Chicken Malai Tikka
Chicken Malai Tikka
5 from 36 votes
This malai chicken tikka recipe made with chicken chunks marinated in a creamy sauce is perfect for iftar. A tender and juicy reshmi kebab recipe that is delicious served with homemade naan and a side of salad.
Chicken Malai Tikka

Chicken Malai Tikka! If I were to think about a dish that sings melodies of flavours in every bite, this would be it. Originating from the vibrant kitchens of Northern India, Chicken Malai Tikka is a delightful deviation from the usual spicy tikkas we’re accustomed to.

This dish is rich, creamy, and downright indulgent, all thanks to the generous use of malai (double cream) in its marinade.

As someone who has whipped up this dish countless times, I can vouch for its versatility and crowd-pleasing abilities. Whether it’s a family get-together or a solo Netflix binge, Chicken Malai Tikka is the dish to go for.

Talking about its difficulty level, well, it’s as easy as pie (pun intended!). Don’t be fooled by the exotic name and the list of ingredients. It’s a simple mix-and-roast recipe that even beginners can nail with a little attention to detail.

Variations of Chicken Malai Tikka are aplenty. Some chefs recommend adding cheese or almonds to the marinade for an added richness, while others might infuse it with saffron for an exotic aroma and flavour. But the one I’m sharing today? It’s classic, simple, and absolutely divine.

The secret behind its mesmerizing taste lies in its marinade. The amalgamation of yoghurt with malai renders it the creamy texture, while spices like black pepper, ginger, garlic, and green chili paste add the needed zest.

A hint of tang from the lemon juice and the earthy aroma of dried fenugreek leaves tie it all together.

It might come as a surprise to many, but roasting the Chicken Malai Tikka to perfection is where the magic happens.

The marinated chicken chunks, when subjected to high heat, attain a golden char on the outside while remaining succulently juicy inside. That juxtaposition of textures – creamy marinade with charred meat – is what sets this dish apart.

if you’ve never tried making Chicken Malai Tikka at home, you’re in for a delightful culinary journey. It’s rich, flavourful, and the kind of dish that will make your loved ones come back for seconds and thirds. So, roll up your sleeves and let’s dive into the world of creamy tikkas!

What Ingredients to Use & Why

As I delve into the ingredients behind Chicken Malai Tikka, it’s a bit like unveiling the magic behind a grand spectacle.

Each ingredient plays a unique role, transforming a simple piece of chicken into a gastronomic delight. Before we dissect the recipe, let’s take a moment to appreciate the symphony of flavours that makes this dish so special.

Chicken: The protagonist of our dish! Chicken, with its neutral taste and tender flesh, provides the perfect canvas for our creamy marinade. It soaks up the flavours, and when roasted, offers a delightful texture. If you’re not a fan of chicken, feel free to substitute it with paneer or tofu for a vegetarian version.

Yoghurt: Yoghurt imparts tanginess and helps in tenderizing the chicken. Its acidic nature breaks down protein, ensuring our chicken pieces are soft and juicy. Greek yogurt can be a worthy substitute if you’re aiming for a thicker consistency.

Double Cream Malai: Malai is the heart of this recipe. Its rich, creamy texture gives the tikka its distinctive smoothness. In absence of malai, one could use heavy cream, though the authentic richness of malai is hard to replace.

Salt & Black Pepper: Seasoning basics! Salt amplifies the flavours while black pepper provides a mild heat. If you’re looking for a unique twist, pink Himalayan salt or freshly crushed pepper could be alternatives.

Garlic, Ginger, and Green Chilli Pastes: These three are the trinity of Indian cooking. Garlic offers depth, ginger brings warmth, and green chilli introduces heat. If in a pinch, garlic and ginger powder can be used, but fresh pastes always give a more vibrant flavour.

Oil: Oil helps in giving a rich texture to the marinade and prevents the chicken from drying out during roasting. You can experiment with different oils like olive or avocado, but a neutral oil usually works best here.

