This chicken appetizer recipe is quick, healthy and incredibly flavorful. Its become one of my go-to recipes when hosting a dinner party because it can be made ahead for most part, and then popped into the oven just 20 minutes before you need to serve.
The ‘Hariyali’ (meaning ‘Green’) marinade depends heavily on fresh herbs (coriander & mint), as well as green chilies to pack a punch; but it’s the texture of the tikkas that really set them apart. They are slightly charred on the outside, but tender and succulent when you bite in! The key to getting the texture right is grilling them at the right temperature for the right amount of time – something I’ve figured out after much trial and error 😀 but, follow the recipe below and you’ll definitely be able to reproduce this crowd pleaser!
Recipe: Hariyali Chicken Tikka
- An oven (the convection / OTG kind)
- A mixer/ food processor
- Skewers (either metal or wooden)
- A square/ round baking tin whose diameter is shorter than the length of the skewer by about 2 inches
- 1 Green Cardamom
- 1 tsp Coriander Seeds
- 1 tsp Jeera (Cumin) Seeds
- 1 piece Mace
- 4 Cloves
- 1 inch-long-piece Cinnamon
- 5 Peppercorns
- ½ tsp Kala Namak [Alternative: Rock Salt]
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 cup Coriander Leaves
- ½ cup Mint Leaves
- 8 – 10 cloves Garlic
- 1 tsp Fresh Ginger [finely chopped]
- 4 – 5 Green Chilies
- ½ Lemon
- 2 tsps Thick Curd / Yogurt
- 4 tsps Besan [Gram Flour]
- 500 gms Boneless Chicken, preferably tikka cut [chicken thigh meat, cut into medium sized chunks]
- 4 tsps Vegetable Oil
- Dry roast the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander seeds, mace and peppercorns over low heat for 2 – 3 minutes or until fragrant1. Remove the spices from the pan, place in a mixer/ grinder jar and allow to cool for a bit.
- While the spices are cooling, dry roast the besan (gram flour) on low heat until it begins to give off a toasty aroma and just about changes colour2. It should take about 3 – 4 mins. Here's what it should look like once done:
- One the spices have cooled, grind them to a fine powder like you see in the image below.
- Grind the coriander leaves, mint leaves, ginger, garlic, green chilies, black salt and salt to a paste.3
- Wash and drain the chicken pieces; pat dry them to remove as much moisture as possible4. Place the chicken in a large bowl and douse with the juice of half a lime. Stir well.
- Add the ground spice mix to the chicken and stir again. Next, add the ground herb paste and mix till all the pieces are evenly coated.
- Add 2 tsps of thick curd5, a tsp of oil and mix again.
- For the last step in the marination process, add 2 tsps of roasted besan and stir well. This ensures that the spices and herb paste adheres to the chicken pieces really well. Here's what the marinated chicken will look like after adding the besan.
- Cover and place the chicken in the fridge for at least 20 mins; you can leave the chicken to marinate as long as 8 hours.
- Slide the tikka pieces onto skewers, leaving about half an inch of space between each piece5. Place each skewer over the baking tray as you see in the picture below and baste with
- Pre-heat the oven to 250°C; grill the chicken at 250° C for 7 mins, and then reduce to 200°C and bake for another 7 mins. Here's what the chicken will look like after the first 14 mins of cooking.
- Turn the skewers over, baste with oil and grill again for a final 5 – 6 mins at 200°C. Here's how brown and charred they will get by the end.
- Slide the tikka pieces off the skewers onto a plate; douse with a squeeze of lemon juice and serve!
1Toasting/ roasting the spices releases their essential oils and a lot of flavour.
2The change of colour when toasting the basin is from a mild yellow to a beige/ light brown. I recommend going by aroma rather than change in colour here, as toasting the besan insufficiently can lead to a chalky flavor in the tikkas.
3The paste doesn’t need to be fine; coarse works well.
4It’s very important to remove all the moisture from the chicken so that the spices adhere well to the surface.
5Add as little curd as possible; its only purpose is to keep the chicken moist and tender while it cooks in the oven.
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