Low Fat Chicken Tikka
Chicken Tikka is consumed in every corner of the world and basically Tikka is the way its prepared (boneless chunks cooked on skewers in a clay oven) there are many variations to this dish and you will find dozens of recipes out there.
Chicken Tikka has two main variations regardless of the ingredients, firstly this dry spicy chicken is in my opinion a dish on its own, put with a salad and a mint dip it can be enjoyed as a starter or a main meal and if cooked with a low fat yogurt is great if your counting the calories. Second variation and probably the most famous (yes you have guessed) Chicken Tikka Masala, this rich creamy dish has been around for over 50 years, where it originates from is controversial some say it was invented in Glasgow and others say by a Bangladeshi chef, either way it is up there as everyones favourite and very simple to prepare.
In this section I am concentrating on the Chicken Tikka (Low Fat) side of things, once you have mastered it you can then add it to the masala sauce. (I will add the masala sauce recipe at a later date).
Its important to buy the freshest spices you can and always store them in an air tight container and in the dark. Prices for spices range massively from store to store they come packaged in small boxes, jars and large bags, over the years I have found buying spices is best bought from stores that specialise in selling food from for example India, china ECT….. buying from large supermarkets will cost you 5 times as much for less than half the quantity, so if your cooking Indian food stock up from an Indian store, If you don’t have Indian stores close to you then buy from the Internet for the best prices.
Go fresh if you can on the ginger and garlic, the next best is to buy jars of garlic and ginger puree i have used these and there fine. Ginger and garlic is the main ingredients In many dishes so try and keep in stock if you can.
I am probably going to get asked why my chicken tikka isn’t red in colour ! well call me old fashioned but i’m not a lover of food colourings, lets remember food colourings don’t add any flavour, it’s there to make it look better, i am not saying for one minute don’t add it, if you feel the need for red chicken tikka then go for it and pour some into the final mixture, but it’s not for me.
A quick note on the classic chicken tikka recipe just incase i get blasted for not sharing the classic recipe. Over the years i have eaten in dozens of Indian restaurants the same as you have and I am always told that theres is the classic version which is strange as they all look slightly different in colour and taste. After hours of research the end conclusion is “Who Knows” I don’t think there is a classic version, all Tikka recipes are close and have very similar ingredients I have to say but not the same, Its the same as the debate as what cut of chicken to use, i am a lover of boneless chicken thighs I feel you get more chicken flavour and its more juicy. but traditionally chicken breast cut into chunks is the norm, I use both and get great results, at the end of the day cooking is all about experimenting adding a bit of this and a bit of that and making it your own, so lets get on with it……………
1000g / 1 kg Chicken breasts or thighs
2 Lemons or lemon Juice
½ Teaspoon chilli powder or you can use fresh green chillies
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon black pepper
5 fresh garlic cloves
1 inch piece of pealed ginger or 2 tablespoons of powdered
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
1 Tablespoon ground turmeric
300ml fat free or any plain yogurt
1 hand full fresh coriander (optional)
Please don’t wash the chicken research tells us washing raw chicken can spread salmonella round your kitchen. (lecture Over) Cut your chicken into bite size chunks or if using thighs cut them in half, place them in a large mixing bowl and add the lemon juice and salt mix together.
Your going to need a food processor or small blender (I use a small blender called Ninja there cheap but fantastic) Add all the other ingredients into the blender and blitz / blend until smooth.
Add the contents of your blender to the chicken and give this a good mix with a spoon making sure all the chicken is covered in the mixture. cover and refrigerate over night.
Ok the fun bit, remove the chicken from your refrigerator, your going to need 6 or 7 metal skewers, push the chicken onto the skewers.
There are a few ways to cook your now marinated chicken, the traditional way is in an Indian Tandoor or clay oven and if you have either of these at home “how lucky are you” most of us will have either an oven or BBQ In my opinion best method is on the BBQ but I have cook them in my electric oven just turn the oven up to the highest setting and pre heat, what ever method you have you need to end up with some charing (burnt) on the chicken and i don’t mean burn them till there on fire just a few charred spots on the chicken and thats it, how easy is that.
For you weight watchers out there this is a great way to add fantastic flavour to your meat with out the added fat and makes the diet a lot less boring, I have cooked this using a full chicken just marinade the whole chicken and also lamb chops turn out great remember there are no rules and your not breaking the law if you use different meats. the next step once you have mastered this dish is to make a masala sauce to add your chicken tikka to and you now have a fully blown Indian feast. I will post