Chicken tikka is a delightful Indian appetizer that is served in restaurants.
It is spicy and healthy where marinated chicken is cooked in Air fryer, oven or grill.
It is loaded with flavor and incredibly succulent.
Chicken tikka is served with a Indian mint yogurt sauce along with onion slivers and lemon wedges.
It is a perfect appetizer for your party or on weekends at home.
This is a favorite with the folks at home.
It tastes just like the restaurant kind but is moister and more delicious.
This smoked pork loin is delicious too.
What is Chicken Tikka?
Tandoori chicken tikka is a very popular Indian appetizer.
Here cubed boneless chicken is marinated in a spiced yogurt marinade and then grilled over charcoal in a tandoor or clay oven (traditionally).
It is spicy and truly delicious.
To replicate the tandoor flavour, one can grill, barbecue, bake in oven or Air fry to get the same authentic chicken tikka taste.
You can replicate the smoky taste of the tandoor by getting a nice char on your grilled chicken.
1. Boneless Chicken Cubes: Use 500 gms. or 1 lb. of boneless chicken.
You can use breasts or thighs cut into uniform sized cubes.
2. Yogurt: Thick yogurt or Greek yogurt is used here. 3 tbsp. or ½ cup is good.
3. Ginger Garlic Paste: I have used 2 tbsp. here. You can use slightly less to reduce the punch.
4. Lemon Juice: A tablespoon of lemon juice is used.
5. Spices: Lots of Indian spices used for the signature tandoori flavor.
I have used cayenne (red chilli powder), paprika (Kashmiri chilli powder), pepper powder, tandoori chicken masala, garam masala, coriander powder, kasuri methi and salt.
6. Chickpea flour or Besan: 2 tsp. is used to give a nice thin coating to the chicken tikka.
7. Oil: A little oil is added to help the tikkas stay moist.
8. Onion Rings and Lemon Wedges: These are used for garnish along with mint chutney.
How to Make the Perfect Tikka
1. The success of a good kebab is in chicken tikka marinade.
You must marinate in a thick yogurt spice marinade preferably overnight.
This makes the chicken tender and also flavourful.
Then grilling it makes it really succulent and tasty.
2. Always dry the chicken breasts before you start adding the marinade.
Adding a little oil to the marinade helps keep the tikka moist.
3. Using a thick yogurt and chickpea flour helps adhere the marinade well to the tikka when cooking.
4. I serve these tikka as is or in wraps with fresh veggies or with a side of pulao.
5. Sprinkle lemon juice and chaat masala when serving to make them even tastier.
6. You can follow the same recipe with chicken thighs or legs.
The cooking time will go up though.
7. I also use the leftover marinade to dip peppers and onions and grill them.
They make for excellent accompaniments.
8. Mint yogurt chutney goes very well with these tikkas.
Variations and Substitutions
Vegetarian or Dairy Free version: Substitute chicken with paneer, tofu, or mushrooms.
Different Proteins: If you're not a fan of chicken, you could easily substitute it with turkey, shrimp, or even fish.
Cooking times may vary.
Dairy-Free Marinade: You can replace yogurt with a dairy-free alternative like coconut yogurt or a soy yogurt.
Gluten-Free: This recipe is gluten free. Check all spices you use in case there is any hidden gluten.
Spicier Variation: If you love heat, add a finely chopped green chili or increase the amount of red chili powder in the marinade.
Vary the Spices: While the traditional spices in chicken tikka are hard to beat, you can experiment with different spice blends.
For example, you might try adding some smoked paprika for a different kind of heat, or cinnamon for a touch of warmth and sweetness.
If you can't find Tandoori chicken masala, use more of garam masala.
1. Wrap: Slice air fried chicken tikka into strips. Make a wrap using them as a filling.
Add lettuce, sliced onions, and a drizzle of mint yogurt sauce or tandoori mayo to complete the wrap.
2. Salad: For a light healthy meal, toss the chicken tikka into a salad.
3. Chicken Tikka Pizza: Upgrade your pizza night by using chicken tikka as a topping on a naan pizza.
4. Rice Bowl: Serve it with a light salad and cooked basmati rice for a filling rice bowl.
5. Sandwich: Use the chicken tikka as a sandwich filling.
Cut each chicken breast into similar-sized cubes.