Lemon Juice: Adding that zesty punch, lemon juice balances the creaminess of the marinade. In its absence, vinegar or even a dash of amchur (dried mango powder) can offer that sour note.

Cornflour: Cornflour helps bind the marinade, ensuring it coats the chicken well. An alternative could be all-purpose flour or rice flour, though cornflour offers the best consistency.

Dried Fenugreek Leaves (Methi): Methi leaves provide an earthy aroma, making our tikka stand out. If unavailable, you could use a pinch of fenugreek seeds or just skip it, though it’s this ingredient that adds a signature touch.

Coriander: Fresh coriander uplifts the dish with its refreshing notes. You could also sprinkle some chopped mint for a different dimension of freshness.

In conclusion, each ingredient in our Chicken Malai Tikka plays its part, harmonizing to create a dish that’s truly sublime.

From the rich malai to the zesty lemon, every element contributes to a gastronomic experience that’s hard to forget. So, the next time you find yourself savouring this dish, you’ll appreciate the intricate dance of flavours and textures even more. Bon appétit!

The Art of Marinating Chicken for Malai Tikka

Marination is the soul of many dishes, and Chicken Malai Tikka is no exception. When I think of marinating chicken, it’s not just about soaking meat in spices but rather an intricate process of infusing flavours deeply. And believe me, there’s a method to this delicious madness!

Marination serves dual purposes in Chicken Malai Tikka. Firstly, it introduces flavour. Those aromatic spices, the tangy yogurt, and the creamy malai merge together to transform bland chicken into a culinary masterpiece. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Marination also acts as a tenderizer. The acids from yogurt and lemon juice break down chicken proteins, making it succulent and juicy.

I’ve often noticed that the secret to a perfect Malai Tikka lies in the patience of letting the chicken marinate. The longer the chicken is marinated, the more flavours it absorbs. I usually marinate my chicken overnight. This ensures every chicken piece is bursting with flavours from within.

Now, let’s talk about the ingredients in the marinade. Yogurt acts as the base. It offers acidity, ensuring the chicken remains soft. The double cream or malai gives the tikka its signature creaminess. Ginger, garlic, and green chilies introduce warmth, depth, and heat, creating a balanced flavour profile.

Oil in the marinade? Yes, please! Not only does it lend richness, but it also ensures that the chicken remains moist during the cooking process. Lemon juice, meanwhile, adds a zesty note, preventing the dish from becoming overly rich.

Here’s a pro-tip I’ve learned over the years: always use fresh ingredients for the marinade. Fresh ginger and garlic paste make a world of difference compared to the store-bought versions.

Marination isn’t just a step but an art. It sets the stage for the entire dish, determining the flavour and texture of the final product. The next time you marinate chicken for Malai Tikka, you’ll know you’re not just prepping but crafting a flavourful masterpiece.

Roasting Chicken Malai Tikka to Perfection

I’ve often been asked: “What’s the secret to a delicious Chicken Malai Tikka?” While the marinade is vital, how you cook the chicken plays an equally critical role. Roasting, my friends, is where the magic happens.

When I first started my culinary journey, the oven was a bit intimidating. Temperatures, timings, positioning – it all seemed like a complex puzzle. But over time, I’ve realized that understanding your oven and the art of roasting can elevate your Chicken Malai Tikka from good to gourmet.

The ideal temperature for roasting Malai Tikka is around 240°C (465°F). This high heat ensures the chicken gets a lovely char on the outside while remaining juicy inside. That’s the beauty of roasting: the exterior of the chicken seals quickly, trapping the juices within.

But here’s the catch: not every piece of chicken will cook uniformly. So, I always recommend keeping an eye on it, turning the pieces halfway through for an even char.

Positioning in the oven is also crucial. Place your skewered chicken in the middle rack. This allows for even heat distribution, ensuring the chicken cooks perfectly from all sides.

