Chicken Tikka


How to Cook Indian

Published by Stewart, Tabori and Chang

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Editor's Note: If you're looking for an easy chicken dish to wow the crowd, then take a look at this Chicken Tikka recipe. Sanjeev Kapoor breaks down the recipe into easy-to-follow instructions, resulting in a dish that you are sure to love. Just keep in mind the chicken needs to marinate for up to four hours before it's time to start cooking. Bold and full of flavor, this is one recipe you will likely make with some frequency — especially as the chicken can be cooked right in your oven.

Chicken tikka is probably the first introduction to Indian food for most non-Indians. Boneless tandoori chicken is called a tikka — a small bite-size kebab. We make them all the time. And if you have leftovers, I would suggest you make a chicken tikka chaat: Toss warm tikkas with colored bell peppers and top with whisked plain yogurt and cilantro or mint chutney. It makes a great easy lunch.




Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe CourseMain Course

Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Gluten-free, Halal, Kosher, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free

MealDinner, Lunch

Taste and TextureCreamy, Meaty, Spiced


  • 1¾ pounds (800 grams) boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1½-inch (4-cm) cubes
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chile powder or paprika powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ½ cup (125 grams) plain yogurt, drained until thick (see Notes below)
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chile powder or paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoons fresh ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoons fresh garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons refined mustard oil
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • ½ teaspoon chaat masala
  • 2 onions, cut into rings
  • 1 medium lemon, cut into wedges


  1. Put the chicken in a deep bowl.

  2. Place the chile powder, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl, and stir well. Rub this paste onto the chicken cubes so that they are evenly coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to marinate.

  3. Make the marinade: Put the yogurt in a bowl. Stir in the chile powder, salt, ginger paste, garlic paste, lemon juice, garam masala, and mustard oil. Whisk until smooth.

  4. Rub the yogurt mixture into the chicken so that all the cubes are well coated. Cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours to marinate.

  5. Meanwhile, soak some wooden skewers in water. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C.

  6. Thread the chicken cubes onto skewers. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 to 2 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. You can also cook them in a moderately hot tandoor for 10 to 12 minutes. Baste with the butter and cook for 2 minutes more.

  7. Sprinkle with chaat masala and serve with onion rings and lemon wedges.


To get ½ cup (135 grams) drained yogurt, pour ¾ cup (200 grams) plain yogurt into a square of muslin or several layers of cheesecloth, gather up the ends, and tie. Hang until all the water is drained, 30 to 40 minutes.


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