Without complaining about how the South Asian diaspora has transformed my childhood favourite BBQ item chicken tikka into a saucy, messy staple takeaway item “chicken tikka masala,” I shall begin writing this post.
As a child, chicken tikka with paratha (fried flat bread that looks like this) was my most anticipated meal all week. My father used to honk the horn after reaching home on Friday evening, and myself, my three siblings, and my mother would quickly get into the car and be on our way to eat some BBQ. As we grew older, we would also BBQ chicken tikkas for family picnics by the beach or on cool winter evenings at our roof terrace. Such beautiful memories!
I have always loved the charred flavor of a delicious chicken tikka. Full disclosure, this recipe will not give the taste of a Pakistani streetside chicken tikka because a) it is not made in open air on a charcoal grill b) it is meant to be clean so it does not use a lot of oil. That said, I think it comes pretty close to the taste of a juicy BBQ-ed chicken tikka, but with a lot less mess and time, and a ton more convenience.
I use drumsticks for this recipe instead of full chicken leg quarters because drumsticks are easier to work with. And I like to pair them with brown rice and some yogurt or coriander chutney. The meat from the drumsticks can also be used to make a killer chicken tikka salad (see tips for more). It was actually this salad that I posted in my insta story, prompting several requests for the recipe. So without further boring you with my incoherent stories, I will get down to the deets of how you cook up this deliciousness.
- Yogurt (3tbsp)
- Tandoori masala (2tbsp)*
- Garlic powder (1tsp)*
- Organic skinless drumsticks (4)
- Lemon, juiced (2)
- Olive oil (1tsp)
- Mix the tandoori masala & garlic powder in the yogurt.
- Place diagonal slits on the drumsticks.
- Marinate the drumsticks in the spiced yogurt. Also add oil and lemon juice at this point.
- Leave in the refrigerator overnight for maximum flavor, or for at least half an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 425F/220C and bake for 40 minutes flipping the drumsticks halfway through.
- I used this store-bought tandoori masala, but I have also tried this recipe with homemade tandoori masala and it works just fine. The recipe for the homemade tandoori masala is here.
- If you don’t have garlic powder, you can use two garlic cloves minced.
- The meat from the drumsticks is delicious with mixed greens, quinoa, and some greek yogurt as dressing for a “chicken tikka salad.”
- In a food processor, pulse 1 cup of mint and coriander, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 lemon juiced, and 2 green chillies. You will have yourself the best chutney to serve with these chicken tikka drumsticks.