We, for the first time, report a green, solid-state method for synthesizing maleated chitosan, wherein maleation is brought about by stirring chitosan flakes in molten maleic anhydride. In a similar manner, other derivatives like succinated chitosan could also be prepared. Maleated chitosan, given its polyanionic nature in solution form, could be further used to cross-link chitosan polycation through electrostatic complexation. The resulting "all-chitosan" gel, having very low cytotoxicity and a conducive surface for cell attachment, could be used as scaffolds for tissue engineering. In this context it is to be noted that presently, maleation of chitosan has been invariably carried out in solution phase, using harsh, environmentally aggressive solvents such as DMSO, DMF, acetamide and the like. © 2018 American Chemical Society.