These mouth watering, juicy, tender, succulent Chicken Tikkas are your answer if you are facing any of these scenarios:
- Want to cook an easy, tasty and exotic appetizer? These tikkas are perfect for parties, get togethers and potlucks. They will love it, and love you, when they see these chicken morsels with fancy little toothpicks.
- Looking for low carb or keto options? Make a big batch and you have a great supply for your salads and Buddha bowls. All you need is some sliced red onions, cucumbers and tomatoes seasoned with a little salt and lime juice. Then top it all off with my mint chutney!
- Tired eating your chicken the same way day in and day out? This will give new life to your boring bird.
- Craving for Indian and no access to Indian restaurant? This is a lot easier than curries!
- Very soon you won’t need a reason, they will become your favorite way to eat chicken!
Seriously, Chicken Tikkas are one of the most cooked Indian dishes at the Beisers’. Mostly because it’s less complicated than the rest of the plethora of Indian dishes. Let’s face it, most of them need a lot of time in kitchen. But this one is pretty straight forward, marinate the meat and cook it! The key to these flavor bombs is the marination. Once you perfect that, it’s no sweat!
You know one more great thing about these tikkas?
They are the same chicken pieces that goes in your favorite chicken tikka masala, one of the most loved entrées in Indian restaurants. Stay tuned and subscribe to GypsyPlate, I will be teaching you that one very soon…
What are Chicken Tikkas?
Commonly known as Tandoori chicken tikkas in restaurants, they are traditionally cooked in a clay oven called a tandoor. Most Indian restaurants cook many different types of kebabs and naan breads in these bell shaped clay ovens. Most of us don’t have the liberty to have tandoors in our kitchen, but you can still replicate the flavors in your oven or on your grill. Well… sometimes we even pan roast it. I love my tikkas whichever way you cook them. When I see them on a piece of naan bread or over a plate full of salad with splash of my green mint chutney… Ahmmm, there is one happy woman!!
I grew up on different types of kebabs, hundreds of varieties of them. And no, I am not exaggerating. Going to a restaurant and not ordering 2-3 different types of kebabs before your main course is unheard of. Sometimes the appetizers takes over and we end up sharing the mains. Looking back I think, chicken tikkas are by far the most loved and adored, and are treated like the kings of kebabs.
How to make Chicken Tikkas?
The most important thing for mouth watering, juicy, tender chicken tikkas is the perfect marination. During marination the chicken absorbs the flavors from different spices and herbs and is naturally tenderized. For this reason, you should marinate your chicken at least 5-6 hours.So if you can’t marinate overnight, I suggest starting first thing in the morning. It’s a very easy yogurt based marinade, with mostly pantry staples. If you are missing a few of the ingredients, go ahead and make it anyway, it’s going to turn awesome.
Ingredients for Chicken Tikkas
- Boneless chicken- cut into bite size pieces
- Butter or ghee- for basting
- Yogurt- it’s the base for the marination and tenderizes the meat naturally. Preferably a thicker yogurt like Greek.
- Garlic paste- very important
- Ginger paste- second important 🙂
- Red chili powder- I use Kashmiri red chili powder, which gives great color but is milder than regular chili powder. You can use paprika in the absence of Indian red chili powder
- Turmeric powder- see why Indian food is so great for you? All those healing spices…
- Cumin powder- Another Indian staple
- Coriander powder- all these spices are going to add so much pizzazz in your life…
- Garam masala powder- You just need a hint of this, so as not to overpower the other flavors
- Lemon juice
- Cilantro- chopped
- Mint- chopped, fresh herbs gives amazing flavors
- Salt and pepper
- Vegetable oil or olive oil
- Kasturi methi (optional)- This is dried fenugreek leaves, which you generally only get in Indian stores. Don’t worry if you skip it, but I love it for it’s unmistakable flavor.
Don’t get intimidated by this long list of, ingredients. Just grab whatever you find in your pantry from the above list add it to your yogurt marination. The idea is to just get doing it, and you will see that even missing a few ingredients it turns out pretty mouth watering.
My preferred method is to add all of the herbs and spices to the chicken and mixing well before adding the yogurt. This way the flavors seep nicely into the chicken before getting cut by the creaminess of the yogurt.
