Chicken tikka is boneless tandoori chicken on a stick. The pieces are smaller. That’s good. More surface equals more seasoning. These are little tandoori flavour bombs.
Chicken tikka is perfect party food
Who doesn’t love chicken on a stick. This is Indian finger food. Serve it up with a sauce or two. Smiles all around.
Or use it in a curry or two. Chicken tikka masala is probably the most famous curry after butter chicken. Everybody loves it. Start with crazy flavourful chicken makes for amazing curry. Serve that and expect adulation. Impress everyone every time.
Making chicken tikka is easy. Cut up the chicken. Coat liberally with tandoori marinade. Refrigerate for a few hours. Soak your skewers. Assemble. Wear gloves to skewer if you used food colouring. Grill. Eat. Or use them to make chicken tikka masala.
Grilling technique is key
As always I think charcoal makes a difference. If you can cook these over charcoal they will taste better. But they will be pretty darn good over gas as well. Don’t let it stop you.
The big thing is the seasoning. Smoke just puts it right over the top. And charcoal is just the right kind of smoke. Delicate. Delicious.
Grilling technique is key. You are working with small pieces of chicken – it’s easy to overcook them. You need to be careful.
For charcoal, build a two stage fire. Hot on one side. Cool on the other. For gas, turn one burner on high and leave the other one on low.
Start with low or indirect heat. Finish over high direct heat. Get them mostly cooked on low then blast them with heat. You want a bit of char. You don’t want dry chicken. Watch it closely.
All sorts of ways to serve chicken tikka
Serve chicken tikka over a small green salad. You can do a tikka sizzle – serve them on a bed of fried onions. Serve them straight up. Tamarind dip, raita or a green chili chutney mixed with yoghurt all pair well.
The key is this dish is the tandoori marinade. Bad marinade equals bad results. The tandoori marinade here has a lot of ingredients. It may sound a bit daunting but it really works.
Chicken tikka is great on it’s own. It’s delicious in salad. In a naan bread sandwich. And it’s just the thing for tikka masala. Always a hit. Guaranteed.
- 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- tandoori marinade recipe below
- 1/2 lemon - juiced
- 1 Tbsp cumin powder
- 1 Tbsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp madras curry powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp mint sauce (not mint jelly)
- 2 tsp kashmiri chili powder
- 1 Tbsp coriander stems/leaves chopped
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp kasoor methi - dried fenugreek leaves
- 1 Tbsp Patak's tandoori marinade
- 1 Tbsp garlic ginger paste
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup water - you may need a little more. You are after a runny paste.
- Combine all the ingredients for the tandoori marinade in a stain proof bowl.
- Cut each thigh into 4 pieces. Cut each breast, if using, into 8 pieces. Combine tandoori marinade with chicken. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
- Soak skewers in water for 30 minutes.
- Add the lemon juice to the chicken. Mix to combine. Let stand no more than one hour.
- Light your grill. Build a two zone fire if using charcoal. Turn one burner to high and another to low if using gas.
- Remove chicken from marinade. Use gloves if you have them. Tandoori marinade stains something fierce.
- Skewer the chicken.
- Grill over indirect heat until almost done - around 10-15 minutes. You want an internal temperature of about 150F for breasts or 160F for thighs at this point. You will be cooking them a bit more over direct heat. Your final target is 165F for breasts and 175F for thighs.
- Move chicken skewers over direct (high) heat and grill an additional 2-4 minutes, turning every minute.. You want a bit of char but you don't want it to burn or dry out.