Murgh Malai Tikka
Murg malai tikka is one of my favourite chicken dishes. I believe the origin of this dish can be traced back to the Mughal Empire, which ruled the Indian subcontinent during the 16th and 17th century. Mughlai cuisine has a strong Persian influence and uses rich ingredients such as cashew nuts, saffron, cardamom etc.
Chicken pieces are coated in creamy cashew nut sauce with crushed cardamom pods, then skewered and traditionally cooked in a tandoor. If there were three words to describe this tikka it would be: succulent, rich and fragrant. The mild taste compared with most Indian dishes that tend to use an array of spices means the murgh malai tikka is the perfect canape over the festive season.
Unfortunately I don’t own a tandoor at home and often cook the tikkas on a barbecue. However, the persistent rain means I have to resort to searing the chicken pieces in a frying pan before baking in a hot oven. This seals the chicken to ensure it doesn’t dry and gives it a lovely colour. If you have a gas oven, you can just skewer the meat and cook under the grill without any need to seal the meat.
- 4 chicken breasts, cubed
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3tbsp cashew nuts, soaked in water for at least 2 hours
- 4 tbsp double cream
- 3 or 4 cardamom, pods only
- 2 pinches of nutmeg powder
- 1 pinch all spice powder
- 1 pinch white pepper powder
- salt to taste
- oil for basting
- In a food processor, whizz the cashew nuts with the cream until it forms a paste. Add milk if necessary.
- Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 4-5 hours.
- Preheat the oven 200C.
- In a frying pan, add oil and place on high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces and seal the meat on both sides (about a minute each side).
- Place the chicken pieces in a lined baking tray, baste with oil and cook in the oven for 10 minutes or until cooked.
- Serve with mint and coriander chutney.
If you are cooking in a tandoor, barbecue or under the grill, skewer the chicken pieces on bamboo skewers that have been pre-soaked in water and keep basting them in a oil and cream mixture.