These kebabs are not only low-calorie and light, but they are also a great prep-ahead dish as an easy, family and friend’s get-together dish. The tikka masala-spiced yoghurt marinade tenderises the chicken and improves the flavour after several hours of chilling. The chicken is threaded onto skewers, together with capsicum pepper, pineapple and onion pieces. These are cooked either under a grill, over a BBQ or on a griddle in under 20 minutes.
What I love about these kebabs is that you can prepare the marinade in the morning, thread them onto the skewers and prepare all the sides in the afternoon, then relax and enjoy watching the kebabs cook into authentic tikka chicken kebabs that you see in Indian restaurants. The aroma is so appetising that your dinner guests will be lining up next to you while you cook!
Chicken Tikka Kebabs
For the tikka masala paste:
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 3 dried red whole chillis
- A small bunch of fresh coriander leaves
- 7 garlic cloves
- 7 cm ginger piece, peeled
- 110ml olive oil or coconut oil
- 25ml water
- Juice from 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 35ml tomato puree
For the chicken tikka marinade:
- 1 kg chicken thigh pieces, skin removed, cut into 5 cm pieces
- 250g tikka paste (less 2 teaspoons reserved for the yoghurt dipping sauce*)
- 200ml natural yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 fresh green chilli, chopped finely
- 2 tablespoons of shredded coriander leaves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly, cracked black pepper
For the yoghurt dipping sauce:
- 100ml natural yoghurt
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 2 teaspoons store-bought or homemade tikka paste *
- 1 teaspoon store-bought or homemade garam masala powder
- Salt and white pepper, to taste
Assembling the kebabs:
- 4 red capsicum peppers/bell peppers (or a mix of colours), cut into 5cm pieces
- 1 tin pineapple pieces or ½ fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
- 3 red onions, cut into 5cm pieces
- Fresh coriander leaves
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- Lemon wedges,
- Tomato pieces with fried onions or fresh red onions
- Garden salad
- Cucumber pieces sprinkled with garam masala seasoning
- Large lettuce leaves to eat the chicken tikka kebab as a wrap
Food processor, Thermomix or mortar and pestle
Metal skewers or pre-soaked wooden sticks (soak the sticks in water for at least 20 minutes before cooking).
Step by Step Instructions
1. First prepare the tikka masala paste: Dry roast the seeds and whole chilli in a medium-hot pan for a few minutes, or until they release their aroma.
2. Grind the mixture into a fine powder using either a food processor or a mortar and pestle.
3. Add the coriander leaves, garlic and ginger. Pulse the mixture into a fine paste.
4. Switch to a low speed and add the olive oil gradually.
5. Add the water, lemon juice, turmeric powder, salt, onion powder and tomato puree. Pulse several times.
6. Transfer the mixture to a heavy-bottom pan, partially cover and cook for 40 minutes on the second lowest setting, stirring occasionally to prevent the paste from sticking to the bottom.
7. Once the paste appears thick and has a vibrant sheen to it, remove it from the heat, allow it to cool down and use it to make the chicken tikka kebabs.
8. Start preparing the chicken tikka marinade: Combine all the chicken tikka marinade ingredients together in a medium glass or ceramic bowl. Mix well and cover.
9. Chill and allow to marinate for several hours or overnight, if possible.
10. If using wooden sticks, soak them in some water at least 20 minutes before cooking.
11. Just before cooking the chicken tikka kebabs, prepare the yoghurt dipping sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
12. Start skewering the chicken pieces onto metal skewers or pre-soaked wooden sticks in between the capsicums, onions and pineapple pieces.
13. Either cook the skewers under a grill/broiler, over a BBQ/grill or over a griddle pan on the stove. Brush the cooking surface lightly with oil. Cook on medium-high heat.
14. Brush the kebabs often with the tikka masala marinade and turn them over on all sides to cook evenly. This should take between 15 to 20 minutes. Before removing the kebabs from the heat, test one piece of chicken to check if it is cooked through.
Serve the kebabs warm with steamed rice, salad, tikka yoghurt sauce and lemon wedges.
If you fancy wrapping your disassembled chicken tikka kebab in a tortilla, go to my recipe for gluten-free flour tortillas which explain how to make them from scratch and freeze them for later use, like for this occasion.
If you are following a low carb diet, then a sturdy lettuce leaf such as iceberg lettuce will wrap the chicken tikka kebab nice and snug.
Don’t forget to drizzle the wraps with the yoghurt dipping sauce.
Makes 14 large kebabs
Chicken breast meat is a good alternative to chicken thighs. Reduce the cooking time from 20 minutes to 15 minutes maximum.