Classic Indian chicken tikka kebabs meet tacos! Cooks up quickly on the bbq or under your oven broiler, then served on tortillas with yogurt sauce and greens.
If it's Tuesday, it must be time for tacos! These Chicken Tikka Tacos bring classic Indian flavours to taco night, with easy and quick chicken skewers that can be cooked on the bbq or under the broiler in the oven.
I love to combine different flavours with tacos and these Indian-inspired tacos are a perfect example of that. Classic chicken tikka kebabs, garnished simply with lettuce, cucumber and cilantro, then served with a dollop of cooling yogurt sauce.
What is Chicken Tikka?
Chicken tikka is an Indian dish that is traditionally small pieces of boneless chicken baked or grilled on skewers after marinating in Indian spices and yogurt. The word tikka translates roughly to "bits and pieces". It differs from Tandoori Chicken in that the Tandoori version usually uses bone-in chicken.
Is Chicken Tikka the same as Chicken Tikka Masala?
No. Chicken Tikka is simply marinated and cooked or grilled chicken, usually cooked on skewers - an Indian spiced chicken kebab. Chicken Tikka Masala removes the chicken from the skewers and combines it with an Indian spiced curry sauce known as masala sauce.
Ingredient Notes for Chicken Tikka Tacos
Tortillas: I've used corn tortillas here, but flour tortillas work just as well. Go for the small ones.
Yogurt: You can use either regular or Greek plain yogurt for the marinade and the yogurt sauce.
Cucumber: English cucumbers (the long, seedless ones) are perfect for this taco. I trim off the rounded sides and matchstick those, so they all have some dark green on them. (Save the inside square for salads!)
Kashmiri chili powder: This Indian chili powder is easily available at Indian grocers or online (Amazon has it). If you don't have or can't find it, substitute with 1/8 tsp cayenne and 3/8 tsp paprika.
Cook's Notes for Chicken Tikka Tacos
Keep an eye on your chicken for the first cooking time, as your oven broiler might be hotter than mine and your chicken might cook more quickly. You don't want it to brown a lot during the first cooking period, so lower the rack if necessary. If it browns too quickly, the chicken won't be cooked, but the outside will get too charred.
Speaking of charred, you do want a little char going on here. The last couple minutes of broiling on the higher rack takes care of that. Leave it in as long as you dare :)
If you prefer, you can cook up the chicken skewers quickly and easily on the BBQ. Cook them for the first part with indirect heat, them move them over a flame to char a bit.
Be sure to season your yogurt sauce with salt and pepper to really round out the flavours. If you feel it needs a little more spice, add a touch more coriander.
The nice thing about tacos is that they are endlessly customizable. I've kept the topping here pretty simple, but feel free to add anything else you like.
I've shown 2 chicken skewers per taco for photographic purposes, but you'll only need one skewer per taco, so the 8 skewers here will make 8 small tacos.
Change it Up! Swap out the tortillas for Naan (grill it alongside the chicken!) Serve with the chicken tikka skewers, the yogurt sauce for dipping and make a lettuce, cilantro and cucumber salad on the side.
Easy Chicken Tikka Kebab Tacos
- 3 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
- 8 small corn or flour tortillas
- 8 wood skewers (6-8 inches long)
- 1/2 cup yogurt (plain, regular or Greek)
- 1/2 tsp ginger (fresh minced or paste)
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder (*see notes)
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro (finely chopped)
- Zest from 1/2 lime
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/4 tsp coriander (plus more to taste)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Match-sticked cucumber
- Leaf lettuce
- Lime Wedges
- Set skewers to soak in a bowl of water.
- Prepare the yogurt sauce by stirring together all the ingredients. Let stand at room temperature if cooking shortly or cover and refrigerate if making ahead. (Allow to come to room temperature before serving).
- Cut chicken breasts into 3 pieces length wise, then cube each piece into 3/4"-ish wide pieces.
- In a medium bowl, stir together all the marinade ingredients until well combined. Add the chicken and toss to coat well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. (For a quick version, let stand at room temperature to marinade 15-20 minutes.)
- Preheat oven broiler to High with oven rack 6-8 inches from the heat source (usually not the top rack position, but one down).
- Thread chicken pieces onto the 8 skewers, adding 6-8 pieces per skewer. Place skewers on a baking sheet.
- Place into oven under broiler for 10 minutes, then remove from oven, flip over and broil another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and flip over again. Move rack up to top position and return to oven for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until nicely browned.
- *If you'd like to warm your tortillas, wrap in foil and pop on a lower rack while you're cooking the chicken.
- Place some lettuce on the tortillas. Top with a chicken skewer per taco. Garnish with match-sticked cucumber, fresh cilantro and a dollop of yogurt sauce. Serve with a lime wedge for drizzling. To eat, simply slide the skewer out, leaving the chicken in the prepared taco.