Chicken tikka is the quintessential appetizer in of all Indian restaurants all over the globe. Whether it’s a restaurant in Bangalore or in Belgium, chicken tikka will always be there in the menu. I have had my fair share of chicken tikka kebabs in restaurants all over the place. Most of them I found were either too dry or too bland. So, I tried experimenting on the best way to cook this oh-so-important appetizer.
After a lot of tries with various store bought dry tikka masala, and failing almost every time, I took the matter pretty seriously. So, this time I made the masala paste from scratch. And, just to give it that oomph I added some Sriracha and carom seeds to it. Yes, you heard it right, I added the very Chinese sauce to this very Indian recipe, but the result was just fabulous. The heat of the Sriracha mixed with the carom seeds gave it a much better taste.
Kebab is a very Middle Eastern dish, but like all other Middle Eastern recipes, kebabs also got included in the Indian menu as a part of Mughlai cuisine. Kebabs are generally cooked in open fires, in a charcoal grill. The charcoal gives it a smoky taste, and probably enhances the flavor (I have tried chicken tikka kebabs in stovetop, oven and charcoal grill; but the last one turned out to be the best).
And, here’s another recipe to add to the what to cook for Rakhi series
2 lbs chicken thighs
2 tablespoon grated green papaya
2 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ cup onion paste
2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
½ cup greek yogurt
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoon mustard oil
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 tablespoon carom seeds
Salt to taste
Clean the chicken thighs, and trim off the extra fat. Cut into 2 inch size pieces, and keep aside
In a nonstick frying pan, heat the oil, add the onion paste and fry till the onion starts changing color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the green papaya, ginger garlic paste, and tomato paste. Fry till the oil starts to come out of the paste, about 3 minutes.
Add all the dry powder and season with salt. This paste you can make ahead, and store in the fridge for upto 3 days.
In a large glass bowl add the cooked masala paste, yogurt sriracha and carom seeds and mix everything together evenly. Now add the chicken pieces to this paste and gently toss so that the chicken pieces gets covered fully in the masala. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for marinating for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight
When you are ready to cook, take out the chicken and bring to normal temperature about an hour before.
You can cook the kebab in stovetop, oven or charcoal grill –
For stovetop cooking –
Heat a shallow pan and lightly grease with oil or cooking spray, lay down the chicken pieces on the pan, make sure all the pieces touch the bottom of the pan, if you have more chicken, then fry in batches. Cook each side for about 2 minutes or till the chicken is cooked through.
For roasting in the oven-
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C), line a cookie sheet with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray. Thread the chicken pieces in skewers, 6 pieces if you are using the long skewers and 2 pieces each if using the smaller ones. Place the skewers on the cookie sheet and baste with melted butter or oil. Grill for 20 minutes, turning and basting once in between
Turn on the broiler and broil for about 3 minutes or till the edges start to char
For grilling on charcoal grill-
Thread the chicken pieces in skewers, and grill on an open grill basting with oil on each side. Grill each side for about 5-7 minutes or till the chicken is cooked through
Serve immediately with freshly cut onion rings and raita
Chef’s Tips – If you are using skewers for grilling the kebabs, then soak in water the skewers for at least 2 hours before using, else the skewers will catch fire and burn before the chicken is cooked through