Chicken tikka recipe – Tandoori chicken tikka is one of the most popular chicken starter or appetizer from Indian Cuisine. It is also popular across the world. Tikka means a cube or a piece that is grilled. Chicken tikka is cubed chicken that is marinated in spiced yogurt mixture & then grilled to perfection.
The key to a mouth melting juicy, tender & succulent chicken tikka is proper marination. During the marination the chicken not only absorbs the flavors from the spices & herbs but also tenderizes naturally without the need to use any chemical tenderizers.
In restaurants usually the chicken tikka is marinated overnight or even longer. Then they are lined on to a skewer & grilled in tandoor or clay ovens.
Tandoor oven is a traditional clay oven which is used to grill foods. Chicken tikka that is grilled in a tandoor acquires a smoky aroma & enhances the flavors of the meat. Finally a bit of mustard oil is brushed over the tandoori tikkas.
I make the same restaurant style chicken tikka at home using the recipe shared in this post.
Tips to make chicken tikka at home
You can make the best chicken tikka at home either using a oven or on a tawa. Here are the tips.
1.Using thick curd aka hung curd or greek yogurt is the key to make good tikkas. Whey in yogurt will ruin the tikkas so you can follow this recipe of hung curd to make it at home.
2. Do not skip gram flour or besan from the recipe as it is the key to make the tikkas aromatic. I have used besan directly in the marinade. However you can also fry the besan in oil until aromatic, cool & add it to the marinade. This enhances the taste a bit.
3. I do not use food color to make my food any time. For a good color, do use a good quality red chilli powder or paprika powder for a vibrant color. I use kashmiri or byadgi chilli powder.
4. Adding too much of garam masala or spice powder, leaves a bitter taste. So adjust the quantity slightly to suit the taste but do not use a lot.
5. Well marinated chicken turn out to be flavorful, tender & succulent without drying out so marinate over night if possible.
6.If you like the smoky aroma of grilled foods, then you can smoke the chicken tikka with char coal. You can check the notes for more details.
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- 500 grams chicken boneless & cubed
- 1½ tablespoon gram flour or besan
- ½ cup curd or yogurt or greek yogurt
- ½ green bell pepper
- ½ red bell pepper or tomatoes (deseeded)
- 1 large onion cubed
- Salt as needed
- 1 tablespoon oil preferably mustard oil
- 1 to 2 tablespoon lemon juice (or as needed)
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste or grated
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon red chilli powder or paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper powder
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ tablespoon kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
How to make the recipe
Preparation for chicken tikka
- This recipe needs thick curd or greek yogurt. If using homemade yogurt then follow the notes & strain the whey to get thick yogurt.
- Add it to a mixing bowl along with red chilli powder, pepper powder, turmeric, kasuri methi, garam masala & coriander powder.
- Next add lemon juice, salt & oil. Mix everything well and taste it. Add more chilli powder, salt or lemon if needed to adjust the taste.
- Add the cubed chicken to the marinade. Marinate the chicken for at least an hour to 12 hours. Longer the chicken rests more flavorful & succulent it will turn out. You will have to refrigerate if marinating for longer than an hour.
How to make chicken tikka
- Prepare a baking tray with a foil lined over it. Then place a rack over it.
- Cube the veggies and add it to the marinade. Smear the marinade over it. Put them on to skewers, alternating veggies and chicken. Place these over the prepared tray.
- Preheat the oven to 240 C for at least 15 minutes. Grill chicken tikka for 20 to 30 mins or till fully done. I suggest checking after 20 mins. This depends on the size of your chicken pieces and how tender it is.
- The last 3 to 4 mins, move the chicken to the top rack. Serve chicken tikka with some veggies as a appetizer.
- Coriander powder is used to bring down the spice levels in garam masala, use it if your garam masala is pungent or very strong.
- For a restaurant smoky flavor, just burn a char coal until hot & red. Then place it in a small bowl. Keep this in the pan. Add a tsp of ghee to it over it. Then it will begin to smoke immediately. Cover and smoke the chicken tikka for 5 mins.
1. Add curd, lemon juice, ginger garlic paste and all other spice powders to a plate and mix well.
2. Add oil to the marinade. Oil helps to tenderize the chicken when used along with yogurt or lemon juice.
3. Add the chicken that is drained completely. Make sure there is no water dripping from the chicken before you add it to the marinade.
4. Mix everything well. Set this aside for at least an hour to over night in the fridge. If you have meat tenderizer, you can use it. But that is optional.
5. When you are about to grill them, soak the skewers for 30 minutes in water to prevent burning. Preheat the oven to 240 C. Set aside the chicken removing excess marinade. To the excess marinade add the cubed veggies. Toss them to coat the marinade well.
6. Skew them alternately chicken , onion and capsicum. Next grill this for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Serve chicken tikka with mint raita.