Herby grilled chicken tikka

Herby grilled chicken tikka

I Love India
Martin Poole

Kebabs are a huge favourite throughout India; you will find them everywhere and in many guises. This murgh hariyali version is deep and flavourful, with the herbs adding an amazing freshness. We serve these pretty little bites with drinks before dinner, with a little tangle of seasoned red onion slices drizzled with lemon juice and some Tangy Herb Chutney. Typically, the little chunks would be taken off the skewers, but you can also cut the chicken into strips and serve them on small skewers; they look dramatic in little shot glasses with some chutney spooned into the bottom. These kebabs also work really well on the barbecue when a hot, sunny day beckons you outdoors, or they make delicious wraps with chutney and sour cream. Basically, they can work at almost any occasion.


Quantity Ingredient

For the marinade

Quantity Ingredient
40g coriander stalks and leaves, torn a little
20g mint leaves
1 small indian green finger chilli, stalk removed, deseeded, (optional)
15g roughly chopped root ginger, (peeled weight)
6 large garlic cloves
1 rounded teaspooon ground cumin
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon see method for ingredients, (fresh if possible)
80g proper, thick greek yogurt
11/2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
freshly ground black pepper

For the chicken

Quantity Ingredient
bamboo skewers
500g skinless boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 4cm cubes or long, thick pieces
a little unsalted butter, melted
chaat masala, to serve


  1. Soak the bamboo skewers in water, to stop them catching when you cook the kebabs.
  2. Blend together all the ingredients for the marinade until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning; it should taste slightly salty at this point. Add the chicken, cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 2–3 hours, or overnight is best.
  3. Heat a fan-assisted grill to a high heat, around 230°C. Thread pieces of the chicken on to the skewers, keeping them close together to stop them drying out. Rest each end of the skewers across a deep roasting pan so that the meat is suspended in mid air.
  4. Position the tray 5–7.5cm under the grill. Grill for about 5–7 minutes, or until the chicken is lightly charred on the top, then rotate the skewers and cook for another 2–3 minutes. As the edges of the meat start to brown, baste with melted butter and cook for another 30–40 seconds.
  5. Remove the skewers from the heat and cool for a minute or so, before sliding the chunks off the skewers on to a plate. Toss with the chaat masala and serve with rings of red onions marinated in seasoned lemon juice, wedges of lemon and/or some Tangy Herb Chutney.

Black salt and chaat masala

  • I love discovering new tastes and useful ingredients that I can incorporate into my cooking and I think both of these ingredients would fall into that category for many people, especially for those readers who don’t have roots in the Indian subcontinent themselves.

    Black salt is a volcanic rock salt from the Himalayas, and found around some salt lakes in India. It has been used for hundreds of years in South East Asian cooking. It is salty, but also contains other compounds which give it more flavour than regular salt and, specifically, a sulphuric “eggy” smell. As you can imagine, the taste is quite unique and those who love it, love it. I would encourage you to be brave and give it a go. It is only used in small quantities, mostly in Indian streetfood, some chutneys, and yogurt dishes.

    Chaat masala is one of my favourite spice blends. It is tangy from dried mango powder (amchur), spicy, salty and slightly sulphuric from the inclusion of black salt. It is an important component of one of India’s favourite types of streetfood: chaat. Chaat is hard to describe in a single sentence, but can be anything from a simple tossed salad with a chaat masala spice blend, to more complex layered dishes with chutneys and yogurt. Chaat loosely means “to lick one’s fingers”, and Indians feel this way about these types of dishes. I have never made my own chaat masala as the storebought jars are really good, so I always, always have some in the larder. I add it to lots of streetfood, but also sprinkle it over simple grilled foods that need a bit of flavour. It is one of the most useful and well-used spice blends in my kitchen.
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