Grilled Chicken Tikka

Chicken tikka

The Spruce

 

Ratings (108)
  • Total: 12 hrs 15 mins
  • Prep: 12 hrs
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

The word tikka means bits, pieces or chunks in Indian. Chicken Tikka is an easy-to-cook dish in which chicken chunks are marinated in special spices and then grilled on skewers. This is one of India's most popular dishes. Chicken Tikka can also be made into Chicken Tikka Masala, where the grilled chicken pieces are added to a tasty gravy.

Traditionally, chicken tikka is baked in a clay oven called a tandoor, which basically makes this recipe a boneless chicken version of the Indian dish tandoori chicken. Since most of us don't have a tandoor, using a grill or the oven is a good alternative. 

You need to plan ahead when making this dish as the chicken should sit in the yogurt and spice marinade overnight. Also, if using wooden skewers, make sure to soak them for 10 minutes in water before threading the chicken (this keeps the wood from burning). Enjoy this chicken tikka with warm naan, or use to make chicken tikka masala.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp. ginger paste
  • 3 tbsp. garlic paste
  • 3 to 4 tbsp. garam masala
  • 6 peppercorns (or 2 dry red chilies)
  • 1/2 tsp. orange food coloring
  • 1 cup fresh unsweetened yogurt (should not be sour)
  • 2 1/4 lbs./1 kg. skinless and boneless chicken breast (or thigh, cut into 2-inch chunks)
  • 1 large onion (cut into very thin rings)
  • 3 tbsp. lime juice (or lemon juice, freshly squeezed)
  • Garnish: lime or lemon wedges
  • 1 tsp. chaat masala (available at most Indian groceries)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Grilled Chicken Tikka
     The Spruce
  2. Grind the chopped coriander (keep some aside for garnishing) and all other marinade ingredients (except yogurt) into a smooth paste in a food processor.

    Spices in a food processor
    The Spruce
  3. Pour the spice mix into a large bowl and add yogurt. Mix well. Add the chicken pieces and mix well. Cover the bowl and refrigerate. Allow to marinate overnight.

    Tikka marinade
     The Spruce
  4. Thread the chicken onto skewers and keep ready.

    Chicken tikka skewers
     The Spruce
  5. Preheat your oven to 400 F or grill to medium-high.

  6. Place the skewers on the grill or in your oven with a tray underneath to catch drippings. Roast open until the chicken is browned on all sides and tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.

    Grilled Chicken Tikka
     The Spruce
  7. Remove from skewers and put the chicken on a plate.

    Remove from skewers and put the chicken on a plate.
    The Spruce 
  8. Put the onion rings in a separate bowl and squeeze lime juice over them. Sprinkle the chaat masala over and mix well so the onions are fully coated. Garnish the Chicken Tikka with these onion rings and serve with naan.

    Red onions, lime, and tikka seasoning
    The Spruce
  9. Enjoy!