Friday, March 9, 2012

Murgh Malai Tikka/ No Spice, Creamy Chicken Kebabs


*****

I lived in Delhi, rather New Delhi in two phases. First as a student in  the JNU campus for three years and then as a working professional for two years. I used to work for a human rights organisation and loved every minute most of it. 

Life was busy, no life was super busy. Since the organisation did crisis response; we were always on our toes. Our Delhi office was/is a crazy place, hyper active and chaotic, thriving on energy and adrenaline surges. In the middle of all the lawyers, rights activists and social workers, I was the lone ex-academic who seemed to have accidentally strayed into the world of activitism. 

I was always dumped with all the writing and managing jobs which the others in their action packed days of fighting court cases, rescuing victims, doing public meetings, training judges never had/found the time to do. For a Ph.D. drop-out used to spending days in musty libraries, breaking my head trying to understand opaque theories and labouring over essays, thesis, bibliographies...my job seemed pretty easy, fun even.

Soon after joining the organisation I was baffled. I could not understand the stress people faced before going in to meet the big boss. Often we could hear screams from the big boss's chamber and papers being thrown. People who went in mostly came out with long faces, sometimes in tears. My time to take in  a report I was working on came one late afternoon. I marched in, confident about the work I had done, yet a little terrified. Fortunately for me the big boss  liked my writing and approved of the report. Unfortunately it meant more and more work.

Along the line I discovered a boss who gave the term workaholic a new definition yet could be a lot of fun, did not suffer fools at all, loved teasing people, persisted in calling me 'Sushi' knowing full well it irritated me, raided my desk for food and mostly saved his screams for others.

I was basically an overworked and underpaid professional. But I was not alone, so were all my colleagues. We were all grossly underpaid and mostly overworked. Though we cribbed about it endlessly, we did not mind much deep down. The satisfaction of working in the development sector, helping people in need, being in the middle of action, never getting the time to get bored was compensation enough.

In the Delhi office we were mostly single, aged between early twenties to mid thirties and life was basically one long party. I shared a fantastic terrace flat with two girls from office, which was just a block away from our office. So it was the official party place and man the rocking parties we have had there. If not a full blown party, a group of friends would hang out together after office every evening. Because our salaries were meagre we soon learned to have low cost fun.

In retrospect, I think the Delhi chapter of our lives could easily be turned into a chick lit. There was friendship, romance, heartbreak, dramatics, fights, companionship, struggle....the list goes on. Most of us have moved on, few friends still remain there.

*****


Few months back I came across an episode of Bikramjit Ray's Secret Kitchen where he went to the Bukhara Restaurant (among the world's 50 best restaurants) in New Delhi to try out their signature dish-- Murgh Malai Tikka. Now this is one of those restaurants which would have never been in our budget. But Bukhara being Bukhara I had read about it in lots of places. So I was curious. The recipe seemed fairly simple except that I did not have a tandoor. Taking the basic recipe, I tweaked it further and over the trials I have discovered a really easy to make yet one of the best chicken kebabs I have ever had. This is that dish you can quickly rustle up for a tasty dinner or wow your guests with. I am waiting to try this on the barbecue during summer. 


Ingredients:

500 gm  skinless, boneless chicken cut into cubes (I use thigh pieces)
A bunch of coriander stalks finely cut (used chives as well)
1 medium onion cut into cubes
1 medium pepper similarly cut into cubes (to make it colourful I use parts of green, red, yellow or orange peppers)
Half a cup of puréed processed cheese (I use home made cottage cheese)
4 to 6 table spoons of milk
( preferably whole milk)
1 and 1/2 tea spoon cornflour
1/2 tea spoons of ginger and garlic paste each
Yolk of 1 egg (adds colour)
Couple of green chillies finely sliced (can de-seed them to lower the heat quotient, apart from the heat, the chillies add a lovely smell and a depth to the dish)
Salt to taste
Oil spray
Approx 4 steel or bamboo skewers (if using bamboo ones please soak these in water for an hour at least before using these, otherwise the skewers may burn)
Lime juice and chopped cilantro for garnish


Method:

Switch on your oven to the highest possible. You can also do this in your BBQ machine or if you have a tandoor that would be ideal. Can also be done on the stove top in a non stick pan. Need about 2 table spoons of oil for frying in that case.

Make the marinade by first mixing the cheese, milk (adding it a little at a time), cornflour, ginger and garlic paste, chillies, coriander stalks and salt. Make sure the marinade is not runny. Add the chicken and veggies pieces and marinate for half an hour or so.

