The Best Tikka Marinade Recipe

Tikka Marinade Recipe

There are two tikka marinade recipes here. Some of the ingredients are obscure; look round a large supermarket or Indian/Asian deli and they will all be there somewhere.

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These recipes can be used to flavor chicken, duck, quail, turkey, lamb, fish (salmon is really good), crab, lobster, potatoes, certain cheeses e.g. paneer - the only thing doesn't turn out well is beef.

Watch how long you leave food to marinate - too long and the surface of the meat starts to breakdown - the lighter the meat e.g. fish the less time it needs.

Tikka Marinade (easy version)

Makes enough for 6 chicken breasts or the equivalent quantity of anything else you fancy putting in it.

  • 1 cup/250ml plain yoghurt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground coriander seeds (cilantro?)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • a few drips of orange or red food colouring, just enough to colour the marinade, not too much or the food will go a weird colour.

Just mix the ingredients together in a non-metallic bowl and plop in your meat or fish. Refrigerate - 8 hours is enough for most main ingredients, but up to 2 days for lamb.

Tikka Marinade (traditional version)

This might be the best marinade there is - certainly the best tikka recipe of the two here.

For every 1/2 pound of the main ingredient use the following (although adding more yoghurt will make it go a little further):

  • 150 ml or generous 1/2 cup of plain yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp mustard or vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice 1 tsp garlic puree (or 1 garlic clove)
  • 1 tsp ginger puree (or heaped grated fresh ginger)
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint leaves (or mint sauce)
  • 3 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp curry paste (or powder)
  • 2 tbsp tandoori paste (or masala powder)
  • 1 tsp salt 

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If you use curry powder and dry tandoori masala, rather than the pastes, use a bit more oil. Otherwise, mix it all up in a non-metallic bowl and put your main ingredient in for the required time.

Marinating times vary according to the type of meat or fish, and this marinade is milder than vinegar or citrus based versions - so the time can be increased. Something like 1 to 2 hours for seafood, 4 to 16 hours for chicken tikka, and 12 to 36 hours for lamb tikka.

Cooking Method

After which, thread it onto metal skewers and grill it food as you would any other cut of meat - although for big cuts like a leg of lamb, covered barbecues are better. A Weber grill certainly gives better results than my open grill.

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