Chicken kaalimirch (pepper) tikka

Everyone loves tikkas; be they chicken, mutton, fish, paneer or vegetable tikkas.

In fact, this is one dish that has become popular everywhere in the world. And, why not! Tikkas are perfectly cooked, juicy morsels of food that melt in the mouth. My other tikka recipes incorporate a lot of masala in the marinade. I love the spice and tangy taste of them. And so do my husband and younger daughter.

However, my elder daughter does not have a spice palate.

So, for her, I am forever trying to make food that is tasty and yet non-spicy. This recipe for the Kaalimirch tikka (pepper tikka) is a compromise. She loves it and the family does too because the coarsely ground pepper in this flavors the tikkas and makes them really…well…really, peppery. J

Here is my recipe…




½ kg boneless chicken, cut into bite sized pieces

For assembling the tikka

1 onion, quartered and peeled apart

1 bell pepper (any colour), cut into 1 inch pieces

1 tomato, de-seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces

For marinating the tikka

½ cup thick curd

2 tbsp fresh cream

2 tbsp desiccated coconut

1 tbsp poppy seeds

1 tsp corn flour

1 ½  tbsp ginger-garlic paste

¾  tsp garam masala powder

1 tbsp lemon juice + 1 tsp for drizzling on the kebabs after cooking

1 tbsp oil

2 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper + ½ tsp for garnish

1 tbsp finely chopped coriander + 1 tsp for garnish

1 tbsp kasuri methi

Salt as per taste

½ tsp red chilli powder

Melted butter for cooking (you can also use oil)


Note – if you are using wooden kebab skewers then immerse them in cold water for half hour. This will prevent them from burning during the cooking process.



  1. Wash and cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Peel and quarter the onion and then peel apart its layers. Cut the pepper into 1 inch pieces. De-seed the tomato and cut that into 1 inch pieces.
  2. In a small bowl, add the cream. Beat it with a small spoon or fork so that it becomes even and not lumpy in texture. Mix the cornflour in it till it is well amalgamated.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the curd. Add the cornflour and cream mix to this. Add the remaining ingredients (except the coriander and lemon juice that are to be held in reserve for later). Mix well till all ingredients combine well.
  4. Tip in the chicken, onion, tomato and pepper pieces and mix well to coat them with this mixture. Check for seasoning and adjust salt.
  5. Let the chicken marinate for 1-2 hours. I prefer to do the marinating overnight. The more you marinate the more succulent your kebab shall turn out.
  1. Post marinating, skewer the chicken into barbecue skewers by alternating with the peppers, onion and tomatoes. Your tikka skewers are ready.
  2. Drizzle some butter on top of the tikkas
  3. Heat your girdle pan and make it really hot. Brush it with oil to ensure that the meat does not stick to it. Note – the pan needs to be sizzling hot so that when you place the tikkas on it, a sizzling sound can be heard.
  4. After placing your tikkas on the pan lower the heat to minimum and grill for about 10 minutes on each side. Remember to brush on some butter or oil on the tikka when you turn them over. If the sides look undone, then with the help of tongs pick up the tikka and grill on the sides for a minute each.
  5. Once done, remove and sprinkle with some chopped coriander and some coarsely pounded pepper. Squeeze some lemon juice on top.
  6. Serve hot with mint chutney (get your mint chutney recipe here –

Note – after grilling on the girdle pan, I like to sear the meat a bit directly on the stove top. To do that, I put a layer of aluminium foil under the gas burner (that helps to catch the drips and makes cleaning up easier). I place a wire mesh for grilling on top, brush it with some oil (this stops the tikka from sticking to it) and heat it. Then I place the cooked kebab skewers directly on top of the mesh and rotate them for about 2 minutes. They need to be turned frequently to avoid burning. Doing this adds that slight char/singe to the meat which we get if we cook them in a clay tandoor.

Classic Murg tikka (chiken tikka)

About Sonal Singh

I believe that life is a repertoire of anecdotes. The various situations that we encounter, the many incidents of every day, the people we meet, our conversations with them; all make life a melange of tales. And, that is what I attempt to capture through my writing. My cooking is no different! It reflects my love for travel and my love for innovation. The kitchen is my happy place. So, even though by vocation I am a recruiter (, by passion I am a writer, home chef and a hodophile.

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