After half an hour, arrange the skewers, brush the chicken and veggies with egg yolk, spray some cooking oil and  put it inside the oven. Please reduce the temperature to 150 degree Celsius. Grill till the chicken pieces turn light/golder brown (roughly 20 mins to half an hour, but then ovens vary, so please keep checking).

Serving Tips:

A good squeeze of lime juice and some cilantro to garnish the kebabs. Serve it with a side salad as a starter or make it the main meal with a big salad.

Taste:

Milk makes the chicken pieces really soft, the cheese turns a lovely brown and adds its own flavour, the cornflour holds the whole thing together and egg yolk gives a lovely golden colour and makes the kababs silky smooth. Since there are no spices added in this kebab, the taste of milk and cheese dominate which is what gives this kabab a unique taste. No wonder this is Bukhara's signature dish. I wish I could make this for my Delhi friends and have another party in our beloved terrace on a balmy spring evening.


Hope you had a good Holi and did get the time for do something special  for yourself to celebrate Women's Day. Check out this special sari clad lady riding on a broom here.

87 comments:

  1. What gorgeous kebabs!!! I'm so glad that grilling season is almost upon us...my family would love these :)

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    1. Yes me too that grilling time is almost on us :-)

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  2. saliva :(
    yummmy :) :) i will be happy if there exists some software which will make such dishes from photos :(

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    1. Thanks Dee....I do not know of any such software, do you? :-)

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  3. wowww.. looks delicious.. love to have it right now.. bookmarked :)

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  4. U r just awesome.very unique recipes with nice pics.....and this looks really delicious n like inviting...
    Maha

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    1. Thanks Maha, you lovely comment made my day :-)

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  5. This is excellent. The photographs are also very good. Great recipe worth keeping. Thank you!

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  6. Suchi, I know I can't comment on the chicken dish but all the same, I came here to read the little something that you write before the actual post, interesting read..

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    1. Thanks Hema, thanks for reading through even though you do not eat chicken!

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  7. this dish looks so delicious!! Loved reading about your time in New Dehli :-)

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  8. Hey Suchi, PLeassssse invite me next time you prepare this Murg Tikka :)! Simply awesome preparation.

    Deepa
    Hamaree Rasoi

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    1. Sure thing Deepa, shall I send you an e invite? :-)

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  9. Salivating......malaidar murg tikka...kobe dakcho bolo!:)

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    1. Chole esho, tomake ki dakte hobe? Oh ha ashbar somoy tomar banano kota gujia niye esho :-)

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  10. Drooling here. Looks so delicious

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  11. What a pretty plate! I love the vegetable flower you created. Have a blessed weekend.

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  12. Your Delhi experience made me nostalgic about my own days in Delhi. The malai tikka recipe is awesome too, very different from the usual kabab/tikka recipes with loads of garam masala and other spices.

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    1. Hi Sadaf, in whichever place we stay we build so many memories, don't we? :-) Yes that is the reason I love this tikka...no spices yet yummy...

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  13. I like the idea of chick lit days :D.. Coll & initial work days are always fun & it a very nice feeling to be a part of development team.. I loved the detailed writing.. transported me to my carefree days..not that i have become responsible now :D..(think like the phrase ;))..You know, can't comment on the dish though!

    Ongoing Event: I'm a STAR

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    1. Same here Rasi, not become responsible or anything, lets say we moved onto another phase of life :-)

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  14. Moth watering !!! just wish to try it now :)looks very yum

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  15. Droolworthy tikka..........nice post & presentation.

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  16. WOW..I love this..Thanks for posting it Dear..
    Maha

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  17. Now this is something I have to make.Infact been wanting to make for sometime.Now that I've found your recipe, will definitely be making this very soon!!Thanks for a great recipe :)

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    1. Soni do let me know how it went, in case you make it :-)

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  18. Our entire 4 member team of Theater Balcony, was reading this post together, after reading it, we looked at each others face, and then to our Bred nd Jam break fast. And there was a smile in every ones face, and we burst out to a loud laugh. Amazing work :) Keep it up :)

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    1. Thanks Balcony or shall I say Balconies? :-)

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  19. I'm drooling!!They look succulent and love your presentation!

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  20. Oh, these look so scrumptious!! I love the fact that these are so rich and creamy, but the spices are so minimal! Well done!!
    http://cosmopolitancurrymania.blogspot.com

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  21. Your presentation skills are outstanding Suchi :) Great recipe! My hubby would drool over these pix, no doubt!

    Thanks for dropping by. Happy to follow you as well :)

    Behind every successful blog there is a loving and supporting husband! At least for married women that stands true ;) Happy blogging!


