Making Chicken Tikka

By Nisha Thomas •

Nisha shows how you don't need a full sized tandoor to make perfect chicken tikka.


Succulent pieces of chicken marinated in yoghurt and spices and grilled to perfection in a tandoor is what chicken tikka is all about. Well, of course, getting a tandoor in a 500 sq ft apartment is impossible, but I think I've still managed to get a good batch of chicken tikka by putting the oven to good use.
You can use chicken breasts instead of thighs in the recipe, but I find breasts tasteless and tougher and so I prefer thighs any day. Use the same recipe for prawns, paneer and any white firm fish and you have a tikka version just as good.
Chicken tikka served with some coriander chutney can make for the perfect appetizer. Throw these pieces of chicken in a simmering tomato sauce with a couple more spices and voilà you have chicken tikka masala - supposedly Britain's National Dish. Well, sauce or not, this is one hellofa dish, and you should definitely give it a go sometime.

Chicken Tikka


500 gms boneless chicken thighs
1 tsp chilli powder (use the less spicier version Kashmiri chilli powder if you dont like it too spicy)
1/2 tbsp onion, grated or minced
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp thick yoghurt
2 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp pepper powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp kasuri methi
1/2 tbsp oil + enough to baste

Soak some skewers on some water if you are using them. You can grill them without the skewers as well.
Remove the fatty bits from the chicken thigh if any and slice them into 1 1/2 to 2 inch cubes.

In a bowl, mix together the chilli powder, onion, lemon juice and salt.

Rub this marinade into the chicken pieces and keep covered in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
In the meantime, mix all the other remaining ingredients in another bowl. The mixture should be smooth. You can add some corn flour to this mix, if you want it thicker. But since you are using thick yoghurt, it won't be usually necessary.

Take the bowl from the refrigerator and pour over the second marinade. Mix well, cover with a cling film and marinate for a minimum of 2 hours. You can leave the mix overnight. The more it marinates, the better.
When ready to cook, preheat the grill / broiler to the highest temperature and line a baking tray with silver foil.

Remove the skewers from water and thread the chicken pieces on them - around 4 or 5 pieces per skewer.
baste one side generously with oil and place on the baking tray.
Cook for 8 to 10 minutes on each side, basting generously with oil as you go.

Make sure you don't overcook the meat, or it would dry out.

Serve warm with some lime wedges and sliced onions.
Notes: You can of course just bake them, in that case preheat oven to 200C and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes or till the chicken is thoroughly cooked
If not using skewers, then place them directly on the baking tray and cook accordingly.

Inspired?  Visit Great British Chefs to see a video of award winning chef, Vineet Bhati - making a chicken tikka marinade.



Hi Pogrady - We've amended the recipe it should just be 3/4 tsp of garam masala - thanks for checking and hope you enjoy making this.
9 November 2013
Garam Masala is called for twice, once as 1/2 tsp and once as 3/4 tsp. I know that using either quantity won't make much difference but I just wanted to check if one of them was supposed to be listed as a different spice.
9 November 2013

Nisha Thomas

Nisha is a freelance writer, avid food blogger and wannabe food photographer / stylist with plans to make it big in the food industry some day. When she’s not messing around in her own kitchen she’s busy learning the art of French macaron making with a top chef in London. Nisha also manages PR and social media marketing for the chef and her macaron business.

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