Chicken tikka in fresh air

Mallika Basu - Chicken tikka in fresh air

Posted 13th August 2007

chicken-kebab.jpgA weekend away in Cambridge? In a house with a garden? And a BBQ? What an opportunity!

I threw myself into our Knight Rider piled up high with two brothers in law, the little sister and hubby at the steering wheel with all the essentials for a weekend in the countryside:

  • Antihistamine: for any severe allergic reactions to fresh, country air
  • Flat shoes: for walking (good heavens…)
  • Oversize handbag and sunglasses: You never know who you’ll meet!
  • Bag of spices: for an Indian BBQ

As per usual, the whole thing was disorganised. We took longer than planned punting in Cambridge, making friends on the River Cam with every boat stocked with alcohol.

Back in the house, the BBQ miraculously got ready before I could do any real marinating. And my third brother-in-law’s garden occupants turned from the quiet couple next door to an ASBO-worthy extended family, complete with Harry the Hungry Dog.

The obvious choice for the first BBQ dish on this blog was the much maligned chicken tikka – a kebab spiced with masalas, tenderised and grilled on a tandoor. More recently, this lovely, juicy wonder has been the centrepiece of a tasty but totally wrong English Indian curry – the chicken tikka masala.

In a rush, I forgot to use oil and the result was fantastic nonetheless. In India, we ate these with hot naans and some raita and cucumber salad on the side. And fresh air only makes it taste even better!

This recipe serves 10 if served with other BBQ dishes, 5 on its own:

1.5 kg chicken breast, cubed into bite-sized chunks

500 gm low fat natural yogurt

12 cloves garlic

3 inches ginger

4 green finger chillies

5 tsp coriander powder

5 tsp cumin powder

Half tsp ground black pepper

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon meat tenderiser

Juice of 1 lemon, freshly squeezed

Finely puree or chop the ginger, garlic and green chillies.

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients with the chicken. You want a strong marinade that forms an even coating on the submerged chicken pieces.

Leave them sitting in their marinade for up to two hours. I gave mine an hour.

Just as the BBQ is ready, skewer five pieces of chicken onto bamboo sticks keeping about half a centimetre space between each piece. Cook the skewers until the middle of the chicken is pale white, but still juicy.

Serve drizzled with fresh lemon and coriander leaves.

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