Chicken tikka

Chicken tikka

Chicken Tikka is yet another very popular Punjabi recipe, which is a hot favourite at the restaurants. In the restaurant menu, you will find this one listed under starters and is usually served with green coriander chutney or tamarind chutney.

Traditionally, boneless chicken pieces marinated in a spicy masala are skewered and grilled over coals or  in the tandoor to the point of getting them charred here and there.  This gave them the smoky flavour, which combined with the flavour from the spices was mouth watering. Though there are umpteen recipes all over the net, the basic ingredients remain more or less the same.

There are also other similar preparations like the Chicken tikka masala, in which the chicken tikka is cooked in tomato sauce. It very closely ressembles the butter chicken masala, in looks as well as method of preparation. This dish is so popular in the UK, that many people consider it the unofficial national dish of the UK  🙂  .

Another popular one is the chicken tikka biriyani. In this the chicken tikka is first made, mixed in with the gravy and then layered with cooked basmathi rice, fried onions and herbs. Or it is made in the usual chicken biriyani way, just that the chicken is marinated with the tikka masala. Recipes for these two preparations coming up in a later post.

Chicken tikka is a family favourite. I usually make it using the broiler function of my oven, by grilling it. Though it was tasty, I was not satisfied, as the chicken seemed kind of sticky with the masala, though it was charred at places. Maybe it was meant to be like that, as that is how I find them in the restaurants too.

But my kids always preferred a dry version, so this time I used my  cast iron tawa for frying the pieces. They got charred at places and were cooked dry and perfect, with very little oil. I used the charcoal in bowl method to get that smoky flavour, and it was certified the best by my family.

It was so good that my elder one finished off most of it, and the next day was asking if there were any left overs.

So give this a try, and get ready to bask in the appreciation of family and friends. Over to the recipe…

Chicken Tikka
Tender chicken boneless fillets marinated in spicy masala, fried on tawa and smoked to perfection.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Resting time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 30 minutes
Course: starter
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hema Magesh
  • 500 g Boneless Chicken fillets
  • 1/4 cup thick curd/yogurt
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp jaggery (or sugar)
  • 1/2-1 tsp red chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • a pinch turmeric powder
  • a pinch ajwain
  • 2 pinches kasuri methi(dry fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 tsp rice powder
  • 1 tsp corn flour
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • oil as needed (for smearing on tawa)

For the smoke

  • 1 small piece charcoal
  • few drops butter/ghee
  • Clean wash the chicken and cut into bit sized cubes. Keep aside.
    Chicken tikka preparation steps 1&2
  • In a wide bowl, take all the ingredients listed above from curd/yogurt to kasuri methi. Mix well to form a homogenous mixture. Taste check and adjust salt and spices as needed.
    Chicken tikka preparation steps 3&4
  • Now add in the chicken and mix well to coat. Once its all well mixed add the rice powder and corn flour. Mix again and transfer it to the refrigerator. Let it marinate for a few hours or overnight. I marinated for 3 hours.
  • Heat up a tawa, and cook the chicken pieces in portions, till it becomes brown and charred at a few places. Flip over as needed to completely cook the chicken and make it dry.
    Chicken tikka preparation steps 7&8
  • Using tongs heat the charcoal piece in direct flame. Once it becomes red hot put it in a small cup and keep it in the middle of the cooked chicken pieces. 
    Chicken tikka preparation steps 9&10
  • Drizzle a few drops of butter/ghee over it. It immediately starts smoking. Cover the vessel with a fitting lid, so as to trap all the smoke inside. Keep it covered for 3-5 minutes. 

  • Once all the smoke has died down, discard the charcoal and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, onion rings and lemon slices. 
    Chicken tikka preparation steps 13
  • Serve the chicken tikka with coriander chutney or tamarind chutney, though it is yummy to have by itself.

Hema’s P.S.

  • Ensure that you marinate the chicken for a minimum period of 2 hours atleast for all the flavours to infuse into the chicken.
  • Use thick curds that are not too sour in taste. If your curd is not thick you may opt to drain the excess water through a muslin cloth.
  • The addition of jaggery balances the tanginess from the curd and lemon, though it is not generally added.
  • Adding the rice powder and corn flour at the end, ensures that the chicken pieces are sealed, which keeps them tender and juicy inside. 
  • You can also opt to replace the rice flour and corn flour with besan or chick pea flour. But I prefer those 2 flours than chick pea flour.
  • Similarily you can replace the butter with mustard oil or any other oil of your choice.
  • The final addition of cayenne pepper adds to the flavour as well as the color. If you are not for a spicy tikka, then reduce chilly powder and pepper powder in the marination to suit your palate. Alternatively increase for a spicy version.
  • The Charcoal smoke takes this dish to another level. So do not skip it.

Hema Magesh signature




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6 Responses

  1. Magesh says:

    Tikka yummy… good photography and compilation

  2. Anitha says:

    Kids will like… Should try it!

  3. Hema, your Chicken Tikka recipe was an absolute delight! The flavors were spot on, and your tips for getting that perfect char and juiciness were incredibly helpful. It turned out to be a delicious masterpiece at our dinner table. Thank you for sharing such a detailed and easy-to-follow recipe. I’m looking forward to trying more of your culinary creations!

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