Chicken Tikka

Chicken Tikka
Stove top method
Tikka in a wrap

We all have our personal recipes that have been handed down or used for years that are very dear and personal to us as family recipes.
Sometimes it’s hard to part with a recipe that is quite unique but at the same time the results produced is so great you want to share it with others to enjoy.

After many years of having my own little private stash of recipes and methods I’m finally at a place where I feel I want to share those recipes. Mostly for my girls to enjoy, but also for others to try as well.

This is my method for cooking chicken tikka without the oven or BBQ. It’s been stripped away of unnecessary endless ingredients so it’s more appealing to make and not a task.

The early years I always struggled with the amount of liquid released from making chicken tikka whilst grilling and quite often I used to think that my meat was dry.  So I’ve changed the way I cook the tikka in order to address this.

This particular recipe does not require a grill or oven, rather ordinary gas stove does the job. It’s certainly quicker, less messy, less washing up and in my opinion not compromising much on the taste but resulting in really lovely tikka with that beautiful Tandoor taste and flavour by charcoal smoking.

Smoking food at home, using hot charcoal is a super easy method to achieve the tandoori effect right in your own kitchen. This method lends that smoky flavour usually obtained by cooking in a tandoor, with as little as a piece of coal. Using this technique of coal smoking, you will get the taste and aroma that the food has just come out of the barbecue grill or a tandoor, without the hassle of firing up a tandoor or barbecue at home. You can do this right on your stove top.

By all means if you want to use your oven or grill please feel free to do so.
Although I do think you will benefit from having juicier, moist and tender chicken done on the stovetop as you will see.

The only compromise would be to use these on a barbecue where they should be amazing if well basted and cooked for the appropriate time depending on your heat, height of your BBQ rack and size of your chicken pieces.
I would suggest however you try the stovetop method and see for yourself how yummy they can be.

If you don’t have black salt leave it out! I like aroma of sulphide so use it in many seasonings but it adds a little nuance I think.

The besan add a lovely coating to the tikka and something to adhere to the chicken. It will also help absorb water.

Marinate this the day before and trust me you won’t regret it because it does make a huge difference in the taste and how tender your resulting chicken tikka will be.


Thick yogurt, preferably hung in a muslin cloth to get rid of the water content
I used 4 chicken breasts. From asian stores they are always large and contrary to what some may claim not injected with water to bulk up as I would find this out when cooking!
I have left them as I have cut into them. I try get 7 peices out of a large breast.
Try to keep the sizes similar for even cooking

1 kg boneless chicken breasts. Roughly 7 pieces from a breast or 4 from thighs.
300g thick or hung yogurt till water has run out.

Stage 1

3 tbsp of garlic and ginger paste
1 tbsp mustard oil
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp Tandoori Masala (Rajah brand)
1 tbsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of garam masala
1 tsp chilli powder                                  1 tsp roasted cumin powder
1/2 tsp of black salt (got smoky taste)
1 tsp of black pepper
1 tbsp of dried methi leaves crushed
1 tsp of chat masala

In a bowl add mustard oil, Tandoori masala, salt and yogurt. Combine this together then add your chicken and mix well. Leave this for about 30 mins as it will help the chicken develop that colour. Some days I just stick the chicken in without the yogurt for a few hours for the colour to take…whats the rush? But for convenience here add the yogurt.

Salt, mustard oil and Tandoori masala
Add yogurt and chicken then mix well.
leave aside for a short while

Approx 30mins later add the garlic and ginger paste, coriander powder, garam masala, chilli powder, roasted cumin powder, black salt, black pepper, crushed dried methi leaves and chaat masala.

Mix this all thoroughly ensuring that all the chicken pieces are well covered.

Stage 2

4 tbsp veg oil
3 tbsp Besan (Gram flour)
2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

In a pan add 4 tablespoons of veg oil and heat this up really well.

Next add 3 tablespoons of besan and fry this until it foams and froths up for about a minute.

Next add the 2 teaspoons of Kashmiri chilli powder, switch off the heat and stir vigorously to incorporate.

Add this mixture to the chicken and yogurt marinade.

Now in the bowl place a piece of foil on top of your chicken.

Burn a piece of cinnamon bark until its well scorched or a piece of burning charcoal. Place this on top of the foil.

To this add a little bit of oil or ghee and immediately cover with clingfilm to smoke the chicken for at least half an hour.

After smoking, marinade this chicken tikka mix preferably overnight. I just tend to leave it overnight to smoke.

Too Cook.

So the next day when you lift the clingfilm, well, if only you could smell the aroma, it is absolutely stunning! Makes me catch my breath everytime! Discard the cinnamon and foil. Give the mix a stir.

Day after, the aroma is unbelievable!

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and place your tikka pieces packed tightly and cook over medium/high heat covered for five minutes do not lift the lid.

After the five minutes quickly turn the pieces over and again cover and cook for another further three minutes. You’ll see a small amount of liquid in the pan but do not worry as this liquid will help steam and cook your chicken.

In total you should cook it for no more than eight minutes.

Remove the tikka pieces from the pan into a bowl, ensure you take all the remaining bits in the pan and put it into the bowl.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and pour this onto the chicken coating the chicken well while hot and let it sit for a few minutes to rest.

To finish:

Skewer the chicken pieces, keep them slightly apart to allow for last stage. I tend to do them all and balance on baking tray.

and hold over a naked flame to just char the pieces for flavour before you serve on a plate. This method is quick, it gives that true charred and smokey flavour and does not dry the chicken out leaving it juicy and tender.

You can char in a hot grill if you prefer but be careful not to dry them out.

As with all Tikka and Tandoori serve with squeeze of fresh lemon, refreshing salad and a cool mint sauce!


I added some paneer chunks to the marinade…In order to get maximum flavour into them I poked a cocktail stick all over and added them to the marinade before smoking.

Use cocktail stick to prick deep holes all over

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Papster! Two things, I love the photographs showing what out should all look like, but is there any way you could add a button for printing that only gives me the receipe?
    Thing 2
    I intend to BBQ my tikka. will I need to fry it first and finish it off on the BBQ or could I safely cook it over the coals
    Oh and 3 If I am BBQ can I leave out the smoked cinnamon bit or does it make everything taste better?

    Keep up the very good work. You are a star, my dear!

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