Chicken Tikka Kebab features pieces of Indian spiced yogurt-marinated chicken skewered with peppers and onions. Make these delicious Indian chicken skewers on a grill or in your oven.
Kebab recipes are fantastic to make for meals during the warm weather months. They take very little time to prep and they cook up quickly, but even better, you grill them outdoors, so your kitchen stays cool! They’re versatile, too; you can customize the ingredients for the skewers based on what you have on hand.
Of course, there are plenty of ways to turn chicken into a grilled meal as well, including this recipe for Indian chicken skewers!
That being said, if you don’t own a grill, or you prefer to cook inside because it’s too hot to be outdoors, you can bake your kebabs in the oven instead.
Chicken Tikka Kebab
Cuisine: Asian / Indian
The flavors in this dish are similar to those of chicken tikka masala, a popular Indian curry. When your culinary travels take you through Asia, plan a visit to India. They offer some of the world’s best street foods, including grilled tikka kabab!
Course: Entree or Appetizer
Preparation: Baked or Grilled
Recipe difficulty: Easy 🥄
Small pieces of boneless, skinless chicken, marinated in yogurt and Indian spices, then threaded onto skewers to be grilled or baked. Often, onion, bell pepper, or other vegetables are included.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
- Boneless, skinless chicken- Either thighs or breast meat may be used. I prefer thighs because they are higher in fat, which helps to keep the meat tender and juicy.
- Vegetables- I add wedges of red onion, red bell pepper and green bell pepper to my tikka kebab, which are all optional. Feel free to use different veggies, or add others if desired.
Good choices are mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and even sweet tropical fruits like mango or pineapple would be fantastic.
For Tikka Marinade
- Yogurt- Any variety of plain flavor dairy or non-dairy yogurt works well. I use Greek yogurt for this recipe.
- Indian spices- The spices in the marinade are common for Indian cuisine; turmeric, cumin, coriander, dried fenugreek, garam masala seasoning, and kashmiri chile powder. I prefer homemade garam masala.
Can't find kashmiri chili powder? Not a problem!
If you’re in the U.S. and are unable to find kashmiri powder, substitute it with an equal amount of smoked paprika, with a bit of cayenne pepper added for spiciness.
- Raw cashews- Be sure to use raw nuts if possible, not roasted or smoked. Raw nuts have a neutral flavor, and they blend into a creamier consistency as well. For this chicken tikka kebab recipe, walnuts are a good substitute for the cashews.
- Marinate for at least 30 minutes, but NOT LONGER than 4 hours. Unlike beef, poultry doesn't have any tough connective tissue that needs to be tenderized.
The purpose of marinating chicken is only to add flavor. If you marinate it too long, the proteins begin to break down. This can cause the texture to become grainy, mushy, and unpleasant.
Serving Suggestions for Chicken Tikka Kebab
The skewers are great on their own, but even better with a squeeze of lime juice, some chopped cilantro, and pudina chutney for dipping. Good sides are rice or grilled vegetables, and warm roti, naan or other flatbread.
Tikka kabab is definitely one of the healthier options in Indian cuisine. Many of the spices used to make this fantastic chicken dish are anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants. Additionally, poultry is a lean, heart healthy protein.
To lower the calories and fat grams, you can make the dish with white breast meat instead of dark meat, and use low fat yogurt for the marinade.
Both tikka kabab and tikka masala are Indian chicken recipes that use warm Indian spices like garam masala, cumin, and coriander. Beyond that, the recipes are quite different.
The kebab features pieces of boneless skinless chicken that are skewered and grilled (or sometimes baked), while tikka masala is an Indian curry dish that is most often made with bone-in chicken.
Chicken Tikka Kebab
- 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 2-inch cubes
- ½ medium red onion cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 green bell pepper cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 red bell pepper cut into 2-inch cubes
- ½ medium red onion cubed
- 1 serrano green chile quartered
- 10 raw cashews
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- ½ lime juiced (1-2 tbsp juice)
- 2 tsp kashmiri red chili powder
- 2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- Cilantro sprigs
- Lime wedges to garnish
- Red onion slices
- Pudina Chutney (Mint Cilantro)
- Warm Naan
- In a food processor, puree ½ red onion, serrano chile, cashews, yogurt, ginger, garlic and lime juice until smooth. Remove lid and add the Kashmiri chili powder, fenugreek leaves, salt, cumin, garam masala, coriander and turmeric. Pulse several times until blended well.
- In a large bowl add the chicken, marinade and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to marinate for 30 minutes minimum, 4 hours maximum.
- Thread marinated chicken, peppers and onions on skewers, alternating between each (see image). Spray both sides of kebabs with cooking spray. Place a wire rack over a lined baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray to avoid sticking and lay kebabs on top.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook for 15 minutes. Turn oven broiler on and broil skewers for 5 minutes, or until slightly charred and cooked through. (See Note 1 for grilling instructionsTo )
- Remove from oven and serve with chutney, lime slices, red onion and cilantro sprigs. Wonderful with warm naan as well.
- To grill chicken tikka kebabs: set grill/BBQ to 400°F, clean grill grates and grease with non-stick cooking spray or olive oil prior to grilling. Cook for 15-18 minutes, or until internal temp of chicken reaches 163°F. Allow chicken skewers to rest (they will continue to cook) for 5 minutes before serving.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.