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Chicken Tikka

Chicken Tikka

The recipe for an iconic and delicious Indian dish: Chicken Tikka!
Course Main
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 12 hours
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 12 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1.1 kg – 2.5 lbs tenderloins or skinless and boneless chicken breasts cubed into 2.5 cm – 1 inch pieces

First marinade:

  • 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tbsp red chili powder
  • ½ tbsp ginger paste
  • ¼ tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp onion grated
  • Salt

Second marinade:

  • 1 tsp ajwain/carom seeds + 1 tsp ajwain/carom seeds crushed with a mortar pestle
  • ½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 30 gms – ¼ cup chickpea flour besan
  • 5 tbsp thick plain yogurt
  • 1 ½ tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 ½ tbsp garlic paste
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 pinch saffron + 1 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp virgin pure mustard oil
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves optional
  • Red or orange food colour optional
  • Salt


  • More vegetable oil to baste
  • Thinly sliced onions and lemon wedges to serve
  • Hari Chutney to serve
  • Chaat Masala optional


  1. Mix all the ingredients of the first marinade in a big bowl, add the cubed chicken and mix well. Keep it aside for about half an hour.
  2. In the meantime, start preparing the second marinade.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of milk and add the saffron to it. Stir and keep it aside.
  4. Heat the half tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan. Add the 1 teaspoon of ajwain/carom seeds and the chickpea flour and mix constantly with a wooden spoon at low heat, until it turns a shade darker. It should smell nutty. Do not worry if it looks like the flour is lumping up, it is okay. Keep it aside.
  5. In a big mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, ginger paste, garlic paste, garam masala, 1 teaspoon of crushed ajwain/carom seeds, kasuri methi, turmeric, black pepper, red chili powder, salt and the food color (if you are using it). Put the chicken pieces into this marinade, add the saffron milk and the toasted chickpea flour and mix well. Add the mustard oil and mix well. Keep it aside for at least 4 hours to overnight.
  6. When you are ready to cook the chicken, thread the cubes in the skewers. You can also skip this part, if you are making the tikka to use in other dishes.
  7. Put the skewered chicken on a tray covered with baking paper (or greased) and bake the chicken in a pre-heated oven at 205°C – 215°C (400°F – 420°F) for about 15 minutes or until cooked through.
  8. Make sure to generously baste the chicken skewers with some ghee/oil on both sides and turn them over a couple of times. To get the charred look and taste, broil the chicken for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  9. Serve the chicken tikka hot with sliced red onions, lemon wedges, Hari Chutney and some freshly made Naan or Garlic Naan. You can sprinkle some Chaat Masala on it too if you like.

Recipe Notes

Do not over cook the chicken or it will become tough and dry.