Saturday 13 March 2021

Chicken Makhanwali

Marghi Makhanwali | Chicken in a Milk Trio

While this is quite a delicacy in Parsi homes across India, not many of us growing up in Karachi have ever experienced this. But we can all enjoy different ways of cooking chicken, and it is lovely to revive old family recipes. The inclusion of nuts and dry fruit for texture and flavour is undoubtedly a reflection of our Persian heritage, something I always heard my paternal grandfather was extremely fond of. While I never had the pleasure of meeting with my genteel bapawaji, this one is in honour of the late Dr Hormuzshaw Jamshedji Wania. I am always left wondering if butter chicken was plagiarised and concocted from this recipe!!

Not to be confused with Parsi chicken maiwala, which is baked shredded chicken in a bechamel sauce.


Serves 6

1.5 kg/ 3.3 lb skinless, bone-in chicken, cut into in 8 pieces

1 1/2 tsp ginger paste

1 1/2 tsp garlic paste

1 tsp chilli powder

1/ 2tsp cinnamon powder

1/2 tsp cardamom powder

1/4 tsp clove powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup whole milk or cream

100 g/ 3.5 oz paneer 

100 g/ 3.5 oz mava - see tips

2 tbsp raisins

2 tbsp cashew nuts


Mix together the ginger and garlic pastes, the powdered spices and the salt.

Marinate the chicken pieces in this for an hour and up to 24 hours.

In a pan, heat a tbsp of oil. Gently cook the chicken on low heat till tender. Add water if needed. Blend together the remaining ingredients, till a thick paste is formed. Spoon this into the chicken pan and allow it to simmer for another 10 minutes. Pour a tablespoon of hot melted butter all over and serve.


Mava or khoya, is a milk solid sold in a block in the frozen section of any Indian grocery store. Alternatively use extra paneer to substitute.

Almond or walnuts can be substituted for the cashew.

Substitute raisins for seedless dried apricots -jardaloo/khoubani, dates or figs.

The colour and flavour may vary with substitutions.




My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.

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