Chicken tikka is a tasty and protein-rich food in the Pakistani cuisine. It is a low-fat dish made with chicken and various spices and herbs. It can either be grilled or baked. The spices and herbs used in this dish, specifically garlic paste and ginger paste, don’t just provide necessary flavor and nutrients but can also relieve you of common health problems and strengthen your body’s immune system.
Before we go into detail on how to make chicken tikka, let’s briefly discuss the ingredients that we will use to prepare this dish. Garlic, or lassan, is one such ingredient that is good for our health. It has long been known to improve overall health. It has been found to have a wide range of health benefits from protecting the heart to lowering cholesterol to purifying the blood. Specifically, garlic contains allicin, a chemical which functions, very much like an antibiotic and prevents germs from growing and reproducing. Allicin is an anti-cancer agent, and it increases protection from stomach cancer by promoting the production of protective enzymes in the stomach. This explains why garlic is famed for boosting the body’s immune function and protection. Garlic also has germanium, another anti-cancer agent that helps block cancer causing agents like nitrosamine and aflatoxin. In inorganic form, garlic is used to treat anemia. It increases bile production and regulates fat levels of the liver. Garlic also promotes the health of the circulatory system by lowering blood pressure, bad cholesterol levels and increasing good cholesterol levels (hyperlink to “aloo ghosht”), thereby reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Ginger, or adrak, is another ingredient in chicken tikka, and is known to cure and prevent illnesses and problems like headaches, cold, asthma, cough, fatigue, flu, sore throat, and diabetes. It is popularly used to treat flatulence, nausea and motion sickness. Aside from that, it also has antifungal, antiseptic and antibacterial properties which inhibit germ growth in body. Like garlic, it also promotes circulatory system health by increasing blood flow and promotes sweating resulting in an increased metabolic rate. Nowadays, ginger is used to treat cataracts, kidney stones and even erectile deficiencies.
Various other ingredients include yoghurt, onions, turmeric powder, and cumin powder. Curcumin which is found in turmeric powder or haldi, can slow down the buildup of plaques on the brain, the main cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric has been found to help with digestion as well as guard against heart attacks and cancer of the colon. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, and is great for skin applications. Yoghurt is a brilliant source of calcium and vitamin D. It is also beneficial for the intestinal tract as well as for fighting bacteria in the stomach. Onions contain an agent called diallyl sulfide which prompts the body to make more of the cancer fighting molecule glutathione-S-transferase. These are a family of enzymes that play an important role in the detoxification of harmful bacteria in the stomach. Cumin powder contains phytochemicals which are found in plants. Several phytochemicals, including those in cumin, have been found to block various hormone actions and metabolic pathways that are associated with cancer and heart disease. The phytochemicals appear to work alone as well as in combination with vitamins and other nutrients in foods to prevent cancer. The main anti-cancer agents found in cumin are carevol and limonene.
Chicken is, of course, the main ingredient of this recipe. It is delicious, nutritious and is a great source of lean, low fat protein. Protein is a key element for the human diet, especially for younger people, because the body uses it to create new cells and maintain or repair existing cells. The body also uses protein to produce enzymes, substances that start specific important reactions in the body such as digestion, metabolism and storage of fat. Chicken is also a good source of niacin (vitamin B3), which aids in metabolism; vitamin B6, which is important for the immune system and blood sugar level maintenance; biotin (vitamin B7), which helps cell growth; and vitamin B12, which is involved in nerve cell and red blood cell maintenance. Chicken also contains iron which is necessary for oxygen transport and cell growth as well as zinc for proper immune system functioning and DNA synthesis. Chicken is a better source of protein than red meat because it contains less saturated fat and saturated fat can lead to increased LDL (bad cholesterol).
To prepare chicken tikka, you will need 1 kilogram of chicken breast (debones and preferably skinless), garlic paste, ginger paste, turmeric powder, yoghurt, cumin powder, onions, and coriander leaves (dhaniya).
- 1 cup yoghurt
- 1 cup of finely chopped coriander leaves
- 2 tablespoon ginger paste
- 3 tablespoon garlic paste
- 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 kg skinless and boneless chicken
- 1 large onion cut into rings
- 1 tablespoon of chaat masala
- 3 tablespoon of garam masala
- ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder
- ½ tablespoon of cumin powder
You just need to mix all the spices and herbs together. After you combined said ingredients, set it aside and prepare the chicken. Cut the deboned chicken into desired size and make cuts into the chicken pieces. The cuts will not only help cook the chicken better, but it will also help it absorb the spices better. Rub and coat the chicken pieces with the spices and marinate for a few hours, or even overnight, in the refrigerator. After marinating, you can either grill the chicken pieces or bake it an oven until cooked. If baked, it usually takes 30-35 minutes to cook at 177 degrees Celsius. Make sure to turn the chicken pieces over from time to time to make sure it is fully cooked. When the chicken pieces have been finally cooked, the cuts you have made into the chicken usually open.