Chicken Tikka


Chef Way The flavorings in the vibrant marinade for this grilled chicken include pathar ka phool (a hard-to-find seasoning made from bark), deghi mirch (an Indian red-chile powder) and mustard oil.Easy Way Omit the pathar ka phool and deghi mirch and use mustard seeds in place of the oil for a similarly pungent, wonderfully savory marinade. Slideshow:  More Easy Indian Recipes 

Chicken Tikka
Photo: © Tina Rupp
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
4 to 6


  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds

  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • Cilantro and Yogurt Sauce, for serving


  1. In a spice grinder, pulse the mustard seeds with the five-spice powder, pepper, turmeric, cayenne and bay leaf until fine. Transfer the spice powder to a medium bowl. Add the ginger, garlic and yogurt and season with salt. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

  2. Light a grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade and brush the pieces with the melted butter. Season with salt. Oil the grate and grill the chicken over high heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Serve with the Cilantro and Yogurt Sauce.

Make Ahead

The chicken can be marinated for up to 8 hours.

Serve With

Warm naan.

Suggested Pairing

This goes well with an Oregon Pinot Noir or a red Burgundy.

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