Add all the marination ingredients to the chicken.
Thick yogurt, lemon juice, cayenne (red chilli powder), paprika (Kashmiri chilli powder), pepper powder, tandoori chicken masala, garam masala, coriander powder, kasuri methi, salt, chickpea flour (besan) and oil are added to the chicken cubes.
You can adjust the spice as per your taste. This is a spicy recipe.
Mix well and marinate the chicken cubes for 2-6 hours.
You can also do this overnight.
Skewer onto wooden skewers.
Remember to immerse the wooden skewers in water for 15 minutes to prevent them from burning during air frying.
For Air frying
Pre heat air fryer at 160 C or 320 F for 5 minutes.
Take skewers and put the chicken tikka pieces in.
Baste with some butter/oil and Air fry at 160 C or 320 F for about 8 minutes.
Next raise the temperature to 200 C or 390 F and air fry for about 6 minutes to get a lovely charred look.
Preheat oven at 240 C or 460 F for 10 minutes.
Line a baking tray with foil and arrange a grill tray on it.
Line your tikka on skewers and bake for about 25-30 minutes till it is well cooked.
You can do the same in a conventional grill.
Serve hot with lemon slices, slices of onion and chaat masala. Enjoy.
This tikka goes really well with lemon wedges, sliced onions, green mint chutney and a sprinkle of chaat masala for the tang.
I suggest a minimum marination time of 2 hours. It tastes more flavourful when marinated for 4-8 hours.
You can use more garam masala in its place.
You can skip it in the recipe.
The marinade needs thick yogurt. You could hang some yogurt in a cheese cloth. Drain the whey and use. Or use Greek yogurt.
If you brush oil on the basket and put the tikka in the skewers then they don't stick or stick minimally.
You can skip pepper powder and cayenne. Add more paprika or Kashmiri chilli powder for a more red appearance.
Yes, these cook beautifully on an indoor grill, a charcoal grill or a barbecue.
Chicken breast are very lean and dry out very easily. Basting them helps them stay moist.
Here's the recipe card:
📖 Recipe Card
The Best Chicken Tikka Recipe
- 1 lb. Chicken breast boneless or 500 gm.
- 2 tbsp. ginger and garlic paste or minced ginger and garlic
- 3 tbsp. Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp. garam masala powder or curry powder
- 1 tsp. cayenne
- 1 tsp. black pepper coarsely ground skip if you prefer less spice
- 1 tbsp. Tandoori chicken masala optional
- 1 tsp. paprika or Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1 tsp. coriander powder
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. kasuri methi or dry fenugreek
- 1 tsp. oil/butter for marination and some more for basting
- 2 tsp. chickpea flour or besan
- The key in making good chicken tikka is in its marination.
- Take all the ingredients of the marinade and mix to form a thick paste.
- Evenly coat chicken pieces with this marinade and keep for 4-6 hours or overnight for the flavours to get absorbed.
For Air Fryer
- Pre heat your airfryer at 160 C or 320 F for 5 minutes.
- Take skewers and put the chicken tikka pieces in. Baste with some butter/oil and Air fry at 160 C or 320 F for about 8 minutes. Next raise the temperature to 200 C or 390 F and air fry for about 6 minutes to get a lovely charred look.
- Preheat oven at 240 C or 460 F for 10 minutes. Line a baking tray with foil and arrange a grill tray on it. Line your tikka on skewers and bake for about 25-30 minutes till it is well cooked. You can do the same in a conventional grill.
- Serve hot with lemon slices, slices of onion and chaat masala. Enjoy
- Always preheat your oven/air fryer 2. This recipe is spicy, reduce the spice as per your taste. 3. We cook first at low heat to cook the chicken from inside and yet keep it moist. 4. The high heat cooking is to give it a nice charcoal grill look. 5. When using air fryer, you can baste the pieces with oil midway during cooking. 6. Don't overcook or the chicken will become stringy and chewy. 7. You could also do this on stove top by cooking on a hot skillet. Heat a skillet. Pour some oil and put the tikkas. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat till both sides are done. Or use a grill to cook the tikkas.
Enjoy your hot and tasty chicken tikka and wow your family and friends. If you like the recipe, do give it a star * rating. Thanks.