If you are less experienced with Indian spices and wish to have more control over your spice level, add all of the above ingredients, except butter and chicken, in a bowl and mix well. You can start with smaller quantities of the spices and taste your marinade. Then slowly add more spices until the flavor is to your liking. Next, add your chicken pieces into the marination.
You can use chicken breast or thigh meat for these tikkas. Cover with plastic wrap, stick it in the fridge and leave it to marinate. For best results, leave overnight, but 5-6 hours will still give great results. In a pinch, at least an hour, though this is not optimal.
How to cook Chicken Tikkas
Once you are ready to cook, you have a few options. You can roast your tikkas in the oven, grill them on your barbie, or even pan cook them on the stove…
For the oven: Preheat the oven to 500°F (yes, that hot). Line a baking dish or pan with aluminium foil and grease it with oil. Arrange the chicken pieces on skewers and place the skewers on the pan, baste the tikkas with melted butter ,cover with foil, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil, baste with melted butter all over again and turn over the skewers. Bake uncovered for another 15 minutes. Then broil for 3-4 minutes, keeping a close eye on your tikkas… you want a few char marks, but not burnt.
For the grill: Preheat the grill on medium-high. Shake off the excess marinade and thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers. Place skewers on pre-heated grill and cook covered, turning the skewers every 5 minutes and basting with melted butter or ghee. Cook until the chicken juices are running clear the tikkas have developed some char marks, 15-20 minutes total.
For stovetop: Heat 2 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a pan over high heat. Place a single layer of chicken pieces, not too close together, and sear the pieces on both sides (you may need to add additional butter when flipping the tikkas the first time, so both sides get a nice butter coating). Then reduce the heat to medium and cook until chicken is cooked through, 10-12 more minutes for bite size pieces, flipping occasionally.
Whatever your cooking method, garnish your tikkas with a nice spritz of lemon juice and chopped cilantro or mint and serve over butter naan or salad. To take this meal to the next level, serve with my Cilantro Mint Chutney.
These chicken tikkas refrigerate great, so make big batches. Now your lunches are set for the next few days, if any tikkas are spared the first time around! Just heat them up in the microwave and serve.
Make these chicken tikkas your regular affair, and think of me whenever you create this Indian classic in your home!
Chicken Tikkas, on my Gypsy Plate… Enjoy!!!
- 1.5 lbs chicken breasts or thighs
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 1 Tbsp ginger paste
- 1.5 Tbsp garlic paste
- 2 tsp red chili powder or paprika (more for more heat )
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 3 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 1 Tbsp kasoori methi powder (optional)
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
- 2 Tbsp chopped mint
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Crush garlic and ginger into paste.
- Add herbs, spices, oil and lemon juice to yogurt and mix thoroughly.
- Cut chicken into bite size pieces and add to marinade.
- Marinate chicken in refrigerator, at least 5-6 hours, preferably overnight. In a pinch, even 30 minute marination will give you tasty tikkas.
For Oven Roasted:
- Preheat oven to 500°F.
- Skewer chicken pieces and place on greased, foil lined, baking sheet.
- Bake 15 minutes, turn tikkas and baste with melted butter or ghee. Return to oven.
- Bake and additional 10-15 minutes.
- Broil 3-4 minutes, while keeping close eye on your tikkas, to get nice char marks.
- Preheat grill on medium-high heat.
- Skewer chicken pieces and add to pre-heated grill.
- Turn every 5 minutes, basting with melted butter or ghee.
- Cook until chicken juices run clear and some char marks have developed, about 15-20 minutes total,
For Pan Cooked:
- Heat 1 Tbsp oil and 2 Tbsp butter in pan over high heat.
- Add chicken pieces in single layer and sear on both sides. Add a little extra butter when flipping.
- Reduce heat to medium, and cook, turning occasionally until chicken is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 358Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 135mgSodium 373mgCarbohydrates 10gFiber 1gSugar 5gProtein 42g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
Never miss a recipe!
Join the GypsyPlate mailing list and get easy dinner recipes right in your mailbox. From homestyle comfort food to exotic dishes from around the world.