Now, about the roasting tray. It’s essential to use a tray that allows the chicken to be elevated. This ensures the meat doesn’t stew in its juices and gets that desired roasted texture. You can place the skewers over a tray, ensuring the drippings are caught, but the chicken isn’t submerged in them.

Another trick up my sleeve? Baste the chicken with some melted butter or ghee midway during roasting. This not only adds flavour but also gives the tikka a beautiful sheen.

Roasting might seem straightforward, but it’s these little nuances that make all the difference. Once you master the art of roasting, every bite of your Chicken Malai Tikka will be a testament to your culinary prowess, with a perfect balance of charred goodness and succulent tenderness.

The Charm of Fenugreek in Chicken Malai Tikka

When I whip up a batch of Chicken Malai Tikka, one ingredient always captures my attention – dried fenugreek leaves, also known as Methi. While seemingly insignificant amidst the plethora of flavours, Methi is like that sprinkle of magic in the dish.

Fenugreek, in its dried leafy form, is an unsung hero in Indian cuisine. With its unique aroma and slightly bitter taste, it brings an earthy, almost maple-like flavour to dishes. And in Chicken Malai Tikka, it works wonders.

Incorporating Methi into the marinade imparts a subtle yet profound depth to the dish.

Its aromatic properties balance the richness of the cream and yogurt, ensuring that every bite isn’t just creamy, but also layered with flavours. Methi leaves are often dry roasted before crushing them into the marinade, a trick that heightens their aroma.

When I first experimented with Chicken Malai Tikka, leaving out Methi seemed inconsequential. But boy, was I wrong! The dish lacked that signature touch, the depth of flavour that only Methi can bring. From that day onwards, this ingredient has been non-negotiable in my kitchen.

If you’re ever in a situation where dried fenugreek leaves are unavailable, fenugreek seeds can be a makeshift alternative. However, be sparing with them, as their flavour is much more potent.

In conclusion, while Chicken Malai Tikka is a symphony of flavours and ingredients, Methi or dried fenugreek leaves play a pivotal role. The next time you enjoy this dish, take a moment to savour the depth and aroma Methi brings to the table.

Discovering the Nuances of Fresh Coriander in Malai Tikka

Fresh coriander! Whenever I think of it, I’m reminded of a refreshing summer breeze. Its vibrant colour and tantalizing aroma have the power to elevate any dish, and Chicken Malai Tikka is no different.

Coriander, or cilantro as it’s known in some parts of the world, is more than just a garnish. It’s a burst of freshness that complements the rich and creamy texture of Malai Tikka. When I sprinkle freshly chopped coriander on the dish, it’s like adding a refreshing twist to an old classic.

The secret lies in coriander’s ability to introduce a hint of citrusy flavour, subtly counteracting the dish’s richness. The leaves, when sprinkled over the roasted chicken, also add a delightful textural contrast.

I recall one of my culinary adventures where I decided to introduce a twist to the traditional Malai Tikka.

After roasting the chicken, I whipped up a fresh coriander and mint chutney, drizzling it atop the tikka pieces. The result? An explosion of flavours that danced harmoniously on the palate, marrying the warmth of the tikka with the coolness of the chutney.

There have been times when I’ve run out of fresh coriander. During such culinary emergencies, parsley has been my go-to. It offers a different flavour profile but still brings a touch of freshness to the dish.

Fresh coriander is not merely a garnish for Chicken Malai Tikka but an integral component that adds layers of flavour. Its refreshing touch ensures that every bite is a delightful play of creamy and zesty, making the culinary journey all the more memorable.

Embracing the Zest: The Role of Lemon Juice in Chicken Malai Tikka

When crafting Chicken Malai Tikka in my kitchen, the vibrancy of lemon juice often stands out. This seemingly humble citrus plays a pivotal role, both in flavour and function, making it an indispensable part of this culinary delight.

