Chicken Tikka Kebabs


Chicken Tikka Kebabs

Recipe Notes

  • Advance Prep: At least 4 hours or as long as overnight for the marinade
  • Method: Direct grilling
  • Equipment: 8-inch bamboo or flat metal skewers


  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs
  • Green Herb Chutney(optional)

For the first marinade:

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and rough-chopped
  • 1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and rough-chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

To finish the marinade:

  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 cup thick plain yogurt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon mace
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted for basting

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Cut the chicken into pieces 1 by 1 by 1/2-inch and place in a nonreactive mixing bowl.

Step 2: Make the marinade: Place the garlic, ginger, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of water in a blender and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender with a spatula. Pour this mixture over the chicken and stir to mix. Marinate the chicken, covered, in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Step 3: Place the saffron in a small bowl with 4 teaspoons hot water. Let soak for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Add the saffron with its water, the yogurt, heavy cream, salt, pepper, cardamom, and mace to the chicken and stir to mix. Marinate the chicken, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or as long as overnight.

Step 5: Thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers through the narrow side so the flat (wide) side faces the fire.

Step 6: If using a tandoor, set it up according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Otherwise, set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. Brush and oil the grill grate.

Step 7: Arrange the chicken kebabs in the tandoor, if using, or on the grill grate and grill until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. The last 2 minutes, baste the kebabs with melted butter (if using).

Step 8: Carefully remove the chicken from the skewers and serve at once. (If you do not remove the chicken from the skewers for serving, remind your guests that the skewers will be very hot.)