Yoghurt Marinated Chicken Tikka Over Sizzling Grilled Onions

Yoghurt Marinated Chicken Tikka Over Sizzling Grilled Onions
Prep time
Cook time
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Chicken Tikka or the Classic Tandoori Chicken from India has become famous all over the world and the variety of recipes is almost endless. If you've ever seen how it's done, the Indian tandoor cook lowers red chunks of raw chicken threaded on 4 foot metal rods into a blazing hot tandoor oven. A few minutes later, he removes them at the perfect moment all charred and smoky and pushes the chicken onto a plate using naan bread as his tongs. Of course, I don't have a large bell-shaped tandoor so I'm going to use my trusty Weber grill in this recipe. The basic idea is simple enough, the marinade of yoghurt and lemon juice tenderizes the meat and the grilling brings out the flavor of the spices. This is a great tailgate or camping dish as you can take along the bag of marinated chicken in your cooler to grill outdoors.

The tikka has morphed into Chicken Tikka Marsala when it travelled to England and I'll cover that chicken and sauce recipe in the future. The best tandoori I've eaten was served with just a squeeze of lemon juice and some basmati saffron rice. In my recipe, I added sizzling grilled onions to provide a sweet vegetable accompaniment to the chicken. You should allow the chicken to marinate overnight for best results. If you don't have an outdoor grill, you can also do it in the oven broiler. Note that my cooking technique in the recipe below results is super moist chicken breast. You must let the chicken rest covered so the residual cooking takes the chicken into the 150-155F zone which is perfect for chicken breast.
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Indian and American
Serves: 4
  • 2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • SYD Chicken Rub
  • 2 onions cut into strips, sauted in a pan with some butter until tender
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • Lemon wedges for garnish
  • Chicken Tikka Marinade
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice
  • Ground spice mixture (you can substitute with your fav curry powder)
  • 2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted
  • 4 cardamom pods, toasted
  • 3 cloves, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, grated
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons of red color
  1. Rub chicken pieces with fresh lemon juice
  2. Apply a medium coat of SYD chicken rub. Let rest for 30 minutes to allow the salt in the rub to penetrate the chicken breast
  3. While chicken is resting, prepare your marinade. You can use curry powder if you don't have time to toast and grind the spice mixture
  4. Mix all the marinade ingredients and pour into a gallon plastic bag. Add the chicken pieces and marinade overnight in the fridge.
  5. Preheat your grill to 275F pit with a medium-hot and a cool zone. Add your favorite wood chunks.
  6. Remove the chicken from bag and brush off excess marinade. Place the chicken on the indirect side of you grill and smoke until internal is about 110F (about 15 minutes).
  7. Move the chicken over the medium-hot zone and grill until it is smoky and charred. If you have flare ups, douse the flames using a spray bottle with water or move the chicken to the cool zone
  8. While grilling the breast in the medium-hot zone, use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature in the thickest part of the breast. When you see 145F, remove the breasts and place into a half foil pan. Cover the half foil pan tightly with foil and allow all the chicken pieces to rest for 15 minutes. The internal temperature will then climb to about 155-160F.
  9. Serve on top of onions on a hot cast iron platter. Garnish with chopped cilantro and lemon wedges