Lemon juice, with its tangy profile, is more than just a flavour enhancer for Chicken Malai Tikka.

When I drizzle it into the marinade, it adds a zestiness that cuts through the creamy richness of yogurt and malai, ensuring the dish doesn’t become overly heavy. This balance of flavours is what turns a good Chicken Malai Tikka into an extraordinary one.

Beyond the tang, there’s a scientific magic that lemon juice works on the chicken. Acting as a natural tenderizer, it breaks down the chicken’s protein fibres. This is why, after marinating, the chicken pieces are incredibly tender, almost melting in the mouth when roasted.

But the role of lemon juice isn’t restricted to the marinade alone. Whenever I serve Chicken Malai Tikka, I often accompany it with lemon wedges. A squeeze just before taking a bite amplifies the dish’s flavours, making it a sensory experience.

If by chance I’ve run out of lemons, lime becomes a worthy alternative. Though slightly more intense, it serves the same purpose, ensuring that zest and tenderness are not compromised.

In the grand tapestry of ingredients that Chicken Malai Tikka boasts, lemon juice might seem diminutive.

But in my culinary adventures, I’ve come to realize its monumental impact. Every time I indulge in this dish, I’m reminded of the zest and vibrancy lemon juice brings, making every bite a celebration of flavours.

The Intricate Dance of Spices: Ginger, Garlic, and Green Chilli in Malai Tikka

There’s a beautiful ballet that happens in the bowl when I prepare the marinade for Chicken Malai Tikka, with ginger, garlic, and green chilli leading the dance. These three ingredients, each potent and aromatic in its right, come together to create a symphony of flavours.

Ginger, with its slightly woody and warm flavour, adds depth to the dish. Every time I incorporate freshly made ginger paste into my marinade, I’m instantly enveloped in its aromatic embrace.

But it’s not just about the aroma. Ginger has an inherent warmth that complements the coolness of the yogurt and cream, creating a well-rounded flavour profile.

Next up, garlic, the culinary world’s favourite aromatic. For my Chicken Malai Tikka, garlic is non-negotiable. It introduces a depth and robustness, ensuring the creamy texture is beautifully contrasted with its pungent notes.

Moreover, the antimicrobial properties of garlic also act as natural preservatives, allowing the chicken to marinate longer without spoiling.

Last but not least, green chilli paste. Now, this ingredient is where the kick comes in.

Depending on how fiery I want my Malai Tikka to be, adjusting the quantity of green chilli paste can change the game. But beyond the heat, green chillies also bring a freshness to the marinade, ensuring the dish is vibrant and lively.

On occasions when I’ve decided to experiment, swapping ginger with galangal or introducing a hint of red chili has led to interesting flavour variations. However, the classic trio of ginger, garlic, and green chilli remains unbeatable.

In the vast universe of Chicken Malai Tikka ingredients, these three spices are the stars that shine the brightest. Their combined effect ensures that every mouthful is a dance of flavours, making the Malai Tikka not just a dish but an experience in itself.

The Silky Elegance: Delving into Double Cream Malai’s Role in Chicken Malai Tikka

It’s hard for me not to get lyrical when talking about Double Cream Malai, especially in the context of Chicken Malai Tikka. This luscious, creamy ingredient acts as the backbone, giving the dish its characteristic richness and velvety texture.

Whenever I prepare Chicken Malai Tikka, the inclusion of Double Cream Malai ensures that the flavours meld beautifully, turning the marinade into a luxurious embrace for the chicken.

This cream, with its high-fat content, ensures that the chicken remains juicy and tender during roasting. As it slowly seeps into the chicken fibres, it imparts a melt-in-the-mouth texture that’s hard to replicate with any other ingredient.

Beyond the texture, Double Cream Malai plays another crucial role. It acts as a flavour balancer.

