoon heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon white pepper powder
- 2 green chillies minced
- 2 tablespoon cooking oil
- 2 teaspoon cornflour
- salt to taste
Green chutney ingredients
- 1 bunch cilantro leaves
- 1 bunch mint leaves
- 1 small tomato chopped
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
- 2 green chillies
- salt to taste
Chicken tikka method
- In a deep glass bowl, mix the marinade ingredients very well with a mixing spoon and add the chicken pieces in it. Cover with cling foil and keep in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, more if using breast meat (preferably upto 24 hours).
- Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers, shaking off the excess marinade.
- Cook on a hot grill, basting with oil or butter at regular intervals. Turn over and repeat. Remove when slightly charred (20-25 minutes)
- If cooking in the oven, place the chicken skewers on an aluminum foil lined baking dish and bake in the oven at 400 F for 1 hour. At the half an hour mark, turn over the skewers once. When done, brush with some oil or butter.
- Garnish with some chopped cilantro and serve hot with the cilantro-mint chutney and lemon wedges.
Green chutney method
- Put the chutney ingredients in a blender and whizz to get a puree.
- Do increase the marination time to 24 hours if using chicken breasts. This meat tends to become tough when cooked at high temperatures so you want to compensate by marinating it for longer.
- Ginger-garlic and papaya pastes are easily available in Indian grocery stores. If making your own, all you need to do is blend the required amounts of ginger and garlic with some water, and then do the same for the papaya. There's no need to peel the papaya.
- Don't forget to soak the wooden skewers in water a couple of hours before using them.
- I have not included the marination time in the recipe card as it varies.
Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!
Elaine Benoit says
I have never had this dish, but know that I've seen it, I want to have it asap! The chicken looks so flavorful and moist, just how I like it! Now to go and get the ingredients!! Wonderful recipe.
Thanks, Elaine. Most of the ingredients are commonly available except papaya paste which you will get in Indian or Pakistani stores.Or buy raw papaya and make a purée as mentioned. Good luck!
Nicoletta De Angelis Nardelli says
This is a keeper recipe for all those summer outdoor gatherings! Love the green chutney and the chicken, after that beautiful marinade, looks moist and juicy.
These chicken skewers look so juicy and tasty! I had no idea ginger-garlic paste was so easy to make, I can't wait to try it! It's so hot these days in my house, this will be an excellent grilled meal to get us through the summer 🙂
Making ginger-garlic paste is a breeze! And yes, grilled meats are the way to go in the summer!
What a great dish, perfect for the grilling season! I must admit, I have never tried this dish before, but just looking at your photos makes me hungry! Chicken looks lovely and juicy and that green chutney sounds like a perfect addition!
That chicken looks moist and tender, the marinade sounds amazing, and the chutney just puts the flavors over the top! This is a winning recipe.
I love all these flavors! This is such a unique recipe, and I don't normally use many of the ingredients, but I can't wait to try it.
Amanda Mason says
This is the perfect summer meal!!! So lean and high in protein! And this green chutney looks divine! Loving the marinade pictures, too! I can't wait to try this! I'll be eating this one all summer!!!
Thanks Amanda. It sure is a summer hit!
These sound great for a summer weeknight meal. I've got to see if I can find papaya paste!
Claire | The Simple, Sweet Life says
It's finally warm enough to break out the grill here so I've been on the hunt for some fun, new recipes and this looks like just the thing! I love that it's so lean, too!
Hey, thanks Claire!
My kids absolute favorite and they love it for it's subtle flavors. Chicken malai looks perfectly cooked, juicy and the flavors are perfect! Yummy!
My kids too, Jo! You won’t believe how quick these disappeared after I had photographed them. In a matter of seconds, literally!
Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness says
I am always looking for more chicken recipes. I am loving all these grilling recipes, but unfortunately I don't have a grill 🙁
Well, as I said in the post, you can make chicken malai tikka in your oven too!
Avishek Dan says
Good one but tastes better with more spices such as kasuri methi and added veggies like onions and capsicum. Green chutney is too overpowering for the mild taste.
I have one question why do you use papaya paste as is chicken cooks faster especially after long marination and we are going to cook for an hour ?
Also are meat tenderizer a good option ?
Walekumsalam Sana, papaya paste is what makes the chicken melt in the mouth. It makes the chicken very soft. Chicken breasts especially have a tendency to dry out. That said, you could make these kebabs without papaya paste, I suppose. It is not an ingredient that would take away from the taste. I haven't used meat tenderizer in this recipe, so I can't comment on that. Hope that helps.
Dr Martha says
I have chopped Anaheim chilly's but I think you're talking more about a Habanero chili, could you let me know what kind of green chili to buy?
Dr. Martha, I use Indian green chillies. They are small and hot, more like Thai chillies. Anaheim is milder, I believe.