With the globalization of food, majority of the people are now at least familiar with the name of the chicken tikka. It is a famous form of BBQ chicken from the Indo-Pak subcontinent. The chicken is marinated with spices and yogurt and then roasted in the oven or the tandoor.
Chicken tikka masala is a derived curry-based dish of the tikka developed in the UK. The chicken is roasted in the usual way and then cooked in a tomato or cream based curry, served with naan or rice. Now I am personally not a huge fan of the chicken tikka masala. The taste of the curry seems overwhelming to me.
Now this recipe here is something in between. You get to have the masala i.e. curry, but it is not as over-powering. It goes so well with naan or parathas. You can control the amount of curry you want with how much yogurt you put in. Now I took this recipe a tad bit further. After the chicken was cooked, I smoked it to get the BBQ taste. It was finger-lickin’ good.
I will also tell you an ingenious way of smoking the chicken with a piece of charcoal right on your stove-top. No, no I am not that genius 😛 😀 It is just a common way of smoking tandoori items when you don’t have the actual tandoor at home 🙂 It is pretty brilliant and I will tell you how to do that in a bit. Now most of the spices in this recipe can be easily found, but the ones that you can’t find will be easily available in the Desi Indian/Pakistani stores. If you can’t find the Kashmiri chili powder just substitute it with one part cayenne pepper powder and three parts paprika powder. Pretty much like the paprika powder, the Kashmiri chili gives a vibrant red color to the dishes. Ok, ok I know mine isn’t that vibrant but I didn’t have Kashmiri chili available and used only paprika powder. Nevertheless, it was still very delicious believe me 🙂 See for yourself!
So there’s only one last thing I would like to talk about. Promise, just one last! The secret ingredient to all the meat dishes of the subcontinent – ginger and garlic paste mix. Ok not so secret, but honestly I haven’t seen any other cuisine that uses both the ginger and garlic paste mixture. And I have had a fair share of different cuisines. Believe me the ginger and garlic paste mix is a game changer in the cooking world and really isn’t given that much credit. Especially if you use this mixture in your meat dishes and cook the meat till all water evaporates in the paste, then it is my guarantee that you will never smell that meat smell ever again! Guaranteed! The mixture can be made in bulk and frozen in cubes for easy usage. It also stays a long time in the refrigerator. Now the garlic does tend to turn green because of photosynthesis but is absolutely edible. And if you aren’t a huge fan of the green color, you can just add a few drops of any cooking oil to the mixture and it won’t turn green 🙂
So for making this magical paste, all you will need is to grind 10-12 cloves of garlic with 3-4 inches piece of ginger. Now you can use this mixture in your curries or marination of meat – red or white. Now back to our recipe and let’s get cookin’!
1 kg/2 lbs. chicken cut into pieces (leg quarters are best for tikka)
1 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more if you want more spicy, less if otherwise)
1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder / 1 teaspoon paprika powder + 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
1 teaspoon freshly roasted cumin seeds crushed to form a powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste
1 heaped tablespoon ginger and garlic paste mix
lemon juice from one medium sized lemon
1/2 – 3/4 cup yogurt
2-3 tablespoons ghee/butter
2-3 tablespoons oil
4-5 green chillies cut lengthwise and seeds removed
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, julienne cut (optional)
small piece of BBQ coal
Marinate the chicken in all the spices except the green chillies, oil and butter. Marinate overnight or at least for two hours. Prick the chicken pieces with the fork after marination so that the spices are absorbed thoroughly.
Heat the ghee/butter and oil in a pot/wok. Add the chicken and keep the flame medium-high to make the water evaporate. When the water has almost dried out, cover the pot/wok with a lid and cook on low flame for 15 minutes. Add the green chillies and the julienne cut ginger. Put the flame on simmer for another 10 min.
Now the best part. Put a small piece of charcoal directly on your stove. If you have an electric stove, put the piece on the coil. Don’t worry, you will not have an explosion. Turn the flame on high and also your exhaust fan on high 😀 Open the window if you have any in the kitchen. This might cause the smoke detector to get crazy but do not worry, nothing will happen. I promise 🙂
Meanwhile, take an aluminum foil square and make a small bowl-like structure out of it to place the coal in it. You do not want to place the coal on your chicken and turn it black 😀 Place this make-shift bowl in your pot/wok in the middle.Alternatively, you can use a small steel bowl.
After the coal piece has turned fairly red on the bottom part that is in contact with the stove, pick it up with the help of metal tongs and place it in your foil bowl. I have tried drawing it. Pardon my horrible drawing skills, but I think you guys can visualize somewhat what to do.
Now as soon as you place your coal piece in the foil, put a few drops of oil on it and immediately cover the pot/wok with a lid. You have to be ready with the lid so that you can place it quickly. There will be smoke but don’t worry it all goes in the meat to enhance the taste and flavor 🙂 If you want the smoky taste to be subtle, remove the foil with coal after 10 minutes.
Preparation Time: 35-40 minutes excluding marination
Servings: 5-6 persons