Recipe for creamy chicken skewers with green chilli and coriander – murgh malai tikka – by Maunika Gowardhan

<span>Creamy chicken skewers with green chilli and coriander.</span><span>Photograph: Issy Croker</span>
Creamy chicken skewers with green chilli and coriander.Photograph: Issy Croker

These creamy chicken skewers are marinated in yoghurt and cream with garlic, ginger, green chillies and coriander. Adding a rich coating to the chicken, the secret to this marinade is grated cheese, which clings to the meat as it cooks under a hot grill. This versatile marinade is a malai tandoori recipe – the word “malai” means cream – and can be used for vegetarian dishes too. I love cooking cauliflower florets in the same marinade. I serve these chicken tikkas with a sprinkling of chaat masala, although you can add a squeeze of lime juice instead.

Serves 4
chicken thighs 640g, boneless, skinless, cut into bite-sized pieces
melted butter for basting
garam masala a pinch
chaat masala a pinch

For the marinade
garlic 5 cloves, roughly chopped
fresh ginger 5cm piece, roughly chopped
green bird’s-eye chillies 2
malt vinegar 2 tbsp
Greek yoghurt 2 tbsp
double cream 80ml
cornflour 1 tsp
cheddar cheese 30g, grated
coriander leaves a handful, finely chopped

You will need wooden skewers for this, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes.

To make the marinade, grind the garlic, ginger and chillies in a blender with a splash of water to a smooth paste. Put this paste in a large mixing bowl with the vinegar, then add the chicken. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

In a separate small bowl, combine the yoghurt, cream and cornflour. Mix well to get rid of any lumps. Add the cheese and coriander. Season to taste and stir well. Add this yoghurt mixture to the bowl with the marinated chicken pieces. Mix well and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight.

Preheat the grill to a medium heat. Line a baking tray with foil and place a wire rack over the tray.

Thread the chicken pieces on to the soaked wooden skewers and place them on the wire rack. Top the skewers with any leftover marinade. Place the tray under the grill and cook for 7-8 minutes. Baste with the melted butter, then turn the skewers and grill for a further 8 minutes until the chicken is lightly charred around the edges and cooked through.

Take the chicken off the skewers and serve on a large platter, topped with garam masala and chaat masala. Serve with pickled chillies, red onions and naan.

From Tandoori Home Cooking by Maunika Gowardhan (Hardie Grant, £25). To order a copy for £22 go to