Chicken tikka: Pakistani style

/ / / Chicken tikka: Pakistani style
Pakistani chicken tikka

Chicken tikka is one of the popular dishes among Pakistani cuisines. Especially when you go to restaurants, takeaways/ takeouts, or parties such as weddings. 

So for those who love curry and Indian/ Pakistani food, chances are you know what chicken tikka is. Yes, it’s basically grilled chicken that has been marinated with spiced yoghurt. That’s what chicken tikka is. 

It can be chicken pieces with bones, or boneless chicken pieces in the skewers, or even the chicken strips. 

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Chicken tikka

Here in the UK, we can buy ready-made spice packet and then just mix it with yoghurt and follow the instruction to cook. However, I find that the spices are way too hot as they have high-content of chillies. So, even though I personally have no problems with chillies, my husband and our kids do. Therefore I tend to make my own spice mix. 

I learned how to make chicken tikka marinade from my sister in law. But over time, I’ve tweaked the recipe and made a few changes. For example, I don’t use fresh ginger and garlic paste anymore. Instead, I use ginger and garlic powder. And I replace and mix the chilli powder with paprika powder. Because it’s less spicy that my children could have it when they were little. It also gives a bright colour to the dish. 

So, if you like your chicken tikka hot and spicy, you can simply swap the paprika powder with chilli powder. 

In this recipe, I used boneless chicken breasts that I made them into chicken tikka strips. But of course, you can always use any type of chicken. 

Pakistani chicken tikka strips

Chicken tikka paste marinade

To make the marinade, you will only need:

Spices mix

It’s a combination of ground coriander, cumin powder, paprika or chilli powder, ground turmeric, ground black pepper, dried ginger powder, dried garlic powder, and salt. This mixture gives the aroma to the meat, and with the right composition, the fragrance won’t be too overpowering.

Lemon juice

This citrus not only will take away the meat smell, but it also enhances the flavour and tenderize the meat.


Similarly, like lemon juice, yoghurt also tenderizes the meat. And it improves the meat flavour and makes it stay moist.


Just a drizzle or two is all you need. The oil will help the grilling and cooking easier.

Yield: 4-6

Chicken Tikka

Chicken tikka strips Pakistani style

These chicken tikka strips are so tasty to have as they are with salad or pair them with bread slices to make chicken tikka sandwich. It's packed with flavour but with the right amount spice aroma and zesty tanginess. Perfect for light lunch or barbecue menu.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 700 gr boneless chicken, cut in pieces (see the note).
  • 1 tsp dried ginger powder.
  • 1 ½ tsp dried garlic powder.
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin powder.
  • 1 ½ tsp ground coriander.
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder.
  • 1 tsp paprika powder (or 1 tsp chilli powder).
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper.
  • 1 tsp salt.
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt.
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice from ½ lemon.
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil.


  1. Put all the ingredients except the chicken in a mixing bowl. Mix it well.
  2. Then put the chicken in the marinade and make sure all pieces are coated well with spice mixture. 
  3. Using a skewer or a fork, pierce all the poultry pieces. This little trick will ensure the meat to absorb the flavour better. So your chicken will be flavoursome and not bland. Especially when you don’t have much time to marinate it.
  4. Ideally, you leave the chicken to marinate at least for a few hours. But I’ve done so many times when I only left the marinade for 20 minutes or so. Just make sure you pierce the meat ?.
  5. When you’re ready to cook, you can grill your chicken tikka on a griddle pan, an oven grill, or barbecue.
  6. I often use a griddle pan. Just drizzle a teaspoon of cooking oil on your griddle pan, and preheat it at medium heat. 
  7. When your pan is ready and hot, put your chicken on it. Leave it to cook at medium heat
  8. After 6-7 minutes, turn the chicken and cook further on the other side for another 6-7 minutes or until light brown and it’s thoroughly cooked.
  9. Enjoy your chicken tikka on its own with salad. Or you can have it with pitta bread. And you can even make a chicken tikka sandwich with it.


  • As mentioned above, you can swap the paprika powder with chilli powder if you prefer hot spicy chicken tikka. Or, you can mix with ½ tsp paprika powder and ½ tsp chilli powder if you want a moderate heat.
  • You can use chicken with bones, but it will take longer to cook. And you may have to cook at low heat so that the meat won’t get burnt before the inside gets cooked fully.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 334Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 125mgSodium 593mgCarbohydrates 4gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 41g

The nutrition calculation you find here is just a guide provided by online nutrition calculator. You should not use to substitute advice from nutritionists or health practitioners.

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Thank you and all the best.

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