With so many potent ingredients like ginger, garlic, and green chilli in the mix, the cream ensures the final dish isn’t too overpowering. Instead, it brings a mellow richness, allowing the other flavours to shine without overwhelming the palate.

Now, on those rare days when I’ve run out of Double Cream Malai, full-fat yogurt or heavy cream has been my saviour. While they lend a different texture and flavour, the essence of richness remains intact.

All in all, Double Cream Malai is like the silent hero in Chicken Malai Tikka. While one might be tempted to attribute the dish’s success to the spices or the meat, for me, the real magic lies in the creamy, silken touch that Double Cream Malai brings to the table.

Each time I relish this dish, I’m reminded of the luxury and depth that this simple ingredient adds, turning every bite into a culinary masterpiece.

The Unsung Essence: Why Black Pepper is Key in Chicken Malai Tikka

Black Pepper. It’s a spice I’ve come to respect immensely, especially when I’m making Chicken Malai Tikka. It might not shout its presence like green chilli or ginger, but its subtle warmth and pungency elevate the dish in ways that are truly remarkable.

Incorporating black pepper into the Chicken Malai Tikka marinade is akin to adding a dash of sophistication.

Its warm, slightly citrusy undertones work wonders in highlighting the creamy notes of the yogurt and Double Cream Malai. But the beauty of black pepper lies in its restraint. It doesn’t overpower; instead, it gently accentuates, ensuring the dish has depth without being too spicy.

Moreover, there’s a tactile pleasure in using freshly crushed black pepper. The moment I crush those peppercorns, releasing their aroma, I know that the Chicken Malai Tikka will have a nuanced warmth that’s hard to match with any other spice.

There have been times when I’ve ventured beyond traditional black pepper. White pepper, with its milder flavour profile, offers a different kind of warmth, while pink peppercorns introduce a delightful, slightly fruity note to the dish.

Black pepper might not be the loudest ingredient in Chicken Malai Tikka, but for me, it’s undoubtedly one of the most vital. It’s the thread that seamlessly stitches the myriad flavours together, ensuring that every bite is a harmonious blend of warmth, creaminess, and depth.

Unravelling the Ginger Mystique: The Spark Behind Chicken Malai Tikka

Ah, ginger! Whenever I work on my Chicken Malai Tikka, this fiery root always takes centre stage, albeit discreetly.

It’s this undercurrent of warmth, a slight zing that pairs so well with the rich creaminess of the dish. For me, ginger’s presence in Chicken Malai Tikka is non-negotiable, akin to the final brushstroke on a masterpiece.

Every time I add ginger paste to my marinade, I’m reminded of its multifaceted nature. Not only does it bring warmth to the dish, but it also adds a dimension of freshness. This subtle balance of heat and zest elevates Chicken Malai Tikka from just another grilled chicken dish to a symphony of flavours.

The use of ginger goes beyond its taste; it’s about the aromatic magic it weaves. When the marinated chicken hits the roasting tray, the gentle wafting aroma of ginger mingling with the other spices is nothing short of intoxicating. It draws you in, even before you’ve had your first bite.

And if I were ever in a position where fresh ginger wasn’t available? Ground ginger or even galangal could serve as potential alternatives. While they would modify the dish’s flavour profile slightly, the core essence of warmth and zing would still be preserved.

While many ingredients scream for attention, for me, ginger remains the silent game-changer. It’s the unsung hero, blending seamlessly, yet ensuring its presence is felt in every bite.

The Lemon Twist: Acidity’s Graceful Dance in Chicken Malai Tikka

Let me let you in on a secret. Whenever I whip up my signature Chicken Malai Tikka, there’s a tiny ingredient that plays a huge role in turning it into a hit. Enter lemon juice. Though seemingly inconspicuous, it’s the touch of acidity from this golden elixir that perfects the dish.

The inclusion of lemon juice in Chicken Malai Tikka is like adding the finishing touch to a well-composed melody. Amid the richness of double cream malai and the robustness of spices, lemon juice introduces a hint of tanginess that cuts through the creaminess, offering a refreshing contrast.

