Grilled Tandoori Turkey Tikka Skewers
A re-take on classic Chicken Tikka with a delicious and lean protein - Turkey, served with side of cooling mint-yogurt sauce! #TryTurkey
Today, I have added twist to classic Indian Tandoori Chicken Tikka with grilled turkey skewers Indian-style! This 10-minute prep recipe with simple to find pantry-ingredients can make Turkey, star of your next tailgating grilling!
If you like Indian cuisine, I'm sure you have had Tandooi Tikka or Tikka Masala in your favorite Indian restaurant?! With this Tikka recipe, I'm giving you option to enjoy same Indian restaurant-style tikka flavors but with your choice of protein!
When Turkey National Federation asked me to share one of my favorite protein i.e. Turkey, with you.. I just jumped at the opportunity. I'm fan of serving turkey all year round in my weekday menu. Healthier, lean and deliciously rich protein, it can be used interchangeably with chicken with little adjustment in cooking time.
In summers, weekend grilled dinners are favorite of everyone in my family. I too love grilling since it is the best way to cook protein in low-fat, quicker and yet flavorful. Plus a good does of veggies in salads or sides add nutrient value to the meal. Often, I love to bring some turkey, and some chicken meat for delicious variation in weekend grilling menu. Also, worth mention, not just for variation, turkey is also easier on pocket vs other meats.
So, we bring turkey breast or thighs and some chicken towards weekend and leave to marinate overnight. On Saturday, grilled lunch/dinner is ready under 15 minutes and then we easily relax or run important errands for rest of the day!
Like this Turkey Tikka is one of favorite of Vishal. Since he is in-charge of outdoor grilling, I often just handover the marinated turkey to him, and quickly make mint-yogurt sauce and few naans in meantime. In no time, dinner is ready and often neighbors can't resist asking, "Something delicious is on the grill, today?!!"
When succulent marinated spiced turkey kababs are cooking on the grill, with garlic naan getting hot sear on the side... such delicious comments are so so obvious! ;) You know what I mean?!
Tikka marinade uses very simple ingredient - some yogurt, lime juice, oil, paprika, and some garam masala. Now, if you can't find garam masala, you can use good quality hot Madras Curry powder too.
You might think, the quantity of marinade seems very less for 1.5 pounds of boneless cubes turkey... But actually it is just sufficient. A yogurt based marinade like Tikka marinade needs to cling to meat cubes rather than dipped in it. So, you don't need 2 cups of marinade for 2 cups of meat. It should just be enough to coat the turkey. Because of this difference, the marinade doe not drip-off when turkey is grilled and rather it get cooked sealing-in the flavors which keeps meat juicy and moist. Also, every bite is full of flavor...
I can promise you; this Turkey Tikka will be even more flavorful and moist than one you get in restaurant.
Cooking Whole vs Cubed Turkey?
For Tikka, I prefer the kabab size small cubes of boneless turkey breast. Due to small size, the flavor of marinade penetrates well and it cooks faster on the grill. However, you can also marinate bone-in full turkey thighs or breast and grill them just like you get Indian eateries. I just will ask to leave turkey to marinate for at-least 30 minutes to overnight. Regardless of kind of meat, longer marination in tikka marinade results in tender, flavorful, and juicer grilled meat.
Friends, a delicious grilled turkey dinner is as easy as bringing the turkey and switching-on the grill! try some today!
Naan bread recipe and a few more Turkey recipes from my recipe repertoire:
Grilled Tandoori Turkey Tikka Skewers
- Tikka Marinade for Turkey
- 3 tbsp Yogurt (thick yogurt, such as Greek yogurt)
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste (or 4-5 garlic cloves grated and 2 inch ginger grated)
- 3 tbsp Lime (juice)
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder
- 1/2 tsp Chili Powder (or cayenne)
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Food Color (orange, optional)
- 1.5 lbs Turkey (I have used boneless turkey breast, cubed. Can also use turkey thighs)
- 1-2 tbsp Butter - Salted (optional, for brushing the tikka while grilling)
- For Serving
- 1 Bell Pepper (red or green, sliced to small squares to fit skeweres)
- 1 Red Onion (sliced to small squares to fit skeweres)
- 2-3 Lime (cut into wedges for serving)
- Mint-Yogurt Sauce
- 1/2 Cup Mint (handful of mint leaves)
- 1/2 Cup Yogurt (thick yogurt)
- 1 tbsp Lime (juice)
- Salt and Black Pepper (to taste)
1. Tikka Marinade: Mix all marinade ingredients in a wide bowl. Add cubed turkey and mix well to coat meat into the tikka marinade fully. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at-least for 30 minutes. Additional Notes: If using wooden skewers, soak'em in water for 20-30 minutes.2. Mint-Yogurt Sauce: In blender or food processor jar, add all Mint-Yogurt Sauce ingredients and process to make smooth puree. If it appears too thick, add 1-2 tbsp milk. Remove in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. Grilled Turkey Tikka: Preheat gas grill or indoor grill pan. Skew turkey cubes into wooden or metal skewers.4. I prefer to grill veggies (bell pepper and onion separate so that veggies don't burn while I grill turkey fully.)
5. Grill turkey on preheated grill until fully cooked with ends little charred. For even cooking, turn skewers once or twice while grilling and brush with melted butter or olive oil.6. Serve: Serve turkey skewers hot from the grill with grilled veggies, mint sauce and some grilled Indian naan! enjoy!
A good grilled tikka needs a good splash of lime or lemon! Do serve'em on side!
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