Books by Richard Sayce

Indian Restaurant Curry at Home Volume 1
Indian Restaurant Curry at Home Volume 2 Front Cover
Curry Compendium Cookbook

Chicken Tikka: Succulent, tangy, magical chunks with a careful balance of spices and herbs. My recipe may seem involved, but it has proved extremely popular and it also works brilliantly in place of ordinary chicken in curries. This recipe can also be used to make starter portions of chicken tikka, and I would suggest adding a little extra seasoning (salt or chaat masala) sprinkled on top when serving.

My staple recipe in all of my books makes enough chicken tikka for approximately seven to eight single portion curries, and can easily serve six people as a generous starter. You can scale the ingredients up or down to make more or less at a time. Chicken Tikka works well in many curries, for example, Jalfrezi.

Misty Ricardo's Spice Blends - Tikka Blend

If you’d prefer not to make this from scratch, my Tikka Blend is now available.

Chicken Tikka
Watch the Video


  • 1½Kg Chicken Breasts or Thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 1 TBSP Ginger/Garlic Paste
  • 1 TBSP Lemon Juice
  • 2 TBSP Mustard Oil
  • 120ml Natural Yoghurt (full fat)
  • 2 tsp Coriander Seeds, freshly toasted and ground to a powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds, freshly toasted and ground to a powder
  • ½ tsp Fenugreek Seeds, ground to a powder.
  • 3½ TBSP Tandoori Masala
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
  • 1 TBSP Paprika
  • ¼ tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground.
  • ½ tsp Elachi Powder (ground seeds from Green Cardamom Pods)
  • 2 tsp Kasuri Methi


  • 1½ tsp Dried Mint
  • 1½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg, grated (optional)
  • ¼ tsp Orange or Red Food Colouring (optional)
  • 1 TBSP Butter Ghee, melted (optional)
Chicken Tikka

Chicken Tikka without artificial food colouring


  1. Trim the chicken of excess fat and chop into large chunks, e.g. 5cm diameter.
  2. Place in a large bowl and add the ginger/garlic paste and lemon juice. Mix well with hands and leave to marinate in the fridge for 30–60 minutes.
  3. Add all the other ingredients. Mix thoroughly again.
  4. Cover bowl with foil or cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, and up to 48 hours. The longer the better, so I suggest 48 hours if you have time. Stir the contents of the bowl at least once during the marinating time.
  5. Remove from fridge an hour or so before the planned cooking time to allow the chicken to return to room temperature.
  6. Pre-heat your grill to its highest temperature.


  1. Meanwhile, take a large baking tray or grill pan, cover with aluminium foil and brush lightly with oil.
  2. Place the chicken pieces on the tray, evenly spaced. You will need to cook them in two or more batches, depending how big your grill pan is.
  3. Place under the pre-heated grill and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the top of the chicken starts blackening.
  4. Brush the top of each piece with a little oil, turn each piece over, and brush the other side also.
  5. Place back under the grill and cook again for 5-7 minutes. Cut a large piece in half to make sure it is completely cooked (no pink on the inside), and cook for a couple more minutes if needed.
  6. The chicken tikka is now ready. Resist temptation to eat it all in one go.


  • Spoon measurements are level. 1 tsp = 5ml, 1 TBSP = 15ml.
  • Always keep raw chicken away from other ingredients, and thoroughly clean everything that has been in contact with it.
  • Chicken breast meat is the most commonly used for chicken tikka, but thigh meat is a slightly cheaper and flavoursome alternative.
  • It’s important to baste the chicken pieces with oil. It helps keep the tikka from drying out.
  • Orange or red food colouring is optional, but it will improve the appearance.
  • If freezing, place into freezer bags and seal well. I usually bag up each single portion (4-6 pieces), and seal with a knot. Allow to cool before putting in the freezer


    • Richard Sayce

      Thanks. That’s very interesting – what protein did you substitute with ?

  1. ftf

    I’ve tried lots of tikka marinades over the years and this is the best IMO.
    Well done.
    Sometimes I pick up a cheap turkey breast at the supermarket ,when on offer or marked down, and do a turkey tikka. Well worth a try

    • Richard Sayce

      Thank you. The turkey tikka sounds like a good idea.

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