Tandoori Chicken Tikka or Murgh Tikka is a popular North Indian starter, where marinated chicken is grilled until perfection. This authentic snack recipe is great to make for parties or get-togethers and it comes together in under 10 minutes. Make it in an oven, stovetop, air fryer, or outdoor grill using my simple recipe.
What is Chicken Tikka?
An absolute lip-smacking North Indian Starter that will make you fall in love with it, with the first bite itself. Yes, I am talking about none other than Chicken Tikka. Tikka came from the Turkish word ‘Tike’ which means ‘Pieces’
Chicken Tikka is a popular chicken starter where boneless chicken pieces are marinated with yogurt and spice and then grilled to perfection. This Indian Barbecue Chicken recipe is everyone’s favorite and is a part of the menu of every Indian restaurant.
It was traditionally made in a clay oven also called ‘Tandoor’. But you can make it in an oven, microwave, air fryer, or outdoor grill.
Tandoori Murgh Tikka is so popular due to its juicy texture and flavors which come from two marinades. Yes, you read that right! Before grilling, Chicken is marinated with two marinades one by one, so that it soaks up all the flavor goodness and gives us scrumptious results.
The ginger garlic marination and yogurt marination makes the Chicken juicy and flavourful and also tenderizes the meat without using any chemical tenderizer.
I always used to enjoy Murgh Tikka in North Indian restaurants, but since the day I have tried making it home, I have never looked back, because the homemade tikka is the real deal guys and so much healthier.
The homemade version is free of artificial colors and the rustic and smoky flavor from the grilling is just mind-blowing. I am actually craving for this right now, writing about it.
Want more smokiness? Then give this Chicken Tikka an extra smoky effect by using the coal technique, which makes it, even more, lip-smackingly good.
This Restaurant Style Murgh Tikka is,
- Absolutely delicious
- Rich in Protein
- Juicy and Spicy
- Perfect for party appetisers
Chicken Tikka vs Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken Tikka is chicken pieces marinated and then grilled. It is a dry dish which can be served as an appetizer or snack. Chicken Tikka Masala on the other hand is Chicken Tikka simmered in an onion-tomato based gravy. It is served as a side dish along with Indian bread like Naan or Lachha Paratha.
Chicken – I have used boneless chicken but you can use thighs too.
First Marinade – This is a simple mixture of salt, ginger garlic paste, and lemon juice. This mixture is kept aside for 3 to 4 hours so that the chicken becomes tender.
Second Marinade – Next, the chicken is marinated with hung yogurt (Greek Yogurt), cornflour, mustard oil, tandoori masala, Kashmiri red chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, and black pepper powder.
To make hung yogurt, add the yogurt in a strainer and let it sit for an hour until the liquid is drained and it is thick and creamy.
I have used Kashmiri red chilli powders, as it gives a nice colour without making it too spicy. But if you want it to be spicy, then you can add in a little regular red chilli powder too.
Mustard oil gives a very peculiar flavor to the tikka. But feel free to add any oil of your choice.
When it comes to Tandoori masala, you can either make it at home from scratch or use a store-bought one.
Skewers – Try to use metal skewers to thread the chicken pieces. They get hot and cook the chicken from inside as well. Make sure to handle them using a tong or a glove. If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before threading the chicken otherwise they will get burned.
How to Make Chicken Tikka?
Add the ingredients for the first marinade in a bowl and mix well.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight. Add the ingredients for the second marinade in the bowl and mix well.
Keep the marinated chicken aside for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Thread the marinated chicken in the skewers along with onion and capsicum. Line the skewers on a foil lined baking tray. Grill for 10-12 minutes and then rotate the skewers.
Grill for another 10-12 minutes.
Increase the oven temperature to 420 Degrees F and broil the skewers for 3-4 minutes until they are slightly charred. Remove the tikka from the oven. Serve the tikka hot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Making it in the Microwave is an easy process. Once you have marinated the chicken, thread chicken, bell pepper, and onion alternatively onto skewers.
Preheat your microwave to the highest temperature at 400 F. Place the skewers on the grill pan in your microwave and put a tray underneath to catch drippings, so that your microwave doesn’t become dirty with all the drippings from the tikka.
Cook till the chicken is nicely grilled and turns brown from all the sides. Turn them around in between and apply some butter to get even color on the tikka.
Cooking this chicken starter from all the sides will take about 30 minutes.