    Do vote for your favourite recipes in the Gimme GREEN entries!

    Chef Al dente On going event: Gimme GREEN!

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    1. Thanks Rosh, yes husbands are great help...specially for a technically challenged person like me my software engineer husband is a blessing in all things related to computers :-) Will try to submit in your Gimme Green :-)

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  22. I like what how you described your experience with working in this organization!
    and the kebabs are so nicely served, good job!

    Life and travelling
    Cooking

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  23. Kebabs looks so yummy n mouthwatering presentation.

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  24. I love the way you wrote a story for the recipe and the pictures really enhance the yumminess.

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    1. Thanks Aline...am glod you enjoy my stories and the pictures :-)

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  25. Love your shish-kebabs, so flavorful, and the spices are just the perfect addition that I love.
    Suchi, I left a msg. for you on my blog, to click on READ MORE...and you will see the recipe for both bean dishes. If you don't see recipe on the same page it will usually be on the following. Other bloggers have it this way, as well!

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    1. Sorry Elisabeth, my confusion...will check out the recipes :-)

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  26. You started a Ph.D programme? wow that means you must have taken your academics very seriously for a long time. With most people, i notice the pics first and writing later. With you, i finished reading the whole thing and read lots of comments that praised your pics and had to go back to take a closer look :) The pics are indeed lovely, the presentation beautiful and the orange rose awesome!
    We are spice lovers though and the husband stays away from most dairy, so this is not for us, unfortunately.

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    1. Ah La, studies and me, we had a really problematic relationship...I hated it since I was in class III or IV...every year I mother would somehow convince me to finish the year...then in college got some awesome professors who made me fall in love with Political Science...and just sailed through Masters and M.Phil...was totally in love with academics at that period...then after starting Ph.D. discontent set in...I realised I have been studying all my life...wanted to get into action etc...dropped out much to my mother's anguish and disappointment...but loved my stint at development sector...:-)

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  27. thanks for joining me! now I am your official follower:)


    Life and travelling
    Cooking

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  28. It is getting about time for some outdoor grilling and your kebabs do inspire. I really like the coriander flavoring with these. Also, interesting information about milk that I did not know. Delicious plating-yum!

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    1. yes Tina milk somehow makes chicken super soft...I used to think cream would have same effect but no...it is milk which has that magic touch :-)

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  29. PS now your hundreth follower, sorry so later but better than never!

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  30. I gave up non-veg some time back. Do not miss it, but can still drool over pictures!

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    1. Yes you can always drool, can't you? :-)

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  31. Suchi what nice blog you have dear! Thanks for tell me (IM silly dont see before) and Im following you too in this (lol)

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  32. I love those images..First time here..I just started to follow u..
    Do check out my blog and also add your blog to my blog roll..
    http://followfoodie.blogspot.com/

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  33. ohhh wow...drooling here...what gorgeous clicks ! loved it dear !

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  34. That kebabs looks really appetizing ! Great nibble idea during summer picnic/bbq ;) Love reading the post !

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  35. oh wow! How well you write... and loved the kababs too!

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    1. Thanks, welcome to my blog, will visit you soon :-)

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  36. lol, ur boss called u shushi?! he sounds so terrifying, i worked under someone like him for about a year, one of those women-are-useless-better-off-as-housewives kinds... reading this brought back horrid memories of his tyranny! cant wait to hear more stories of ur delhi tryst :)

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    1. Deeps to be fair to my ex boss, he was not a chauvinist, rather the opposite...he loved teasing people in a good way...his problem was/is he did not like lazy people, lairs, unprofessional people etc and since he was/is a workaholic expected everyone to be one...and his way of showing displeasure was rather loud :-)

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  37. ur writing fascinates me as well ...that was gr8 to read and the kebabs make me drool...perfectly presented

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    1. Thanks Biny, you made my day...:-)

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  38. Nice click, looks delicious...Keep up the good work!

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    1. Thanks Hina, welcome to my blog :-)

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  39. Luvly picture..the murg malai tikka is my fav..Great going,suchi.

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  40. Suchi,
    You sure know how to make us all drool. Lovely recipe :)

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  41. WOW! Gotta start following this blog.

    The chicken kebabs look yuummmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyy!!!

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  42. Platter looks delicious,...:) I have to still learn to prepare this,...

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  43. Your blog is so great! I am traveling to india in June and would love to get some tips on being a female in my 20s and having an amazing time. email me if you have any advice at lauraelaines@gmail.com

    Thanks!

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  44. Almost can feel the chicken melt in my mouth, mmmmmmm...... This recipe is a new version to me. I am definitely trying it

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