Make Ahead

Zesty Tikka-inspired Marinade for Kebabs

August 12, 2012
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  • Makes 2 cups marinade for approx. 3-1/2 lbs. meat
Author Notes

I have an Indian cookbook that I picked up for $5 years ago in the bargain section of the LAST REAL BOOKSTORE in my neighborhood. I bought the book because it has beautiful photos and hoped the recipes were just as tantalizing - and they are. It was put together by a group of people who traveled all over India for great recipes and every recipe I have made from this book is terrific. The tikka recipe is wonderful and has a lot of ingredients, so I have whittled it down and made substitutions over the years. The following recipe is a kind of minimalist recipe that could be enhanced by garam masala or curry powder mix, or even tamarind or other directions.
I throw whole cloves of garlic with 1/2" cubes of ginger into the food proceesor and pulse before adding the cilantro, but this could made by hand by just mincing everything. —Sadassa_Ulna

What You'll Need
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk, full-fat yogurt, or full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 head garlic (or 1/4 cup minced)
  • 1 1" x 1" x 4" piece of ginger (or 1/4 c. minced)
  • 1-1/2 cups cilantro,including stems,loosely packed
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons hot sauce or sriracha or other hotness
  • 3-4 pounds chicken or lamb or other*
  1. * Cut meat into roughly 2" cubes (to thread on skewers later) OR, cut meat into "tenders" that are 2" wide and 4-6" long. Place in a shallow dish large enough to accommodate a big soupy marinade to be added. Even hearty fish, like monkfish, halibut, haddock or cod could be used.
  2. Peel garlic cloves and place in bowl of food processor; peel and cut ginger into 1/2" chunks and add to garlic. Pulse a few times then process into rough chopped mix, and stop to scrape sides of bowl as needed.
  3. Add cilantro to chopped mixture and process a few more seconds until green stems are small. Add remaining ingredients and pulse few times to incorporate thoroughly.
  4. Pour over chicken/meat making sure all pieces are coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or even overnight. WARNING: cover the dish tightly, then wrap in several plastic grocery bags if you want to prevent the refrigerator from smelling strongly of garlic and ginger!
  5. Before grilling pour off any excess marinade but do not wipe off meat/chicken. Thread chunks onto skewers, alternating with thin chunks of sweet onion and squares of bell pepper or other desired veggies, if making kebabs. When grilling do a test run to determine correct amount of time on grill as it will vary.

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Recipe by: Sadassa_Ulna

Growing up I was the world's pickiest eater, that is, until my children were born. Karma. Neither of my parents were much into cooking; it was the height of eating fat-free or anything with oat bran added. I taught myself some basics, mostly baking, following the guidelines of a well-worn copy of Joy of Cooking. I was a ballet dancer and a teacher suggested I lose weight. As I began reading about diet and nutrition I became interested in natural foods, which led to a job at a macrobiotic natural foods market in Center City Philadelphia; this was way before Whole Foods came to the area. I learned a lot about food in general. I ate strictly vegan for a while, although I don't now, but I still like it when a recipe can taste great without butter or bacon! In short, my approach to cooking is idiosyncratic, and I don't know very much about cooking meat or proper technique. I love to bake and I am still working on expanding my palate and my repertoire. The hardest part is getting the whole family to try new things! So aside from my food status, I am an architect who likes to garden and play music. I'm married with two kids, and I hope to get a dog someday.

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