Enjoying the sun and my chicken tikka recipe
Soaking up this delicious warm weather, I’m sure that many of us are probably planning how to make the most of being outside, whether it’s in our gardens or on our balconies. But at the same time staying home and following government guidelines. To lift the spirits, planning something special to eat always works a treat for me.
Coming from a Punjabi background, we know a thing or two about BBQs. Traditionally yes; BBQs are perfect for gatherings, creating that warm atmosphere whilst your family and friends mingle. You can see BBQ stalls everywhere on the streets of the Punjab. You just turn up to either sit down to eatwhilst goats and chickens roam around you (literally!) or you can get a package wrapped up to take away. However, it’s a great treat to have with freshly cooked tandoori naans and raita. Since running our catering business here in UK, it has become one of our specialties and we’ve loved serving up kebabs, naans and tandoori delicacies at local festivals, weddings and birthday parties.
There is a sense of freedom when cooking outside. Everyone needs a change; our kids absolutely love a BBQ. No matter what you’re planning to cook, I’m going to give you a few tips on marinating in advance. Most marinades require 24 hours to do their work before cooking. This is important not only for getting the flavour in but also for improving the texture.
According to your dietary requirements you can marinate your meat or vegetables in a variety of ingredients. I tend to use natural yogurt a lot but for a vegan choice dark soy sauce, tomato sauce, or lime juice works really well with olive oil and seasoning. Another one of my tried and tested favouritesis a tamarind and gur (a natural product of sugar cane)marinade. The combination of sweet and sour creates a wonderful harmony. Score your meat or vegetables with a sharp knife to get all the flavours in then massage everything with your fingers. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, there is no other way to get this done properly. Cover your dish and leave it in the fridge for at least 12 hours, more if you can.
If you’re making kebabs or burgers, use lots of fresh herbs:mint, coriander and dill are widely available but also some of the best herbs to have in your kitchen. Add spice and chilli according to your palette. If you don’t have a particular ingredient, try and substitute it with something you have in your fridge or cupboards.
Here’s my recipe for chicken tikka. Adults love it, kids love it and if you like it please share. Feel free to send me any of your questions!
I don’t understand why lots of restaurants in Britain make chicken tikka covered with food colouring. In reality there is no food colouring in sight when cooking this dish.
Serves 4 as a starter or a side dish with your main course.
500g boneless chicken thighs with or without skin / alternatively, your chosen vegetables such as mixed peppers.
For the marinade
30g fresh root ginger (grated).
3 cloves garlic (pressed).
1tsp ground turmeric (10 g fresh) or 1tsp of tandoori masala.
150g of natural yogurt /30ml of rice vinegar (vegan choice).
3tbsp lemon juice (you won’t need that if you decide to use rice vinegar).
1tsp Kashmiri red chilli.
Lemon or lime wedges to serve.
Cut each chicken thigh into 3 pieces, mark them with the knife. Place in a large bowl.
For the marinade, mix all the ingredients with yogurt.
Rub the marinade over the chicken pieces. Cover and leave it in the fridge for few to 24 hours.
Take the chicken out of fridge 30 minutes before cooking. If you’re using wooden skewers, they would need soaking for 20 minutes. You can also cook this chicken in the oven and in a wok on the hob.
Serve this chicken with naan or chapati and side salad.