This Chicken Tikka, aka “murgh tikka” recipe yields incredibly tender, juicy and flavorful chicken! India’s signature yogurt marinated chargrilled chicken is incredibly easy and involves no hunting down hard to find ingredients!
Yogurt marinated chicken is my “secret” to tender and juicy chicken on the grill, and this chicken tikka kebab is a definite favorite. Subtly spiced, it appeals to kids and adults alike – and I always wonder why I don’t make it more often!
Served with flatbread or rice, it only needs a simple vegetable side and dinner is done!
So what is Chicken Tikka…. and where’s the sauce?
The word “tikka” literally means “small pieces of meat or vegetables marinated in a spice mixture. Chicken Tikka is literally small pieces of chicken that are marinated in a spiced yogurt mixture and typically served kebab style.
Chicken Tikka vs. Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken Tikka Masala is one of the most well known Indian dishes and a fixture on virtually any Indian restaurant menu here in the U.S.
But… it’s not really an Indian dish at all! The recipe actually originated in the UK. The story goes that a restaurant chef, in response to complaints about how dry Chicken Tikka was, added a creamy tomato-based sauce to it and called it Chicken Tikka Masala!
Ingredients you need to make this easy Chicken Tikka Recipe…
- Chicken – boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- Plain yogurt – you can use nonfat, low- fat or full-fat yogurt for this recipe. Since the chicken is so lean, I like to use full-fat plain yogurt.
- Fresh lime juice
- Garlic ginger paste – you can make your own or you can find it in well stocked grocery stores.
- Indian spices – cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, cardamom and chile powder.
How to make Chicken Tikka:
Making this Chicken Tikka recipe is incredibly easy!
- Stir all the marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl. You can do this up to two days ahead of time – just cover and store in the refrigerator.
- Up to a day before you are planning to make the Chicken Tikka kebabs, add the chicken to the marinade and stir to thoroughly coat. TIP: the key to evenly cooked kebabs is to cut the chicken into equally sized pieces. One inch squares are a perfect size – the chicken cooks all the way through without drying out!
- Thread the chicken chunks onto the skewers. TIP: If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water for about ½ hour before threading the chicken on.
- Scrape and clean your grill! A clean and oiled grill helps keep the chicken from sticking. After cleaning, preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken and cook for 2 -3 minutes per side. If your chicken pieces are larger than about a 1-inch cube, you will need to cook them for 3 – 4 minutes. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Remove from the grill and serve!
If you enjoyed this recipe, I would LOVE for you to give it a 5-star rating! Cheers! Nancy
Love Indian recipes? Then don’t miss these!
- Indian Lentil Soup
- Chicken Madras
- Coconut Chicken Curry
- Vegetable Samosas with Mint Riata
- Indian Coleslaw
- 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- 3 Tbsp. Ginger garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon chile powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons coriander
- 1 Tablespoon garam masala
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamon
- 1 cup full fat plain yogurt
- juice of 1 lime
- In a glass bowl add the yogurt. Add the ginger garlic paste and then the chile powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala and groun cardamon. Mix.
- Add the lime juice and stir to thoroughly combine.
- Cut up the chicken into pieces about 1 inch square.
- Add the chicken to the tikka paste mixture and stir to combine.
- Refrigerate for two hours and up to 1 day.
- Soak approximately 10 -12 six-inch wooden skewers in water for 15 to 30 minutes or more. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature.
- Scrape the grill, oil and preheat to medium-high heat.
- Thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers so that they fit comfortably and aren’t too packed.
- Grill the skewers for 2 – 3 minutes per side until the chicken has dark brown grill marks and is cooked through to 165 degrees.
- If you have leftover chicken you can freeze it! Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and foil and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator over night.
- Extra chicken is delicious wrapped in naan bread with tomatoes, shredded cabbage, plain yogurt and a dollop of tomato chutney!