Almost every single Indian recipe I’ve posted in the past has been a family recipe. All of them are recipes that evoke strong memories of my childhood and meals shared around our small, round kitchen table. They are recipes that are difficult to find in Indian restaurants, even in my parents’ hometown in India. That’s why I find them to be really special. This is not to say that we didn’t eat out at Indian restaurants when I was growing up. We definitely did, and I think of the food there as it’s own variety of Indian food. This dish falls squarely into that group, and is inspired by a dish from Gaylord, a delicious Indian restaurant in the Chicago area. One of my uncles would regularly cater from Gaylord for big get togethers, and he always ordered the malai chicken. It’s skewered chicken that’s been marinated in cream, cilantro, mint, and plenty of spices. I remember always being struck by how tender and delicious the chicken was. The spice was balanced, but not too hot. It was complex and addictive. I became determined to recreate it and think that this recipe reflects a pretty good approximation of that delicious dish.
When I first started the hunt for recipes that would work well, I came across one that marinated the chicken in pure cream overnight. I tried it, and it was unbelievably delicious. Unfortunately, it was also unbelievably heavy and a food coma quickly ensued afterward. A few more searches and some more tweaking of recipes led to this one. It comes together very quickly. I put everything together in a bowl for the photos, but it actually is even quicker using a blender. Simply mix the yogurt with dry spices: coriander, powdered mango, black pepper, ground cumin, and of course my family’s most delicious garam masala. Then, the holy trinity of ginger, garlic, and chili. Finally, add finely minced or pureed cilantro and mint. If you use a blender, just add whole leaves and blend it all together. To simplify the cooking process, I precooked the chicken in the marinade sous vide. Sous vide cooking is perfect for meat. The meat is placed in a ziploc bag or vacuum sealer bag and is then submerged in a temperature controlled water bath. This allows the meat to come to exactly the correct temperature where it is fully cooked but not overcooked. The other advantage is that you can have the meat cooking while still making all of your other sides so everything is done at exactly the right time! Once the meat is done, you simply grill it to heat up the outside and put in some nice grill marks and serve sprinkled with cilantro and plenty of lemon!
Cilantro-Mint Yogurt Marinated Sous Vide Chicken Kebabs ~ Murgh Malai Kabab
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Unbelievably tender and delicious spiced chicken kebab with mint, cilantro, cardamom, and garam masala.
- 1.5 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast or chicken thighscut into 1.5 inch strips
- 1 cup whole milk yogurt, or 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt and 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp. cardamom powder
- 11⁄2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp amchoor (dried powdered mango)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 2 tsp crushed ginger
- 1.5 tsp crushed jalapeno or serrano
- 1 large handful cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- 1 smaller handful mint leaves, finely chopped
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl or blender. If you use a blender, there is no need to chop the cilantro and mint, simply blend everything together.
- Place the marinade in a ziploc or vacuum sealer bag and add in all the chicken. Massage together to combine. If using a vacuum sealer, carefully seal. Marinate for at least 1 hour or ideally overnight.
- Preheat sous vide water bath to 140 for breast meat or 150 for thigh meat. When at temperature, lower your plastic bag of chicken into the sous vide and cook for at least 45 minutes, up to 1.5 hours.
- When your chicken is done, thread onto skewers and finish on a grill at high to develop some char and grill marks (about 30 seconds per side), or on a cast iron pan heated to high (30 seconds per side), or under the broiler (about 1-2 mins). Garnish with cilantro, sprinkle with lemon or lime juice and enjoy!
No sous vide, no problem! Simply grill the kebabs on medium-high grill for about 10-12 mins.
No sous vide and no grill, no problem! Arrange the chicken on a wire rack in a baking dish and cook in a preheated oven at 350 for about 15-20 minutes.
Vegetarian? Try the same marinade with tofu instead.
Vegan? I can't personally vouch for non-dairy yogurts, but I'm sure it would be delicious!