Chicken Reshmi Kebab
Updated: Mar 28
Or simply Reshmi Kabab… or Chicken Malai Kebab… or Murgh Malai Kebabs… they’re all the same!
The colour, you ask? Is because I pan-grilled these chicken reshmi kebabs and added a teaspoon of malai (fresh cream) at the end of the cooking process to de-glaze the pan. The chicken kebabs were then rolled in to these pan juices and got coloured. The flavours were simple and delicate nonetheless. For the uninitiated, Chicken Reshmi Kebabs or Murgh Malai Kebabs are ideally lighter in colour.
Will I make these again? Absolutely! Preferably oven grill or BBQ... or once again on a griddle, it’s the flavours that matter!
Will I de-glaze the pan again and colour these delicate reshmi kebabs or let the pan juices remain in the pan and get wasted? May be… may be not… time will tell, but if I don’t, I will surely put them to better use by making this recipe of Chicken Kebab Pulao which will soak up all the pan juices and add so much flavour to the rice! The perfect mains recipe with these Chicken Reshmi Kebabs.
I recommend you go low on the spice quotient in this recipe of Chicken Reshmi Kebabs as you want the delicate flavours of the nuts and cream to come through. Adding garam masala or a load of spices will overpower these subtle flavours.
For a vegetarian / vegan version of these malai / reshmi kebabs: use cauliflower, paneer, tofu, broccoli, potatoes, TVP of choice…
More chicken small plates / appetiser recipes here.
Marination: 4-6 hours or preferably overnight
Pan-grilling: 15 minutes
Oven: 25-30 minutes
BBQ: 10-15 minutes
Ingredients to make Chicken Reshmi Kebabs
250 gms chicken, boneless and cut in to bite size pieces
4-5 garlic cloves
1 inch piece of ginger
1 green chilli
1 tbsp lime juice (juice of half a lime)
2 tbsp thick yoghurt / hung curd
2 tbsp fresh cream / malai
3-4 cloves / laung
5-6 black peppercorns / kali mirch
4-5 stalks of fresh coriander
Salt to taste
Method of making Chicken Reshmi Kebabs
Make a coarse paste of ginger, garlic, green chilli and lime juice. I use lime juice as limes are easily available in India.
Once you’ve washed the chicken pieces well, marinate it with this paste and some salt. Leave it to marinate for about an hour or two.
Hung curd – if you do not have thick curd / yoghurt handy, simply place 4-5 tablespoons of curd in a muslin cloth and tie it at the edges forming a bag / potli. Lightly press the potli by hand to drain some of the whey and then hang this bag over the kitchen counter or sink and place a bowl underneath to collect the draining whey. In approx. 1 hour you should have thick hung curd ready.
On warmer days, place this potli / bag of yoghurt on a colander and keep another bowl underneath it to collect the whey – place this in your refrigerator so the yoghurt doesn’t turn sour.
Now make a paste with the almonds, cashewnuts, cloves, black peppercorns, fresh coriander (stalks + leaves). If you need, add a tbsp. of the hung curd to these ingredients to help with the grinding process.
Mix this paste with the remaining hung curd and fresh cream. You could also add a tablespoon of grated cheese (any!) to the marinade.
Marinate the chicken pieces well with this second marinade and leave it to rest for 4-6 hours, preferably overnight.
Note: breaking up the marinating process in to two steps helps the flavours develop better and creates a layer of flavours in the Chicken Reshmi Kebabs. If you’re short of time, blend all the marination ingredients together and marinate the chicken pieces at once. The flavour notes will differ just a little bit but your Chicken Reshmi Kebabs (malai chicken kebabs) will be just as delicious!
Cooking the Chicken Reshmi Kebabs
If you’re pan-grilling these malai murgh kebabs, like I did, add a teaspoon of cooking oil to a pan / griddle on medium high heat. Once the pan is hot enough, add the chicken pieces one by one, spaced out. You should hear a sizzle instantly as you place the chicken pieces on the pan.
Let the chicken kebabs cook undisturbed for a couple of minutes on medium high heat and then flip each piece carefully. Now you could lower the heat and cover the pan and cook the chicken kebabs or continue to cook on medium high heat uncovered, your choice.
Towards the end, I like to add a teaspoon of fresh cream to deglaze the pan and coat the chicken malai kebabs (hmmm… the colour differs, yes… but I still like it).
Once your chicken reshmi kebabs are well cooked, take them off the heat and serve.
If you did however, cover the pan and cook on lower heat, then leave the chicken kebabs to rest in the pan for a couple of minutes after taking it off the heat. Then serve.
To grill chicken reshmi kebabs in an oven, pre-heat the oven to 220°C. Skewer the chicken kebabs and place on the grilling tray, middle shelf. Place a try on the lower shelf to collect the drippings. Grill the malai murgh kebabs in the oven for about 20 minutes or until well done.
As these are bite size pieces, they will not take as long as a whole chicken or chicken on bone to grill. Baste the chicken kebabs once with ghee, butter, cooking oil or some more fresh cream.
BBQ: you know the drill.
Serve chicken reshmi kebabs or malai murgh kebabs with a basic salad of sliced tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, cucumber tossed in lime juice, a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Don’t forget the minty yoghurt dip that perfectly complements these delicately flavoured chicken reshmi kebabs.
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