But it’s not just about flavour balance. As I’ve discovered over my culinary journey, the acidic nature of lemon juice aids in tenderizing the chicken. When mixed with the marinade, it ensures that the meat remains soft, juicy, and succulent as it roasts.

Now, on the off chance I find myself without lemons in my kitchen, I often turn to other acidic agents.

Lime juice or even a dash of white vinegar can lend that crucial tangy touch to Chicken Malai Tikka. While they each come with their own flavour nuances, the overarching goal of balancing and enhancing remains consistent.

Check Out These Other Recipes

Oh, if you’re anything like me, the aroma and richness of Chicken Malai Tikka has undoubtedly stolen your heart.

But the world of Indian cuisine, with its myriad of flavours and spice blends, holds so much more to tantalize our taste buds. After indulging in the creamy flavours of Chicken Malai Tikka, I can’t help but recommend a few other delicacies that have a special place in my heart:

When I want to bring a touch of smoky goodness to my table, Chicken Tandoori never fails. Marinated to perfection, it feels like a delightful dance of spices in my mouth. And for those times when I crave a zesty spice kick paired with the tenderness of chicken, Chicken Jalfrezi is my go-to.

If kebabs make your heart skip a beat, you’ll understand my love for Chicken Chapli Kebab.

With every bite, it’s a burst of flavours that takes me on a culinary journey through the streets of India. And speaking of journeys, how can one forget the classic Chicken Biryani? Every spoonful reminds me of the rich history and tradition it carries with it.

To finish off, a personal favourite that melds creamy textures with the heat of spices: Butter Chicken. Trust me, after trying this, you’ll find yourself lost in its rich gravy and tender chicken pieces, just as I always do.

I’d love to know if you give any of these a shot. The world of Indian cuisine is vast and beautiful, and every dish tells a story. Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments, and let’s continue this delicious journey together.

Chicken Malai Tikka

Chicken Malai Tikka

by Nabeela Kauser
This chicken malai tikka recipe gives you chicken tikka that is juicy, moist, and so flavourful. Bake this chicken tikka kebab in the oven or grill on the outdoor BBQ.
5 from 36 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Marination Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Appetiser
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 5
Calories 260 kcal


  • 700 g Chicken
  • 100 g Yoghurt
  • 100 g Double Cream Malai
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 1 tsp Green Chilli Paste
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp Cornflour
  • 1 tsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves Methi
  • 1 tbsp Coriander


  • In a bowl add the yoghurt and cream along with the rest of the ingredients (except the chicken) then whisk until well combined
  • Cut the chicken into large chunks then add into the marinade and coat each piece evenly
  • Set aside and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes, the longer the better
  • Once ready to cook preheat the oven to 240°C (465°F) gas mark 9 and skewer the chicken pieces and place on a roasting tray
  • Roast the chicken for 8-10 minutes on one side then flip and roast further for another 8-10 minutes
  • Serve immediately with a side of naan bread and enjoy!



Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 260kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 14gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 534mgPotassium: 190mgFibre: 0.2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 416IUVitamin C: 3mgVitamin D: 0.5µgCalcium: 49mgIron: 1mg
Keyword BBQ, Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, Creamy, Food, Ramadan, Recipe, Summer
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
11 months ago

5 stars
Awesome dish the kids love it too

3 months ago

5 stars
Is the Coriander Fresh or Ground?

Cook with Nabeela

Hi, I'm Nabeela!

I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

More Recipes

Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma

Peanut Butter Chicken

Peanut Butter Chicken

Breaded Chicken Nuggets

Breaded Chicken Nuggets

Chicken Samosa

Chicken Samosa

Chicken Seekh Kebab

Chicken Seekh Kebab

Murgh Chole

Murgh Chole

Find Your Perfect Recipe!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x