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With coronavirus making travel a tricky and even potentially dangerous prospect this year, we’re embracing the summer staycation. All week (and all summer) long, we’ll bring you transportive flavors and travel-inspired ideas from around the world, so you can take your tastebuds on a trip and give your mind a mini vacation while you’re still at home. Here, an easy chicken tikka recipe that tastes like Bombay by way of London.

If you’ve ever asked a friend where to eat in London, it’s likely they’ll have suggested a stop at Dishoom. That’s because in a town overflowing with Indian restaurants, Dishoom stands out from its peers with a smattering of Bombay comfort food: soft naan rolled and stuffed with bacon, crispy lamb samosas crimped into triangles, and plump potato and paneer kofta, drenched in makhani sauce (an Indian gravy). 

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Related Reading: Dip Into These Essential Indian Condiments

But for those who haven’t yet made it to Dishoom in Covent Garden (or the other six locations spread across the U.K.), you’ll need only to pick up the restaurant’s cooking tome: “Dishoom: ‘From Bombay with Love’.” The blue bound book is not only filled with a slew of recipes, but it’s also replete with essays, photographs, and stories that unspool a kaleidoscopic vision of Bombay. While you cook the riches of western India, you, too, can travel to Chowpatty for sunset, or to Kyani and Co. for a mug of steaming chai and an omelette. 

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Back in your own kitchen, start with Dishoom’s recipe for chicken tikka—not chicken tikka masala (a separate beloved dish in Britain). Unlike chicken tikka masala, this dish uses nubs of chicken thighs that are thrust onto skewers, coated in a spice-flecked marinade, and grilled and basted with butter for around 15 minutes. They’re served simply charred, with a squeeze of lime, or stuffed in a chapati roll. You may not have the city chaos of Bombay—or London, for that matter—outside your door, but in the meantime you can masquerade as such by diving into mounds of fresh ginger, turmeric, chili powder, and tender strips of chicken.

Chicken Tikka Recipe

Chicken tikka masala is supposedly Britain’s favourite dish. If it’s yours, then you may be disappointed: this dish is not it. Tikka simply means piece, or chunk – so this is chicken pieces, marinated then grilled. The marinade is based on sweet vinegar, not yoghurt – and there’s not a drop of food colouring in sight. It makes a nice starter, or delicious lunch in a chapati roll.

Chicken Tikka

Serves: 4
  • 500g boneless chicken thighs, with skin
  • For the marinade: 30g fresh root ginger
  • 10g garlic (2–3 cloves)
  • 10g green chillies (2–3)
  • 30ml rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp deggi mirch chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • To grill and serve: 25g unsalted butter, melted
  • Lime wedges
  1. Cut each chicken thigh into 3 pieces and pat dry with kitchen paper. Place in a large bowl.
  2. For the marinade, blitz the ingredients together in a blender or mini food processor to a smooth paste.
  3. Spoon the marinade over the chicken pieces and turn them to coat. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for 6–24 hours.
  4. Take the marinated chicken out of the fridge 20 minutes before cooking. (If you are using wooden skewers, soak them now.)
  5. Heat the grill to high. Thread the marinated chicken onto skewers, leaving enough space between the pieces for the heat to penetrate. Grill for 12–15 minutes, turning and basting regularly with the melted butter, until deep golden brown with some charring. Check that the chicken pieces are cooked through.
  6. Let the cooked chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving, with lime wedges for squeezing.

Related Reading: How to Make Your Own Garam Masala for the Best Indian Food Ever

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Header image courtesy of Haarala Hamilton.

Amy Schulman is an associate editor at Chowhound. She is decidedly pro-chocolate.
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