International cooking for the youthful malcontent.

Chicken Tikka Kebab

Chicken Tikka Kebab

This recipe is basically an expanded, standalone version of the basic chicken skewer portion of my Chicken Tikka Masala. Tikka, in general, refers to a cut of meat marinated in yogurt and spices. That’s the clinical explanation, anyway. What we have here are pieces of tender, roasted chicken pieces with healthy doses of garlic and ginger, spiced with a rich, cinnamon-spiked blend of aromatic spices and coloured with red Kashmiri chili powder, yellow turmeric, and saffron-like mace.

Once again, I’m using my charcoal grill for this. I’d print oven instructions, but for this recipe, it’s worth seeking out a way to properly grill these. Sometimes, half-measures are not acceptable. This is one of those times.

Bear in mind I am asking for this mixture to be marinated overnight, so plan ahead!


  • 6 chicken thighs, cut into 1-2″ pieces
  • 4-6 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I actually used one entire 175 ml cup of plain yogurt)
  • 2 tsp garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, finely minced
  • 2 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2  tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 blade of mace (optional)

Serve with: naan or other Indian flatbreads

What you will need: medium mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons, knife and cutting board, spice grinder (or mortar and pestle, etc), grill (with charcoal and tongs), plastic wrap


1. In the mixing bowl, add the yogurt, garlic and ginger.

2. In the spice grinder, add the coriander and cumin seeds, Kashmiri chili powder, salt, garam masala, turmeric and the blade of mace. Process the spices until they’re relatively fine and evenly mixed. This will only take about 5-10 seconds in the grinder, or about 10 solid minutes of hard work using a mortar and pestle. Don’t you want a spice grinder now?

3. Mix the spices evenly into the yogurt mixture.

4. Add the chicken pieces into the marinade and mix them evenly as well.

5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it into the fridge and let it sit overnight. Yogurt tenderizes the chicken, and the flavours will blend given time. You can rush the marinating process into just a few hours, but the texture will be different and the flavours not as rich.

6. Once you’re ready to go, soak the bamboo skewers in water, and prepare your grill. Remove the marinade bowl from the fridge and slide the chicken pieces onto the skewers (see above photo). Keep these on a plate so we can transfer them to the grill easily.

7. Grill the chicken skewers! These should take about 5-8 minutes per side, but the time will vary depending on your grilling method. I’m using charcoal, and I have no way to measure the heat of my coals. My skewers took a bit on the long side, perhaps because my coals were cooling off. Just remember to check the meat pieces near their middles – the meat should not be pink and the juices should run clear (this means the juice looks like greasy water – and won’t be a pink hue). It may be hard to tell with these skewers, because the yogurt-marinade will result in cooked chicken pieces that are still deceptively soft (which you may mistake for raw chicken). The safest way to check then, is to simply remove a piece from a skewer and cut it open – the middle should be white.

8. Once they’re done, remove them from the grill and serve immediately!

6 responses

  1. I am so going to try this recipie and your naan bread recipie, I love your blog. Thankyou.

    May 4, 2010 at 3:04 pm

  2. I just randomly picked a post to comment on in order thank you. So: thank you. (this stuff looks/sounds very good, by the way)

    May 5, 2010 at 4:27 pm

  3. hoppy

    Just discovered your blog today, and I really enjoyed looking through the posts. Can’t wait to try some new things!

    I am not shrinking away from full=fat yogurt, but I am curious if the fat content of the yogurt makes a difference in the end product-any insight?

    May 5, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    • When it comes to yogurt, I always use Balkan-style (6% MF) plain yogurt, which is definitely not the low-fat kind. 🙂 I like it in Indian recipes because dahi (yogurt in India) is described as ‘thick’ – and that thickness is ideal for cooking because the marinade will stick to the meat much better.

      After a night marinating, any yogurt will thin out a bit (from what I can tell), so it’s better to start with the thickest yogurt you can get. Low-fat yogurt might turn into soup under the same conditions, and if the yogurt doesn’t hold some solidity, then you might lose a lot of flavour… don’t quote me on that, it’s only a mildly-educated guess. Cheers!

      May 5, 2010 at 8:37 pm

  4. Rita

    Just discovered your site and I’m totally in awe! Bookmarking it and will definitely try all your recipes 🙂

    May 5, 2010 at 11:44 pm

  5. Pingback: My Recipe Box – Incomplete version. «

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