If you’re new to Indian cuisine, grilled chicken tikka is a great place to start.
Grilled chicken tikka is a dish that originated in South Asia. While it’s most popular in Pakistan and India, chicken tikka seems to be more associated with Indian-style cuisine. It can be found in most Indian restaurants worldwide.
Basically, grilled chicken tikka is a kabob. It could best be described as an Indian chicken kabob. The word tikka is Hindi for “pieces”. Traditionally, chicken tikka is cooked on a tandoor, which is a clay-style oven used in much of Asia. A tandoor is in many respects similar to the ceramic-style grills used in the western nations. In actuality, our grilled chicken tikka cooked over a charcoal fire is just about the same technique as that of a tandoor.
If you’re somewhat familiar with Indian cuisine, you may be aware of the dish, chicken tikka masala. This grilled chicken tikka is the “chicken tikka” part of that dish. Add these kabobs to a spicy gravy, called masala, and you now have chicken tikka masala. Got it?
Here at the chicken coop, the comparison of the two dishes aren’t that straightforward. When making our grilled chicken tikka, we’re treating it as a kabob. In so doing, various vegetables and other ingredients may be threaded onto the skewers. We also alter the spices a bit. As you might imagine, meat right off a skewer should be spiced differently than meat that’s going to be placed in a spicy gravy, or masala.
Our chicken tikka gets a long marinade in yogurt and spices. The yogurt naturally tenderizes the chicken which absorbs the exotic flavor of the spices. Once seared over a hot fire, the flavors are exquisite!
Serve the grilled chicken tikka as a kabob over rice, on grilled naan with our mint-lime yogurt sauce or make small-sized kabobs and serve as an appetizer.
Although we use a grill, the chicken tikka recipe can easily be adapted to the oven using the broiler. Start on the middle rack and finish on the top rack, while turning occasionally. Adjust cooking times accordingly.
Once you’ve mastered grilled chicken tikka, we know you’ll want to try the Chicken Tikka Masala. You’re in store for some great eats!
- 1-1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tomato, seeds and pulp removed. Cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- fresh cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
- 6 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
- 2-3 tablespoons butter, melted (for basting while grilling)
- 1 cup Greek yogurt, strained of excess moisture
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste (available in tubes at most grocery stores)
- 2 teaspoons fresh-ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1-1/2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground cayenne, more or less per personal taste
- Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off any fat. Cut into 1-inch cubes.
- Thread a piece of chicken onto a skewer, followed by a piece of green pepper, onion and tomato. Repeat until skewer is full, Continue until all skewers are complete.
- In a mixing bowl, combine marinade ingredients and blend well.
- Place kabobs in a baking dish or resealable freezer bag. Pour marinade over skewers assuring they're completely coated. Cover or seal bag and place in refrigerator. Allow to marinate for 4 to 6 hours, turning occasionally.
- Remove skewers and shake off excess marinade. Discard marinade.
- Over a high-heat grill, cook skewers for 6-8 minutes, while rotating and basting with butter. Cook until slightly browned and an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F (75°C).
- Remove and sprinkle with chopped cilantro, if using. Serve over rice or with naan and your choice of sauce.