Grilled Chicken Tikka Recipe

Chicken tikka and pineapple
Michael Powell/Getty Images
  • 12 hrs 15 mins
  • Prep: 12 hrs,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6
Ratings (76)

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.

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 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. freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
  • Lime or lemon wedges for garnish
  • 1 tsp. chaat masala (available at most Indian groceries)

How to Make It

  1. Grind the chopped coriander (keep some aside for garnishing) and all other marinade ingredients (except yogurt) into a smooth paste in a food processor.
  2. 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.
  3. Thread the chicken onto skewers and keep ready.
  4. Preheat your oven or grill to medium-high (400 F/200 C).
  1. 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.
  2. Remove from skewers and put the chicken on a plate.
  3. 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.
  4. Garnish the Chicken Tikka with these onion rings and serve with naan.