Simple recipes to ace the tikka at home

10 March,2023 10:09 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Sammohinee Ghosh

With the tikka bagging the 23rd position on a recent list of 50 best street foods announced by a popular global platform, we source expert tips to master the dish at home

Murg aamras tikka

Our heart swells with pride to find Indian dishes feature on global lists. When travel and food platform Taste Atlas released their 50 best street food picks, we spotted the Indian flag on the catalogue four fabulous times. The tiny flag symbol highlighted dishes such as tikka, dosa, chhole bhature and Amritsari kulcha. With tikka opening the series for home-baked spices, chef consultant Reetu Uday Kugaji shares the 101 to making a mean chicken tikka at home.

Cook to perfection

1 Pat-drying the chicken before marinating it, is an important step. The process will help you get rid of excess moisture. Marination makes the meat tender, enhances the flavours of the dish, and also acts as a natural preservative.

Methi malai tikka

2 Use boneless and skinless chicken thighs. Avoid using chicken breasts as they tend to become chewy.

3 For the OG chicken tikka recipe, follow a two-round marination process. The first round makes the chicken pieces juicier. It ensures that on grilling, the pieces don't turn up dry. The second round imparts flavour to the dish. So, if you want tender tikkas, don't go for shortcuts.

4 Never use chemical preservatives and colours in a tikka recipe. Even food-grade colours should be avoided. Instead,
use deggi mirch or Kashmiri red chilli powder.

5 Make sure that the marinade is not watery. A runny marinade won't coat well around the meat chunks. The curd that goes into the marinade can be placed in a food-grade, unbleached muslin cloth. Tie the cloth tightly and hang it for two to three hours. The curd will acquire a creamy texture, which will combine well with the chicken pieces.

6 Let the chicken rest overnight so that it remains tender and aromatic. Use a glass bowl - and no steel, ceramic or metalware - to store it in the fridge.

7 To make every bite succulent, drizzle cooking oil over the skewered meat. Basting the chicken with mustard oil keeps it moist.

8 Use metal skewers for the tikka as they quickly absorb heat and let the chicken cook evenly on the inside. In case you are using bamboo skewers, remember to soak them in water for 30 minutes. Otherwise, they might get burnt in the process of grilling the tikka.

Murg aamras tikka

Preparation time | 25 minutes
Marination time | Cover the bowl with cling wrap and marinate overnight (or, at least for four hours) in a refrigerator
Oven temperature | 415˚F
Grill time | 20 minutes
Serves | Four

Reetu Uday Kugaji

>> 500 gm boneless chicken thigh without skin cut into two-inch pieces

For the marinade
>> 150 ml alphonso mango puree
>> 1/4 tbsp ginger paste
>> 1/4 tbsp garlic paste
>> 1/2 tsp organic honey
>> 1/4 gm broiled saffron strands
>> 1 tsp fresh basil leaves
>> 1/4 tsp grated lemon zest
>> 1 tsp almond paste (blanched and peeled)
>> 1/2 cup hung curd
>> 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
>> 1/2 tsp mace powder
>> Salt to taste
>> 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (for basting the chicken pieces)

For the garnish
>> 1 tsp chopped fresh mint leaves
>> 1 tsp lemon juice

Clean and wash the chicken pieces thoroughly. Now, pat-dry the pieces using a paper kitchen towel to remove excess moisture in them. Take a big glass bowl and mix the ingredients with the chicken pieces. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight. Take the bowl out of the refrigerator 25 minutes ahead of the grilling process. Preheat the oven at 415˚F in grill mode for 10 minutes. Layer an aluminium foil sheet atop a baking sheet. String the chicken pieces to the skewer rods. Place the sheets with the skewers on the top rack of the oven for 10 minutes. After some time, drizzle the remaining marinade, along with some virgin olive oil over the chicken pieces. Once done, turn the skewer rods over and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve the tikkas hot after garnishing the dish with mint leaves and lemon juice. It goes well with a mint-coriander-yogurt dip.

The Guide's top 4 picks

>> Bademiya
At: Botawala Building, Horniman Circle, Fort
Call: 22655657

>> Lamba Restaurant and Bar
At: 15/16, Chhadva Apartments, Sion, Chembur
Call: 25222878

>> Kakori House
At: Lady Jamshedji Road, Mahim
Call: 9322390269

>> Pritam da Dhaba
At: 1, Swami Ganjivandas Marg, Dadar East
Call: 43449999

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