For the last serving in our ‘Indian-inspired Grills and Kebab Series’, we will explore the most popular and well known Indian kebab, ‘Chicken Tikka’. As always, we’ve added an interesting ingredient to ramp up the flavors…read on to find out.
The ‘Kebab scene’ in India is vibrant and colorful…and simply delicious.
Popular classics like the spiced bite-sized tandoor-cooked Chicken Tikka, the chunky Chicken Drumsticks ‘Tangdi’ Kebab and the decadent Minced Lamb ‘Seekh’ Kebab remain well-loved and unchanged…as do delicious vegetarian favorites like the Cottage cheese ‘Paneer’ Tikka and the Mashed Potatoes ‘Aloo’ Tikki.
Indian chefs are adding lesser known kebabs and more interesting flavor combinations to the mix every day. Seen growing widely popular are the melt-in-your-mouth finely minced Lamb & Lentils ‘Galouti’ Kebab and the Green ‘Haryali’ Chicken or Cottage cheese Kebab…And let’s not forget the more docile cream-marinated ‘Malai’ Chicken Tikka and Broccoli & Cauliflower Kebabs.
‘Tikka’ or ‘Tikki’ are words used to denote bite size pieces of meat/vegetables cooked in a tandoor. It’s interesting to know that the concept of Chicken Tikka as a kebab is more common to the Western world. Back in India, Chicken Tikka’s final destination is in curry style preparations like the tomato-based Chicken Tikka Lababdar or Chicken Tikka Masala and rice preparations like Chicken Tikka Biryani.
Now that I have you salivating over Indian kebab, we are ready to present our mint-flavored twist on the classic Chicken Tikka…it’s a unique and interesting flavor combination served with our healthy and simple home-fries style Roasted Mint-Cumin Potatoes
The Classic Chicken Tikka
1 lb skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
2 tablespoons lime/lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste (or 2 cloves garlic, minced-1/2 inch ginger, grated)
1 tablespoon thick yogurt (Greek-style yogurt preferred)
1 teaspoon tomato paste
2 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped
¼ teaspoon ground red chili/ cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon smoked paprika (this is less spicy & more natural color)
¼ teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
Put the chicken pieces in a bowl and add the lime/lemon juice and salt to it. Let it stand for 10-15 minutes for the chicken to tenderize.
Next, add all the marinade ingredients to the chicken and mix them in, preferably using your clean hands. Cover and let the chicken marinade for 4-6 hours or more in the refrigerator.
Preheat a gas grill to 450F and grease the grates well (if you’ve got a kebab stand for the grill, this is the time to use it.) Skewer the meat on well-oiled metal or pre-soaked wooden skewers; space the chicken pieces out, don’t let them stick together. Cook the chicken tikka for 10-12 minutes turning once, the only way to check if the tikka are cooked is when they get a char on the outside and a plump juicy look.
Two great alternative cooking methods are on the griddle pan or convection oven. Stove-top: Heat a well-oiled griddle pan and cook the tikka on all sides to get a uniform char. Oven: Cook the Tikka at 425F for 15-18 minutes on a baking sheet with a metal rack (the chicken gets soggy if placed directly on a sheet pan,) roasting them evenly on all side.
Squeeze lemon juice over the Chicken Tikka while they are still hot, cover and let them stand for 5 minutes so the chicken retains its juices. Serve hot with our Cilantro-Yogurt Chutney and these delicious home-fries style Roasted Mint-Cumin Potatoes.
Roasted Mint-Cumin Potatoes
2 lbs potatoes cut into long 1 inch thick strips
½ teaspoon each, salt & black pepper (to taste)
¼ cup Olive Oil
2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
In a small bowl, mix the olive oil along with chopped mint and cumin seeds. Cover and leave aside at room temperature for as long as you can (5-6 hours is ideal.)
Preheat the oven to 425F. Lay the potatoes on a sheet pan and sprinkle salt/pepper over them. Drizzle enough mint and cumin oil to coat all the potatoes, mix them with your hands if required. Roast the potatoes for 35 minutes. They should have a nice golden crust on them. Serve hot along with the Chicken Tikka or as a side to any meat, fish or vegetable.
Accompaniments and serving suggestions
- This delicious and easy Turkish Gavurdagi Salad of ripe tomatoes, onion, parsley and walnuts from Ozlem’s Turkish table is an ideal summer side for our Chicken Tikka.
- A plate with Chicken Tikka, Yellow Daal (Lentils) and Tandoori Naan is a picture of gastronomic perfection.
- And as always, I suggest grabbing a glass of chilled beer anytime you see a ‘Kebab’ around you. Cheers!
Thank you, to all our readers; for making ‘The Indian-inspired Grills and Kebab Series’ an amazing success.