Traditionally, Tikka was made in Tandoor, but you can also make it in a frying pan.
Just add a little oil to the frying pan and place the chicken skewers on it.
Cook from one side till it’s nice and brown. Brush some more butter and flip it to the other side and cook it evenly till the chicken is cooked properly.
Now just roast the skewers over direct heat for a few seconds on each side to get that slightly burned flavor. Sprinkle lemon juice and chaat masala over it and serve.
Add the grilled tikkas on whole wheat or all-purpose flour Roti/Paratha and top it with some green chutney, hung yogurt, sliced onions and tomatoes, chaat masala powder, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
The only difference between both of them is the size of the meat. While Tikka uses small pieces of boneless meat speared by a skewer and grilled, in Tandoori, big pieces of chicken with the bone are used. Sometimes, there are different sets of spices used too to marinade the chicken in both the recipes.
Live the drip tray of the fryer with aluminium foil. Place the marinated chicken pieces in the basket in a single layer. Air fry at 400 Degrees F for 6-8 minutes. Flip and spray with oil or butter and air fry for another 6-8 minutes until the chicken is cooked and slightly charred.
Pro Tips By Neha
Cut the chicken into even pieces and pat the chicken pieces dry using a kitchen towel before marinating them.
If using chicken thighs, reduce the grilling time a bit. Thighs cook faster than breast.
Use only greek yogurt or hung yogurt to marinate the Chicken. If you use normal curd or yogurt, it will leave the water and ruin the Tikkas. The marinade with not stick to the pieces if the yogurt is runny.
Usually, restaurants add red food color to give it a nice bright red color, but I won’t recommend it. You can use Kashmiri red chili powder, for natural red color.
The more you marinate, the juicy your tikka will turn out to be. Therefore, I like to keep the second marinade overnight.
Keep brushing the chicken with butter while grilling for a juicy, succulent tikka.
I have added onion and capsicum along with the marinated chicken but you can other veggies too like mushrooms, zucchini, baby corn, etc.
For an added smoky flavour, smoke the Tikkas using Dungar method.
Do not add too much of Garam Masala, as it might leave a bitter taste in the Tikkas.
Make it dairy-free, by simply substituting hung yogurt with Vegan Greek Yogurt and you are all set.
This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.
I like to make a wrap by placing the tikka in a wrap along with garlic dip and sliced onion.
Do not forget to sprinkle some lemon juice and chaat masala over it.
You can marinate the chicken and store it in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days. Once you want to serve it, grill it, and serve fresh. This is a great idea if you are planning to make it for a large crowd. You can make Murgh Tikka ahead of time so that it saves up your time during the occasion.
You can freeze the marinated chicken as well. Once ready to serve, thaw for a few hours over the counter, grill, and serve.
If you have ready tikka leftover, you can put them in a yummy curry and make chicken tikka masala.
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Chicken Tikka Recipe
- 750 g Boneless Chicken (Cut into thin slices)
For First Marinade:
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 2 teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste
- 2 tablespoon Lemon Juice
For Second Marinade:
- 3 tablespoon Hung Yogurt
- 1 tablespoon Cornstarch
- 4 tablespoon Mustard Oil
- 1 tablespoon Tandoori Masala
- 3 teaspoon Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- ½ teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper Powder
- 1 Piece of Charcoal
- 1 teaspoon Ghee
- 10-12 Skewers
- 1 cup Onion (Cut into cubes)
- 1 cup Capsicum (Cut into cubes)
- Add the ingredients for the first marinade in a bowl and mix well.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight.
- Add the ingredients for the second marinade in the bowl and mix well.
- Keep the marinated chicken aside for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- Thread the marinated chicken in the skewers along with onion and capsicum.
- Line the skewers on a foil lined baking tray.
- Grill for 10-12 minutes and then rotate the skewers.
- Grill for another 10-12 minutes.
- Increase the oven temperature to 420 Degrees F and broil the skewers for 3-4 minutes until they are slightly charred.
- Remove the tikka from the oven.
- If you want the smoky flavour, heat the coal over direct heat until red hot.
- Keep the tikka in a shallow bowl.
- Keep a piece of aluminium foil over the tikka and keep the hot coal over the foil.
- Drizzle ghee over the coal and cover the lid of the bowl immediately.
- Let the tikka absorb the smoke for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the lid and discard the coal piece and foil. Serve the tikka hot.