Chicken tikka is a popular non-vegetarian starter in India, made using small succulent pieces of chicken marinated overnight in a mixture of spices and yoghurt. The word ‘tikka’, in its name, refers to the cooking technique used to prepare the chicken dish.
Traditionally, the chicken is placed on skewers with diced onions and tomatoes and cooked in a tandoor, a clay oven. However, over time, the chicken tikka recipe has seen many variations – as far as the marinating time, cooking method, flavours, and presentation are concerned.
A popular example of its unique presentation can be, of course, the famed chicken tikka masala, which is basically the non-vegetarian starter served in a tomato-based gravy with onions and capsicum.
Chicken Tikka Recipe
with inputs from Chef Tilak Vel, Head R&D Chef at FreshMenu and celebrity chef and TV host Rakhee Vaswani
Chicken tikka is the perfect non-vegetarian starter for a house party or if you’re planning a barbeque weekend. Here are some expert tips to make the chicken tikka recipe at home:
- Chicken, deboned thighs and legs
- Hung curd
- Ginger-garlic paste
- Black salt
- Chaat masala
- Lime juice
- Dried fenugreek leaves
- Red chilli powder
- Turmeric powder
- Coriander powder
- Mustard oil
Method and tips:
- Chef Vel recommends using cut, deboned chicken thighs and legs for this recipe because in his experience that part of the meat is juicier. But you can use chicken breast also, basis availability.
- To make the marinade, in a bowl add hung curd, ginger-garlic paste, black salt, chaat masala, lime juice, dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi), red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, and salt.
- Chef Vaswani also recommends adding a teaspoon of mustard oil to the mix because the oil adds more flavour to the meat and protects the meat from heat.
- Chicken should be marinated for at least a day. If that's not possible, you can reduce the marination time to less than a day by adding a bit of vinegar to the mix. This will ensure the chicken stays succulent and juicy.
- For the last-minute cook, you can go the Chef Vaswani way and marinate the chicken for 15-20 minutes.
- Roast the marinated chicken tikkas in an oven for about 10-12 minutes in an oven.
- Those who don’t have an oven can skewer the chicken pieces and grill them on a direct flame on the stovetop.
- Once the chicken tikkas are ready, serve them with a side of green chutney and onion slices.