Tikka Chicken Skewers

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 8 hr 45 min (includes marinating time)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1/2 cup plain yogurt 

1 clove garlic, crushed 

Zest and juice of 1 lemon 

1 level teaspoon cumin

1 level teaspoon medium curry powder 

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger 

Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Dipping Sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter 

1 level teaspoon chile flakes 

1 level teaspoon cumin

1 level teaspoon medium curry powder 

4 to 6 green cardamom pods, bruised to crack open and release the seeds 

1 cinnamon stick 

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger 

1 clove garlic, finely chopped 

One 400-gram (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes 

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 level teaspoon sugar, plus to taste 

1 to 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (or coconut cream for a change) 

Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish


Special equipment:
8 bamboo skewers
  1. For the skewers: In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and zest, cumin, curry powder, ginger and some salt and pepper. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes or preferably overnight.
  2. Cut the bamboo skewers in half and soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Spear the chicken pieces onto the skewers and set aside.
  3. For the dipping sauce: Heat the olive oil and butter together in a medium pot. When the butter starts to foam, add the chile flakes, cumin, curry powder, cardamom and cinnamon; cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, ketchup and sugar; simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or longer if you have the time as this will really coax all the flavors out of the ingredients. Stir through the yogurt just before serving.
  4. Heat a braai (grill) or grill pan. Grill the chicken skewers, turning from time to time, until cooked through and lightly charred, about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the skewers to a serving platter. Serve with the dipping sauce and a scattering of fresh cilantro.