Am I about to divulge my closely guarded chicken tikka recipe?
*sigh* I guess so…it’s not really too much of a secret since it can be made with (about) three ingredients. What do I mean? Please keep reading… I know there are some people that think taking shortcuts is not authentic. Using products that can make your life easier isn’t really fascinating to read. But guys! I’m not here to show you how to make beetroot pasta cooked in a coconut curry foam sauce, that’s not the food that I eat on a daily basis, so it would be impractical for me to pretend that is my life. It’s not even close. I’m hoping you’re like me and like easy and delicious recipes. Here’s one of my most made dishes…
To make chicken tikka, you’ll first need 1 cup of greek yogurt. You can find my recipe for that here.
Next, you’ll need six boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I have tried this recipe with every kind of chicken meat and the boneless skinless chicken thighs works out the best for me. With any bone-in meat, you’ll need to cook it longer, and the beauty of 1-2-3 chicken tikka is that other than the marinade time, it’s quick to cook.
You’ll also need a box of Shan Chicken Tikka Masala and a box of Shan Tandoori Chicken Masala. You can buy them on the Amazon links provided or for 99 cents at your local Indian store. Most major grocery store chains (like Shopper’s in DC) carry Shan as well.
That’s right guys, my secret to delicious chicken tikka is that I don’t mix the masala myself. I never have. *lowers head in shame* Why would I reinvent the wheel? I’m sure there is an amazing home blended tikka concoction, but until I configure that to taste better than what I can get out of a 99 cent box, I’ll continue with perfection. And hey, it’s quick! I don’t need to take out anything else – no salt, pepper, masala daba – nothing! Rejoice!
Mix three tablespoons of Shan chicken tikka masala, three tablespoons of Shan tandoori chicken masala, and two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice with the yogurt. Note: this dish has some heat to it, to make a milder version use only two tablespoons of each Shan masala packet. The swirls look like a galaxy of tikka masala madness. It just looked too cool not to share. Carrying on… Marinade the chicken in the yogurt-masala mixture for one to 24 hours. I usually marinade it overnight and cook for lunch or dinner. The yogurt will help tenderize the meat so the longer you marinade the more tasty the chicken will be. Although chicken thighs in general are way more juicy than chicken breast to begin with – dark meat for the win.
After a day of marinading you’ll need to find or buy this trusty contraption…
It’s a broiler pan. Have you used the broiler in your oven yet? It’s basically an upside down grill. You can grill anything very close to the element on top and get the beautiful high heat and charring that you would with a gas grill. As a lady that grills, I can assure you 100% of the time that nothing tastes as amazing as it would on a charcoal lit grill. I had a Weber grill before I moved to Washington and I adored it. I made this exact chicken recipe at my house once and gave some to my mom who served it to her friends the next day. They asked her where she catered the food. Guys, that’s hilarious to me! Aunties thought my food was catered – honestly it was because of the smoky yumminess that comes from the labor intensive charcoal grill. It makes all the difference in the world, so if you are skilled in that department, skip all of this and toss it on the grill and enjoy life. Can you tell I love and miss my charcoal grill? Back to topic, Rehana.
The broiler pan is one of my most used pans in the kitchen. Because I grill often (my grill pan is great, but it can’t replace the charring that an indirect heating element gives) I have learned that the easiest way to clean up afterwards is to minimize the mess beforehand. Therefore, I highly recommend you do what I do and line the bottom of your broiler pan with aluminum foil. Why clean two pans when you only have to clean one? Next, you’ll want to set your oven to broil, or 550 degrees Fahrenheit. Please don’t do this until you’ve cleaned your oven. I show you how here. Take your chicken out of the fridge and let it rest at room temperature for thirty minutes or while the oven is heating up. This is a critical step for cooking any meat. You don’t want to shock your meat from temperature extremes but would rather cook it at a more relaxed temperature. This will help with even cooking. After thirty minutes, place the chicken pieces on the broiler pan one-inch apart. You don’t need to add any of the extra marinade on top, it’s done its job. We thank it for coming to the party. You’ll also want to give the chicken room to cook all around with even heat so don’t pack it on like sardines.
Now spray the chicken lightly with cooking spray and when the oven is pre-heated, place on the second from the top rack about four inches away from the cooking element on top. You’ll want to cook your chicken for five minutes then take the pan out of the oven, flip the chicken, spray with cooking spray on the other side, and cook for another four to five minutes. You’ll want to keep an eye on this, it does go by quickly and you don’t want your chicken to burn! Here’s the first side after five minutes… Now the second side… Voila! You’ve now made chicken tikka. Like with any meat dish I cook, take the internal temperature with a digital instant read thermometer. I have had my trusty one for over five years now, I can’t find the exact one I use, but if mine broke I would buy this one from OXO next. Check for the internal temperature of the chicken to be 160 degrees Fahrenehit. The chicken will carry-over cook about five degrees, so don’t freak out if it’s at 156 only. Just because we took it out of the hot oven doesn’t mean the chicken still isn’t piping hot, it will take time for it to cool off, and in that time it’ll cook a little more too. Now all you need to do is let the chicken rest for 10 minutes and garnish with some sliced onion rings, cilantro, a squeeze of lemon juice, and my favorite addition to any grilled desi dish, a sprinkling of chaat masala. Enjoy!
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons Shan chicken tikka masala
- 3 tablespoons Shan tandoori chicken masala
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Cooking spray
- Mix yogurt, Shan chicken tikka masala, Shan tandoori chicken masala and lemon juice together
- Add chicken and marinade for one to 24 hours
- Preheat oven to broil (550 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Let chicken rest for 30 minute before cooking
- Place chicken on aluminum lined broiler pan and spray with cooking spray
- Cook at four inches away from heating element for five minutes
- Flip chicken and spray chicken with cooking spray on other side
- Cook for four to five minutes
- Take out, check internal temperature of chicken (to read 160 degrees)
- Rest for 10 minutes
- Garnish with onion rings, chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lemon juice, and chaat masala