Chicken Tikka

Chicken Tikka

Here is another recipe from my Indian cooking crash course with my future mum-in-law : Chicken Tikka!  This dish is always our go-to when ordering Indian takeaway and I was pleasantly surprised to learn how simple this recipe is to make at home.

A couple of disclaimers: I recorded this recipe just as Mum cooked it in my kitchen.  Some of the ingredients used may not be “traditional” (aka the use of Sriracha) primarily because my kitchen pantry did not have some spices she needed, but luckily she made a lot of substitutes work.  We had tried the Sriracha in place of Indian red food coloring powder, but the resulting chicken tikka still lacked that characteristic bright red color hue.   Apparently you can also amp up the paprika and turmeric until the marinade turns red, but I was not too fussed about getting that particular aesthetic right.  In the end, I just love adding Sriracha to everything so it stayed in the final recipe!

We served this delicious Indian-style chicken BBQ with a side of plain yogurt, Kachumba (essentially Indian-style pico de gallo with cucumber), Spiced Okra, Spicy Grilled Shrimp, and Indian-Style Basmati Rice.

indian style BBQ

Chicken Tikka

Yields: 5-6 servings


  • 10 bone-in chicken thighs, deskinned
  • 16 oz whole milk yogurt
  • 10 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 T ginger, minced
  • 1/4 of a red onion, grated
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds, toasted and then ground with a mortar and pestle
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground all spice
  • 1/2 tsp Sriracha
  • 1/2 lime, juiced (add more if the yougurt does not taste sharp enough)
  • salt to taste
  • Indian red food coloring powder (or a LOT of paprika)
  • Garnish: Handful of cilantro, rough chopped
  • Garnish: 1 lemon, sliced into wedges


Regarding the cumin, you can use just 2 tsp of ground cumin.  However, for best results, try doing half with toasted ground cumin: toast whole cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant.  Remove from heat and grind with a mortar and pestle.

toasted ground cumin

In a large bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients together: yogurt, crushed garlic, minced ginger, grated red onion, ground coriander, toasted ground cumin, turmeric, chili powder, ground all spice, Sriracha, lime juice, and red food coloring powder / or paprika.  Add salt to taste.

tikka marinade

Using a sharp knife, make several shallow slashes in each chicken thigh.  Add the chicken thighs to the marinade and stir gently to coat.  Allow the chicken to marinate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat the grill to medium high heat.  Remove the chicken from the marinade and wipe off any excess.  Cook the thighs about 8-10 minutes on each side until nicely charred.

Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the chicken pieces and then garnish with chopped cilantro.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

garnish chicken with lemon and cilantro


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