Lamb Tikka

Lamb tikka is a very popular starter in Indian restaurants. It is cooked in a traditional tandoor, which can be found in almost Indian restaurants anywhere in the world. It is prepared with boneless lamb pieces, marinated in yoghurt and spices and herbs based mixture and cooked in tandoor. Normally, we do not have a tandoor at home, but we can get that restaurant style red and charred colour on the lamb tikka by just cooking in the oven as per my instructions in this recipe.

Marination plays a vital role in enhancing the flavours of lamb tikka. Lamb pieces are marinated with spices, yoghurt, and lime juice for about 6 hours to overnight. Lamb tikka can be served as a starter with salad and mint sauce or as a side dish with any pulao or fried rice along with any raitha (mixture of onion, tomato, green chillies and yoghurt).

Preparation time: 30 mins (excluding marination time)

Cooking time: 20 mins

Cuisine: North Indian

Spiciness: Medium

Serves: 3 to 4

Ingredients

  • Boneless lamb pieces – 500 gms
  • First marinade

  • Ginger and garlic paste – 1 tsp
  • Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Lemon juice – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – 3/4 tsp
  • Second marinade

  • Yoghurt (thick curd) – 1/2 cup
  • Kashmiri chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Roasted cumin powder – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala- 1/2 tsp
  • Crushed chilli flakes – 1 tsp
  • Mace and nutmeg powder (optional) – 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Green chillies (chopped, mild) – 2 tsp
  • Coriander leaves – 4 tbsp
  • Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Salt - as per taste
  • Optional additional ingredients

  • Chaat masala
  • Lemon wedges or lemon juice
  • Butter/ghee for basting/brushing

Method

  • Cut the meat into 2 inch pieces or ask the butcher to do so.
  • Dry roast cumin seeds on a non-stick pan or tava on a low flame for a few minutes until the colour changes and the aroma is released. Allow to cool and grind to a powder.
  • Making hung curd

  • Take a bowl and place a muslin cloth in tea strainer. Keep the tea strainer on the bowl. Pour the fresh curd. Bring the four corners of the muslin cloth together and tie one corner tightly around the rest. Gently press. You will see the whey dripping. Now optionally place a small bowl or lid on the tied muslin. Keep the whole thing in the fridge for 4 to 5 hours or even overnight.
  • When you open the cloth after resting in the fridge, your will see that the hung curd is ready. The bowl will contain the liquid from the yoghurt.
  • Marination is done in two steps.

    First marination

  • Mix all the ingredients for the first marination in a bowl. Apply the marinade all over the lamb chops. Rub nicely so that marinade gets to all of the meat. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.
  • Second marination

  • Take a wider bowl and add the hung curd/yoghurt along with the other second marinade ingredients. Mix well and keep it ready. Check the seasoning.
  • Add the boneless lamb pieces to the second marinade and mix well.
  • Refrigerate for atleast 6 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Take the marinated lamb out of the fridge about 30 to 40 mins before you start cooking to bring it to the room temperature. Don’t rub or mix again. You can see that the marinated meat has left some liquid.
  • Baking

  • Preheat the oven for 10 to 15 mins at 220 degrees celcius and keep it ready. My oven is a gas oven. You can adjust the timings according to your oven.
  • Place the rack (broiler or oven rack), which is brushed with oil, on top of the roasting pan. Pierce each meat piece into the skewers, 5 to 6 pieces attached to each other. Place the meat skewers on the rack or put it on the skewers.
  • Keep the baking tray in the middle part of oven and cook for 7 mins on one side. Check in between so that it is not burnt and/or dry.
  • Turn the skewers and baste the lamb tikka with ghee/butter (both sides) and cook for another 7 mins or until the lamb pieces are just cooked.
  • Now remove the lamb tikka from the oven and keep it aside. Change from oven to grill to give the lamb tikka the charred colour like the tandoor-cooked ones you get in restaurants.
  • Baste the lamb pieces with ghee/ melted butter. Keep the baking tray with rack on which skewers are placed, very near to grill to get the charred colour. Keep an eye on the lamb tikka, as it should not be over charred or burnt. Cook for 2 to 3 mins each side.
  • Remove the lamb tikka skewers from the grill and keep it aside.
  • Take aluminium foil and brush it with a little butter. Place the hot lamb tikka and brush little butter on top of the chops. Wrap or enclose the foil for 3 to 4 mins to make the lamb tikka juicy and delicious.
  • Serve as a starter with a drizzle of lemon juice and onion salad. Alternatively serve as a side dish with any pulao and raitha.

Notes

  • You can use the same marinade ingredients for lamb tikka, which I have used for the tandoori lamb chops.
  • For mace and nutmeg powder (jaiphal and javithri), I added 10 mace flowers, one small nutmeg and 10 to 15 green cardamoms, in a mixer and ground to powder, store in an air tight container.
  • Instead of mace and nutmeg, you can akso add green cardamom powder a pinch.
  • Add chilli powder and green chilli as per the heat of your chillies and your state.
  • Use thick curd or hung curd for the marination.
  • Cook the meat as per it size and oven temperature.

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