Tandoori Chicken or Chicken Tikka makes regular appearance in all Indian restaurants. The Malai Tikka Kabab is little different from the usual orange hued Chicken Tikka that you see in the appetizer section of the restaurant’s menu.
The unusual ingredient in this recipe is the cheese that is used in the marinade; besides adding to the creaminess, it also sets this recipe apart from the other Indian tandoori chicken recipes which usually uses yogurt or cream. Murg Malai Tikka Kabab are irresistible tender succulent and fragrant pieces of chicken that melts in your mouth as they are marinated in thick yogurt, cream/malai, cheese, saffron, herbs & spices and grilled to perfection.
Murg Malai Tikka Kabab/Skewered Chicken Marinated in Cream, Cheese and Herbs
- 1 lb of boneless chicken breast cut in to 1.5 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons Ghee (may be substituted with butter)
- 1/2 lemon or lime
- 1/2 onion, thickly sliced
- 1 tablespoon of shredded or crumbled mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon of garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon of onion, grated
- 2 tablespoons of sour creme or greek yogurt
- 1.5 tablespoons of ginger paste
- 1 tablespoon Ghee
- 1/4 spoon of meat tenderizer ( I use the papaya extract, available in the Indian Grocery Stores)
- Sea Salt
- a generous pinch of saffron
- 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds/jeera
- 1 teaspoon of Garam Masala (also available in Indian Grocery)
- 1/2 teaspoons of orange food (Optional)
- 1 tablespoon of red chilli powder (Optional)
- 1 tablespoon of Kasoori Methi (this is dried fenugreek leaves available in Indian Grocers)
- 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
Pat the cubed chicken pieces with a paper towel to remove as much moisture as you can. In a bowl combine all the dry marinade ingredients, ( if using liquid food color, mix it with the wet marinade) and rub it on to the chicken pierces and let the chicken cubes sit in the refrigerator for about half an hour.
In the mean time mix all the ingredients for the wet marinade in a bowl. (you may use a blender to mix everything together). Mix it well so there are no lumps.
Take the chicken out and add this marinade to the chicken pieces. Cover and place in the refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours.
To grill the chicken: run the skewers with some marinade and skewer the cubes in bamboo skewers (soak them in water for at least 1/2 hour) or metal ones. Grill them on one side, turn them around and brush them with marinade and ghee/butter midway. Cook till they have spots on them and no juice runs. Like all other Tikkas this is best char grilled.
To Broil: Bast the meat with ghee/butter/oil and broil in the oven at 450 degree F for about 20 -25 minutes, or cook until chicken is tender and flesh is white, turning them around mid way and basting them with ghee/butter and marinade. Broil them till they are done and no meat juices run and there are little brown spots on the chicken cubes. The cooking time will vary in different ovens. My oven switches on and off when set to broil, so it takes longer (leaving the meat tender). But any oven with constant direct heat will take less time. Please adjust.
Alternative Method/On stove top in a grill pan:
Heat a large grill pan and coat it with ghee/butter/oil. Place the skewers on the pan and cook at low to medium heat for about 15-20 minutes turning them around and basting them with ghee/butter and little bit of the marinade from time to time. Cook them till they are done and no meat juices run and there are little brown spots on the chicken cubes.
Serve on the bed of grilled Onions and Squeeze fresh Lemon/Lime juice on the Chicken and Onion, with Mint & Coriander Chutneyc as a dipping sauce. Serve the kebab with pilaf, couscous, or pasta or as appetizers with your favorite condiment. The Malai Kabab makes a great party dish, and each time I serve them they disappear quite quickly. Try it out, & you will not regret.
Note: I have cooked the chicken in a stove top double grill pan this time. If you are making it in larger quantities, it is easier to broil it in the oven or use the grill.