Saturday, May 23, 2009

everyday chicken recipe : murgh methi malai made healthier

murgh methi malai

This chicken recipe I have been making for a long time and it is an easy and sure shot way of making a creamy, flavorful, restaurant like chicken dish. It comes out well even when you make it for a big gathering, fills up your house with a delicious fragrance and any guest entering your house feels like entering a restaurant. This is the compliment I have received whenever I have cooked this murgh methi malai in the past.

This time though I decided to make this recipe in a low fat version and found that the taste was same as it's fattier counterpart but the aroma that fills your house is a bit lessened. The reason is, the fats used in cooking are good solvents for the essential oils in the masalas and the hot dish allows the top notes of the fragrance to hit your nose first, the reason why you get that restaurant aroma wafting through the home.

In this version the aroma is a bit settled inside the gravy and hits more your palate, for the right reasons. The fenugreek leaves lend an incredible taste to this recipe which is best accompanied with naan or chapatis.

you need......

500 gms of dressed chicken, 10 cloves of garlic, a fat piece of ginger, 6 whole red chillies, a tsp of salt and a tsp of black pepper powder.

First make a paste of ginger garlic and red chillies and mix it well with the chicken pieces along with the salt and pepper and keep in the fridge for 3-4 hrs or overnight.

masalas to be powdered
cumin seeds 1 tsp
black pepper corns 2 tsp
star anise 1 no.
cinnamon 1 stick
green cardamom 4 nos.
black cardamom 2 nos.
cloves 8 nos.
grated nutmeg a pinch
coriander seeds 1 tbsp
bay leaves 2-3 nos.

Roast the coriander seeds and broken bay leaves lightly and make a powder separately. Make a fine powder of the other spices without roasting and keep aside.

some more things you need .... 2 big onions made into a coarse paste, a cup of skimmed milk, 3 tbsp of heavy cream (this is the only fat addition to the recipe), 2 tbsp of dried kasoori methi (or a cup of freshly chopped fenugreek leaves), turmeric powder and salt to adjust seasoning.

to proceed ...

Heat a nonstick pan without oil on medium heat and pour in the onion paste to roast it lightly, adding a bit of salt lets the onion become cooked and caramelised easily.

When the onion paste gets a bit browned (not dark) pour in the chicken with all the juices of the marinade, stir and cook on medium heat till it releases it's own fat. Now add the powder masalas and keep stirring. The fats in the chicken come out slowly to make cooking easy after a while. When you use oil to fry at this stage it is much quicker and more fragrant.

Cook covered for about 10 minutes or till the chicken is done. Now pour in the milk, adjust salt and let it come to boil. Pour in the cream and crushed kasoori methi, mix well and cook covered so that the aroma of the fenugreek leaves is absorbed into the chicken.

After about 3-4 minutes the dish is ready.......serve hot with chapatis or naan.......

murgh methi malai

Enjoy this healthy low fat version of murgh methi malai. I have used fresh methi leaves but dehydrated kasoori methi works just fine.

Add as much methi leaves as you like and adjust seasoning by adding a bit of lime juice or yogurt if the curry becomes too bitter by adding a lot of methi in a bout of enthusiasm. Yes I have done that and survived it too. Adding a little more cream to the dish makes it even more delicious and aromatic.

Note that you don't have to think about eating low fat food all the time but there are times when you want lighter curries made with chicken or even mutton and keeping the cooking fat in control does the needful. The stews made with vegetables and meat feel good too in such times but these comforting Indian curries are great if the cooking fat is controlled.

I am sure this murgh methi malai without any cooking fat involved will become a favourite way of cooking this dish for you too. There is some malai (fresh cream) in it to justify the name :-)


  1. Interesting..easily customizable to vegetarian version.. good post!

  2. wow , that's a lovely chicken recipe. very unique one also. Thanks for sending this to the event dear.

  3. Hi Sangeetha, I checked my email.
    But didn't get your mail yet.
    My mail id is
    Thanks, Viki

  4. hii sangeetha,,,thanks a ton yaar for posting such a wonderful recipe,it looks like the one we have in restaurants. Whenever we used to have this recipe in any restuarant my mom and i used to wonder if we could by any means get this recipe from the chef,,,but here when i was googling got to see ur recipe and i am super excited,i feel like getting up right now and make this wonderful dish.Thank you so much once again

  5. thanks Sana...i am delighted that you found the recipe you were looking for....this is a favorite at my place n hope it will soon become one at your place too.