Can you believe you can have chicken tikka for weightloss! Clean and healthy eating doesn’t mean you won’t be eating tasty food! Sounds fun right?
I am sure you have had your fair share of chicken tikka if you are a chicken lover. This is one flagship Indian dish which you will find everywhere in different variations across different parts of the country and even overseas, but the basic of a classic chicken tikka will always be the same!
Juicy and succulent cubes of chicken marinated in a thick yogurt based spicy mixture and then grilled in superhot tandoor or oven along with few chunks of veggies – that’s all about the classic chicken tikka! The combination of tender chicken cubes with crunchy veggies like onion and capsicum with that kick of spiciness is simply a winner which I am sure you all will agree too!
I had already shared the restaurant style chicken tikka using a very rich and spicy marinade in my Indian food blog which you may check out here; but that would be an occasional affair. Today’s chicken tikka is more like a home-style version and much lighter but without any compromise on taste. I have also kept the spiciness at minimal level which also helps in our salt intake.
I used chicken breast for this skinny version of chicken tikka as it offers the perfect amount of lean protein which is exactly what you need if you are on your weightloss journey! If you think your tikkas will turn out dry if using chicken breast, then fret not! You just need to ensure two things for that perfectly cooked juicy chicken tikka every time, even with chicken breast!
First and foremost – always use thick hung curd for marinade and not the watery curd. You may use Greek yogurt as a substitute for hung curd, but I personally prefer hung curd because of its creamy texture. Try making hung curd once at home and trust me you will fall in love with it! See notes below to know how to make hung curd.
I make a bowl of hung curd at the start of the week which helps me in putting together so many things quickly throughout the week – a chicken sandwich, a chicken salad with yogurt dressing or this chicken tikka! It is an all in all magic ingredient to me! And you don’t need to spend a lot on it or use any fancy method to prepare it at home. Total win-win, right?
Secondly, to make perfectly juicy & succulent tikkas, you need to grill your chicken tikka at a really high temperature. If using an oven, grill the tikkas at least at 200 C placing the wire rack at the top most level so that the chicken skewers are closest to the heat source while heat is coming from top. This is broil setting in my oven; you would have to adjust the mode according to your oven.
If you do not have an oven, you can still make these delicious chicken tikka at home using a tawa or grill pan. Just coat the hot tawa lightly with any oil or ghee. Let the oil smoke. Then place the chicken skewers on superhot tawa without overcrowding it and keep the heat on medium.
You need to adjust the heat in such a way that the tawa doesn’t lose the temperature & become cool, neither it becomes too hot that it would burn the food before cooking it from inside. Flip the chicken skewers after 1 minute and let the other side cook. Flip again after a minute or two. You may need to flip them few times for even cooking and the charred effect. Overall it would take about 10 minutes to cook each batch.
And voila! You have your guilt-free chicken tikka ready to serve! Enjoy with mint coriander chutney and have a superbly satisfying meal!
- Chicken breast – 300 gms, boneless & skinless
- Onion – 1, large
- Bell pepper of any color – 1, large
- Hung curd or Greek yogurt – 1 cup
- Garlic puree/paste – 2 tsp
- Ginger puree/paste – 1 tsp
- Freshly crushed black pepper – ½ tsp
- Garam masala – 2 tsp
- Amchur powder/dry mango powder – 1 tsp
- Mustard oil – 2 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- If you like it spicy then add green chilli paste as per your taste for that extra kick!
- Few bamboo skewers for grilling
- Wash and pat dry the chicken breast. Once completely dry, cut them into 1-inch cubes. Make sure there is no extra fat attached to the chicken breast. Set aside in a mixing bowl.
- Cut the onion into big chunks; then separate each layer to get the onion petals. Cut the bell pepper into 1-inch chunks. Set everything aside in another bowl.
- Now add the ginger and garlic paste to the cut chicken cubes. Add ¼ teaspoon of crushed black pepper and salt to taste (about half a teaspoon) and mix everything well so that each chicken cube is well coated with the aromatics. Set them aside for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the yogurt marinade. Take the Greek yogurt or hung curd* in a large mixing bowl. Add mustard oil, garam masala, dry mango powder, remaining black pepper and salt to taste (about half a teaspoon). Give it a very good mix using a wire whisk.
- Now drop the chicken cubes into the yogurt mixture and using a spatula stir everything well so that all chicken cubes are nicely coated with the marinade. Take time and patiently mix everything as right mixing will ensure your chicken tikka turns out juicy and tasty.
- Once chicken cubes are thoroughly mixed, drop in the chopped vegetables – onion and bell peppers – into the same bowl of marinated chicken. Give a final mix and set aside for 2 hours upto overnight for best result.
- When you are ready to grill, soak the bamboo skewers in water for 15 minutes so that they don’t burn under the hot grill.
- Preheat your oven for 10 minutes at 200 C / 400 F and place the wire rack at the top most level. Take a baking sheet and line it with aluminium foil. Then place a grilling rack on top of the baking sheet.
- Now start threading the chicken and veggies into the skewers alternatively keeping at least an inch gap at the end of skewers for easy holding.
- Once all the chicken cubes and veggies are threaded, place them on the grilling rack in a single layer i.e. do not place one skewer on top of another as that will prevent even cooking.
- Now place the grilling rack inside the oven along with aluminium foil lined baking sheet below the rack to catch any dripping liquid. This will keep your oven clean and odour-free.
- Grill/broil the chicken tikka for 15 minutes at 200 C. Then take out the grilling rack and check to ensure chicken or veggies are not getting too charred.
- Flip over the skewers and put the chicken tikka back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through and lightly charred at the edges.
- Take them out and transfer the chicken tikka to a serving platter. Squeeze lemon juice if you like the tanginess and serve the delicious chicken tikka with homemade coriander mint chutney. Enjoy!
**Don’t have a conventional oven? Nothing to worry, you don’t need one! You can make these scrumptious chicken tikka on our good old tawas/griddle as well. Read the article above the recipe to know how!