Mughlai Chicken

Servings : Serves 4-6

This is one of my topmost crowd pleaser recipes. It is one of those ‘special occasion’ creamy, decadent and satisfying dishes that was created to please the palates of royalty. I love serving Mughlai chicken over plain rice or with a side of soft fluffy naans.

Ingredients for Marinade

  • 500 gm boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks (or 1 skinless chicken, cut into 8-10 pieces)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Ingredients for Mughlai Paste

  • 10 cashew nuts
  • 5 almonds, blanched in hot water and skins removed
  • pinch of saffron strands
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1-2 dried red chillies
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cardamom
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 whole black pepper

Other Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp ghee, butter or vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt, whisked until smooth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or cooking cream
  • 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala powder
  • salt as needed


Marinate the chicken in the marinade ingredients for 30 minutes or refrigerate up to overnight.

When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the fridge at least half an hour before you begin, to allow it to come to room temperature.

Soak the peeled almonds, cashew nuts and saffron in hot water for 10 minutes and then grind to a smooth paste. Then roast all the remaining Mughlai Paste spices (dried red chillies, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom, bay leaf and whole black pepper). Grind the roasted spices to a fine powder. Add this spice powder into the nut/saffron paste and mix well. This will be your Mughlai Paste.

Heat the ghee or oil in a pan and then add the marinated chicken pieces. Fry on both sides until slightly browned (but not cooked through) and then remove them onto a plate. In the same pan, add the chopped onions and fry until golden. Then add in the garlic and ginger paste, cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant.

Next add the Mughlai paste and stir over medium low heat. Add a splash of water occasionally if you find that the paste is sticking to the pan. Once this paste thickens, add the yoghurt and stir it well. Then add the chicken stock (or water) followed by the cream. Stir well and allow to simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Add salt as needed.

Lastly, add in the browned chicken pieces and allow them to cook gently in the creamy sauce over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens and the chicken pieces are cooked through. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.

Taste and adjust for salt. Sprinkle in the garam masala and turn off the heat.

Garnish with flaked almonds and vibrant fresh coriander. Serve over rice or with naans.


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