Aromatic tandoori chicken tikka style with fresh mint yogurt. Doesn’t this sound good? Chicken thighs or breasts, whichever you prefer, marinated in 11, count them, 11 herbs and spices. Grill or barbecue and served with fresh mint yogurt. You can even try with some rice or naan bread if you fancy. Yum!
I’ll show you how easy it is to make these beauties in a moment but first a quick word on the difference between tikka and tandoori.
The difference between tikka and tandoori
One would have thought that explaining the difference between tikka and tandoori would be simple. However, it stretches away from just culinary matters and is part of the overall Indian culture. I’m going to stick with the food side here but if you want to read a more detailed description there is a great article here… ▶
From a food standpoint, and in simple terms, the difference between tikka and tandoori is not the recipe. It’s the cooking method and cut of meat. Tandoori cooking tends to use large pieces of meat. The whole chicken or quarters, for example. Further, the meat is traditionally cooked in a tandoor, a type of clay oven. Chicken tikka, on the other hand, uses smaller pieces of chicken threaded onto skewers and grilled.
The actual marinade recipe is generally the same, although there are many local variations. One observation though, and this is just my own view, is that my experience when ordering chicken tikka and tandoori chicken respectively is that tandoori chicken tends to be red in color and chicken tikka browner. I’m sure the recipe is the same so this may simply be the addition of red food coloring for the tandoori chicken, helping us lay Westerners know the difference.
So let’s make this delicious aromatic tandoori chicken tikka style.
1. Make the tandoori chicken tikka marinade
The first task when preparing the tandoori chicken marinade is to gather all of the herbs and spices together. As I mentioned above, there’s 11 in total. The measurements are listed in the printable recipe below but for reference, you will need cumin, coriander (fresh and ground), curry powder, turmeric, fenugreek, sea salt, mint, chili powder, tandoori paste, and ginger and garlic paste.
A quick word on the tandoori paste. This is a shop bought pre-prepared paste and is optional. However, I find it really does add to the flavor and is a great addition. One other benefit is that it eases my conscience a little as it allows me to justify the word “tandoori” in the description 😉. Arguably, apart from the red food coloring and the tandoori paste, this is really a recipe for chicken tikka. Remember, it’s the cooking method that truly denotes the “tikka” or “tandoori” label.
With the herbs and spices gathered the marinade can be made. First, add the herbs and spices to a mixing bowl and add the lemon juice and the olive oil.
Mix this together thoroughly then add a tablespoon of water at a time and mix together until the texture of the marinade is rich and creamy.
With the marinade ready the chicken can be prepared.
2. Prepare the chicken and marinate
Chicken thigh or breast can be used for this aromatic tandoori chicken tikka style. Whichever is chosen, however, the skin and bone must be removed. The skin simply pulls off and, for the breast, the bone will already be removed. If using thighs and they have been bought with the bone in then it’s relatively simple to remove these. There is a good short yet instructional video below that shows how to do this.
Once the bones have been removed then trim any excess fat. The final thighs should look something like this.
Once the chicken is prepared cut in half if thighs and quarters if breast and add to the marinade.
Mix the chicken and marinade together until the chicken is coated all over.
Now, cover the bowl with kitchen film and leave in the fridge to marinate. This will take a minimum of 1 hour but leave overnight if you have the time.
3. Prepare the fresh mint yogurt
While the aromatic tandoori chicken tikka is marinating the fresh mint yogurt can be prepared. This is a very easy recipe and all that’s required is plain natural yogurt, fresh mint, garlic, lemon, and seasoning.
Finely chop the mint leaves and garlic and take the juice from the lemon. From there, add all of the ingredients to a bowl.
Mix the ingredients together and adjust the seasoning to taste. The fresh mint yogurt is now ready. Store in a fridge until needed.
4. Cook the chicken and serve
With the chicken marinated thread the chicken on to metal or wooden skewers. If using wooden skewers then it’s advisable to soak these in water for 30 minutes beforehand.
Now, simply cook on a barbecue or under a standard grill for around 20 minutes. Finally, ensure the skewers are turned every minute or so for even cooking and to stop burning.
And that’s it my spice-loving friends. The taste of Northern India right in your back yard. Fragrant and aromatic tandoori chicken tikka style. A touch spicy but nothing the fresh mint yogurt can’t manage. This really is a delicious recipe. Serve as an appetizer at a curry night or cook a load of them at a summer barbecue. Yum!
I do hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed making, and eating this aromatic tandoori chicken tikka style. To be kept up to date on all of The Yum Yum Club’s recipes sign up for our weekly newsletter at the top of this page. Otherwise, you can follow us on Facebook or Pinterest by simply clicking the link and pressing follow.
As always, many thanks for reading and until next time… Steve.
5. Nutritional values
6. Printable recipe
What a delicious recipe. This version adds extra spices to the chicken tikka for added flavor. Yum!
- 12 chicken thighs or 6 chicken breasts
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp coriander
- 1 tbsp fenegreek
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp mint
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- 1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
- 2 tbsp tandoori paste
- 0.5 lemon
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2/3 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1.5 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
- 1.5 tsp garam masala
- 1.5 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 14 oz passata Metric, 400 grams
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ¼ cups whipping cream Metric, 300 grams
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
The first job is to make the marinade. Gather all of the spices together.
Next, add the spices to a mixing bowl and add the juice of half a lemon and the olive oil.
Mix all of this together and add 1 tbsp of water at a time until the marinade is thick and creamy.
Now, take the chicken thighs and remove any skin and bones.
Cut the thighs in half (quarters if using chicken breast) and place them into the marinade.
Mix the chicken and marinade together until the chicken is fully coated. Place kitchen film on top and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour and overnight if you can.
First, heat the vegetable oil in a skillet. Once hot, add the chicken and, whilst stirring, fry for 3 minutes only. Now, remove from the pan and set aside. The chicken will finish cooking in the sauce.
Using the same pan as used for the chicken add the butter and melt over medium heat. Once melted add the onions and dry for around 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a further one minute.
Now, add the garam masala, cumin, turmeric, and ground coriander. Stir this in and heat through for around 30 seconds.
Now, add the tomato passata, chili powder and salt and simmer for 10-15 minutes on low heat. If the sauce becomes too thick add a little water.
Finally, add the cream and chicken and cook through for another 8-10 minutes until the chicken has cooked through.
And there you have it. Aromatic tandoori chicken tikka masala. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander and serve with basmati rice and naan bread. Yum!