Rich, aromatic and flavorful, these easy and juicy, indian style chicken tikka are a must summer grilling have! Whether you are looking for a light summer dinner or hosting a bbq, these tender chicken tikka are going to become your favorite.
Spicy, smoky and succulent - you could hardly go wrong when these define the dish you make.Chicken morsels grilled to perfection and instantly sprinkled with chaat masala for that much-needed tang and served immediately.
I cannot think of a better appetizer or a side to fragrant rice pilaf. If you think healthy, skip the carbs and serve over a bed of greens and you are good to go.
When cooking chicken, I make sure not to skip the marination part - it does wonders to the otherwise plain poultry. Hours of marination in yogurt and spices not only makes the chicken morsels tender but packs them with so much flavor. I always plan leftovers because these are excellent tucked inside a wrap with some green chutney (or hot sauce), mayo and few fresh veggies.
It would be untrue if I told you that I grew up eating home cooked chicken tikka. Every now and then when we had family dinners, tikkas of all sorts were ordered from a barbecue take out place near to our house.
The chicken tikka came wrapped in layers of aluminum foil, still warm from the tandoor (clay oven). There used to be pink-hued pickled pearl onions, lime wedges and chutney to go along the smoky bites.
At times,it did not matter to transfer the food on to a dinner plate, we just spread open the foil and everybody helped themselves - a really fun and informal way of enjoying food.
Chicken tikka is a beloved Indian dish, different from Chicken Tikka Masala, which is a spicy curry. While Chicken Tikka Masala simmers the chicken tikka in a creamy tomato sauce, the classic chicken tikka itself is prepared by marinating the chicken in a blend of spices. In India, you can find numerous recipes for chicken tikka, each with its own unique combination and quantities of spices.
To prepare my version of chicken tikka, I incorporate a variety of spices and herbs and an essential dollop of ghee into the marinade to enhance the flavor and richness.
Along with the traditional spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chilli powder, ginger, garlic, the addition of unique herbs like kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) adds a delightful twist to the dish. The best part is that the marinade ingredients can be adjusted to suit personal preferences and taste.
You could cook the marinated chicken using the method you prefer, be it in a tandoor, on a grill, or in an oven, until it achieves a charred golden-brown color and is cooked through.
You could serve chicken tikka on its own as an appetizer or incorporate into various other dishes. The succulent and well-spiced chicken pieces are versatile and can be used as a flavorful ingredient in salads, wraps, or even biryanis.
Chicken Tikka (Murgh Tikka)
To Make The First Marinade
- 1.5 lb chicken thighs boneless, skinless
- 1.5 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 3 garlic
- ½ inch fresh ginger
- 2 indian green chillies (very hot), adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
To Make The Second Marinade
- 4 tablespoon plain yogurt or hung curd, use whole milk yogurt
- 2 tablespoon cilantro very finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon mint leaves very finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon kasoori methi heaping teaspoon
- 1.5 tablespoon ghee melted
- 1 teaspoon salt
Whole & Ground Spices
- 2 green cardamom seeds only (or use ½ teaspoon green cardamom powder)
- 2 teaspoon coriander seeds or use 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ inch cassia bark or use ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 2 cloves or use couple punches of ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1.5 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder or use paprika
- ¾ teaspoon red chili powder (hot), or use cayenne, adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon chaat masala skip if not available
- Onion rings, cilantro, green chutney etc
Marinate the Chicken
- Add garlic, ginger and green chillies to a mortar pestle and pound to a fine paste. Alternatively, you could use store bought ginger garlic paste and use minced green chillies.
- Clean and using a paper towel pat dry the chicken thighs. Using a sharp knife, cut into bite size pieces (i to 1.5 inch).
- Rub with lemon juice, garlic- ginger & green chili paste, salt & black pepper and keep aside for 15 minutes while you make the yogurt marinade.
- Add all the whole spices like green cardamom, cumin & coriander seeds, cloves and cinnamon to a small pan and dry roast for a few minutes taking care not to burn. Let cool down a bit once toasted.
- Add the roasted spices to a small coffee grinder or any dry grinder you have at home and grind to a (not too fine) powder.
- In a large bowl, add the yogurt and mix this spice powder with all the listen ground spices, cilantro & mint, kasoori methi, ghee and salt. Mix very well using a whisk. Taste and adjust the salt if needed, it should taste super salty.
- Marinate the chicken with in the yogurt marinade. Use your hands to make sure chicken is coated very well. Cover the bowl with a cling film and keep refrigerated for at least 8 hours ( the longer you marinate, the better the taste). I marinate it for up to 2-3 days sometimes 🙂
Cook The Chicken Tikka
- Take the marinated chicken out of the refrigerator 1 hour prior to cooking. I use my grill pan to cook them, however you can skew them and cook over outdoor grill. These cook very well over a cast iron skillet/tawa.
- Spray the grill pan liberally with oil. Using tongs place the chicken in a single layer on the pan. Cook the chicken to perfection flipping 2-3 to cook on all sides. Brush oil as needed (dont skimp on oil for best taste).
- Serve hot along side onion rings and green chutney.