Spiced Chicken Skewers with Pickling Spices, Mustard & Chilli

Spiced Chicken Skewers with Pickling Spices, Mustard & Chilli

Spiced Chicken Skewers with Pickling Spices, Mustard & Chilli excerpted from Tandoori Home Cooking: Over 70 Classic Indian Tandoori Recipes to Cook at Home by Maunika Gowardhan. Photography copyright © Issy Croker 2023.

Tandoori Home Cooking: Over 70 Classic Indian Tandoori Recipes to Cook at Home by Maunika Gowardhan

Cooking in a tandoor (clay oven) is a technique that dates back to the Bronze Age, and traditionally has always been about bringing the flavor from the clay oven to the vegetables, meats and fresh breads cooked in it. Communal kitchens have centred around the Tandoor for generations across the northern frontier of India, making their way through the Indian subcontinent, and always providing warmth, good food and flavor.

In Tandoori Home Cooking, Maunika Gowardhan, bestselling author of Thali, takes you on a tour to share an explosion of tandoori flavours, spices, recipes and culinary heritage found across the streets and restaurants of India, with dishes that can be made in conventional ovens and grills in your home all year round.

From Aslam Butter Chicken and Zafrani Paneer Tikka, along with Apple, Beet and Mooli Salad and Garlic and Ghee Naan, to Mango and Pistachio Kulfi and Jal Jeera, there is a dynamic selection of classic recipes, all of which can easily be created at home.

With meal planners to guide you on what dishes can be paired together, Tandoori Home Cooking arms home cooks with everything you need to bring tandoori cooking into your own home.

Tandoori Home Cooking: Over 70 Classic Indian Tandoori Recipes to Cook at Home by Maunika Gowardhan is available at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Indigo.ca.   

Spiced Chicken Skewers with Pickling Spices, Mustard & Chilli


I’m such a fan of achari spice mix that all my books include recipes that celebrate it. Achari Murgh Tikka has always been a family favourite. I first ate it as a young girl when our family visited Khyber at Fort in Mumbai, where it always feels like a special evening and the food is delicious. The decor is old school with painted murals on the walls that are dimly lit by decorative chandeliers from the ’80s. Ghazals play in the background with chatter from the tables. It’s like going back in time to your safe space. The menu is limited and focuses primarily on the cuisine from the north-west frontier of India. The achari spice mix includes fennel, cumin, mustard and nigella seeds, all coarsely crushed, but the secret is definitely using mustard oil. I recommend keeping a small bottle in your storecupboard. The pungent, savoury flavour lends an intense taste to the tikka.


You will need wooden skewers soaked in cold water for 30 minutes

640 g (1 lb 6½ oz) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp chickpea (gram) flour

1 tbsp mustard oil

3 tbsp Greek yoghurt

salt, to taste

melted butter, to baste

juice of ½ lime, to garnish

For the marinade

6 garlic cloves

5 cm (2 in) ginger root

1 heaped tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (or mild chilli powder)

juice of ½ lime

For the spice mix

1½ tsp fennel seeds

1½ tsp cumin seeds

1½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp nigella seeds

½ tsp fenugreek seeds

To make the marinade, grind the garlic and ginger with a splash of water in a blender to a smooth paste. Put this paste in a large mixing bowl with the chilli powder and lime juice, then add the chicken. Mix well and leave to marinate for 20 minutes.

Heat a small, dry frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat. Put all the spice mix ingredients in the pan and toast for 2 minutes, shaking the pan a few times. Transfer the toasted spices to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

Using the same pan, melt the butter over a medium heat and then add the chickpea (gram) flour. Stirring well to get rid of any lumps, roast the flour for about 2–3 minutes, or until it has a nutty aroma and changes colour.

Once cool, grind the toasted spices to a coarse powder
in a pestle and mortar. Add the toasted spice mix to the marinated chicken along with the roasted chickpea flour mixture, mustard oil and yoghurt. Season to taste. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 2 hours, or preferably overnight.

Preheat the grill (broiler) to a medium-high heat. Line a baking tray with foil and place a wire rack over the tray.

Thread the chicken pieces onto the soaked wooden skewers and place them on the wire rack. Place the tray under the grill and cook for 16–18 minutes, turning halfway through cooking and basting with the melted butter, until the chicken is lightly charred around the edges and cooked through.

Take the chicken off the skewers and serve on a large platter with the lime juice squeezed over. Serve with roti, pickled chillies and green chutney.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Hardie Grant Books.

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