As we were menu planning for the Christmas Eve party, my husband Deb, came up with the idea that he wanted to cook Murgh Malai(Chicken cooked in a heavy cream based gravy). It sounded super decadent and I was in. When he was describing the recipe to me, as we went grocery shopping for the ingredients, I joked about the fact that it was a close cousin of Chicken Rezala, if we replaced the cream in the recipe with the heavy cream. But I was heavily mistaken once I let my taste buds be the judge. This is no way similar to Rezala except for the fact that its another whitish gravy. I loved the fact how the green cardamom subtly flavors the gravy. Green cardamom and Chicken always pair well.

If you're thinking of alcohol pairings, then this gravy goes very well, with any dry white wine. You need a lil bit of acidity to cut through the cream based gravy. It can be paired with a variety of bread, including Naan, tortillas, Pita or even plain steamed rice. On Christmas Eve, we had served it with plain steamed rice for our guests, all of whom individually asked for the recipe from the Man, post dinner. On Christmas Day, we enjoyed the leftovers with some Naan. And some dry white wine. Not to forget the Harry potter marathon which followed snuggled in our blankets on the couch. Still makes me warm and fuzzy thinking of it.

This recipe is not an original. But every Chef I feel have their own spin on it. The original recipe had called for just the first two steps of marination and making the gravy. But my Husband, added the tempering part as that added to the flavor profile immensely. When we had first tasted the original recipe, it lacked something. We could not figure out what. So deb went ahead and added his own spin to it and tempered it and dried the gravy largely. That's when it packed the mighty punch.

I have divided the list of ingredients into three groups, corresponding to the three steps in making the gravy. No no, don't be alarmed thinking that its super elaborate. Its pretty basic,but cooking it in the different steps, helps build in the layers of flavors. And do let your protein rest before you serve it.



Chicken Thighs: Boneless and Skinless : 1 lb : cut into cubes
White Pepper Powder: 2 tsp
Ginger paste : 1 tsp
Garlic paste: 1 tsp

Heavy Cream : 1 cup
Green Chilies: Finely chopped 2-3 : depends on heat preferences
Red Onion: 1 large : Finely Chopped
Whole Milk: 2 1/2 cups
Green Cardamom Powder: 2 tsp
Ginger: Grated or Paste: 1 tsp
Cilantro(Coriander leaves) : Chopped : 2 1/2 tbsp
Ginger Powder : 1 tsp
Kasoori Methi : 1 tsp
Saffron : A pinch
White Pepper Powder: 1 tsp
Garam Masala: 1 tsp
Almonds: chopped: 2 tsp
Salt : to taste

For tempering: 
Canola Oil
Dry Rd Chilies : 4 to 5

Marinate the chicken overnight or at least for an hour. An overnight marination will undoubdtedly seal in the flavors more into the protein.

In a large and deep non stick pan, add in the cream and the onions and green chilies. Cook it on medium heat till the onion softens.

Next comes the whole milk and the marinated chicken.  Stir .

Add the rest of the gravy ingredients except the almonds and mix well. So far the recipe is completely oil free.

Season well and let it simmer till the chicken is cooked.

Once the chicken is cooked, take the pan off the heat.

In a separate pan, add in the canola oil and temper it with the red chilies over high heat. Add in the cooked Chicken Gravy and chopped almonds in this pan, and mix in well. Dry the gravy till its thick and coats the chicken. Some of the chicken pieces might get caramelised at this time, and make sure that it happens. This last step helps to pack in the punch.

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