Soft, tender, juicy and grilled to perfection, these cheesy chicken tikka kebabs just melt in your mouth when you eat them. The first marinade of salt and lemon juice breaks down their fibre and makes them soft and succulent. The second marinade in a blend of cream cheese, hung yoghurt and light spices, tones them down adding more moisture and flavour. Also using the right technique of grilling kicks them up a notch. They are at their best when enjoyed as soon as they are done, hot from the grill as their juices run out. Heating them over and over again affects their taste and texture, so it should be avoided. I have made them many times and I realized that marinating them for 24 hours really makes a lot of difference as it enhances the flavour and taste very much.
1 whole boneless chicken breast 1 each
1 tsp green cardamom powder
2 tbs vegetable/olive oil plus more for basting
Heavy duty tin foil – as much as you need.
1/2 cup lemon juice
Salt to taste
1/2 cup hung yoghurt
1/4 cup cream cheese
12 green cardamoms
1/2 tsp fennel powder
1/4 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
2 – 4 green chillies
1/4 cup cilantro
1. Clean, wash and cut the chicken into cubes. Drain and towel dry them.
2. Rub the chicken cubes with salt and lemon juice, cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the fridge for 15 minutes. Remove and leave to drain for sometime in a colander.
3. Prepare the second marinade by whisking together the cream cheese, hung yoghurt, ginger garlic paste, ground green chillies & cilantro paste (pound the green chillies and cilantro using a mortar and pestle with a little salt*), freshly ground cardamom, cumin and fennel powder (grind together the green cardamoms with cumin and fennel seeds in a dry grinder). *adding salt when pounding green chillies brings out the flavour. If you pound them without salt they give a slightly bitter taste.
4. Add the drained chicken cubes to this marinade, mix well, then spoon in the oil and mix together again. Leave this to marinate for 15- 20 hours in the fridge.
5. Brush the metal skewers with oil and set them aside.
6. Cut the bell peppers and onions into dices. Sprinkle them with with salt, pepper and a little of the cream cheese marinade.
7. Start skewering the chicken cubes alternating with bell peppers and onions. Brush them with oil and set aside.
8. Place the skewers on a foil lined cookie sheet and broil on high for 5-6 mins on each side or until just rightly done which is when they turn opaque and slightly golden. Baste them with oil before turning them over. They would become hard if you overcook them, so do not, let them be juicy and tender to melt in your mouth.
9. Slowly slide them down from the skewers on to a fresh heavy duty tin foil and quickly wrap them up to keep them hot. Use a silicon glove or a big serving fork when you do this otherwise you’ll end up scorching your hands. Remove them from the pointed end one by one, otherwise they will break.
10. Finally as a finishing touch, sprinkle a few drops of lemon juice and garam masala powder) and serve them hot with the bell peppers, onions and lemon wedges. Enjoy them with rice, naan and yoghurt mint chutney. I made plain rice pulao, cranberry sun dried tomato chutney, and salad for a change. These juicy and delicious tikka kebabs just melt in the mouth. So yummy, enjoy!