This is a staple in my household – I use this for just a casual dinner with the family or when I have people over for dinner. It is always a hit with Indians and non-Indians because it is spicy (so it is good for the Indian palate) but not too spicy (and therefore works for those not too used to the aggressive Indian flavors). I find that among my friends, those that frequent Indian restaurants in the US are very familiar with this dish. Mine is an easy to follow version of this recipe and very authentic. You can use boneless chicken breasts for this recipe but I prefer the boneless thighs because they stay moist and tender during the grilling process. If you can’t find boneless thighs, then breast meat can be a good substitute as well. Alternatively one can also use chicken drumsticks (with bones) and then eliminate the use of skewers.
1. Remove the fat from the chicken thighs by cutting it off (as shown in the picture).
2. Cut the chicken thighs into two square inch pieces.
3. Peel the garlic cloves and ginger and cut them into medium sized pieces (it is easier to mash them up when they are placed in a mortar pestle).
4. Mash both the ginger and garlic in a mortar pestle (I prefer this) or use a food processor to make a rough paste of them (do not grind them too much otherwise the marinade will taste bitter).
5. Prepare the marinade by thoroughly combining the yogurt, olive oil, juice of one lemon, half of the Shaan tandoori masala packet and the ginger and garlic paste. Do NOT add any salt because the Shaan masala already has salt in it!
6. Mix the cut chicken pieces with the marinade very thoroughly and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. I try to marinade for 24 hours or so – the longer you keep the chicken the more tender it will be.
7. When you are ready to cook the kabobs, take the marinated chicken out of the refrigerated and bring it to room temperature and skewer it (as shown in the picture). (Important tip – although most kitchen stores sell metal skewers, I prefer the flat ones sold at Arab grocery stores because they keep the chicken pieces from twisting when placed on the grill. The chicken pieces tend to rotate themselves on the round stemmed skewers and they don’t get cooked evenly on both sides).
8. Heat the grill (although gas grills work just fine, I prefer charcoal grills because the chicken gets a smoky flavor with charcoal and tastes a little better).
9. Place the skewers over the grate and cook each side till the chicken is cooked thoroughly (usually 9-10 minutes on each side – depending on how hot your grill is!). You could take a piece off the skewer to check for done-ness.
10. Remove the chicken pieces from the skewers and squeeze the juice of the second lemon over it.
11. Serve with naan or any flat bread, mint raita (yogurt sauce) and a simple salad on the side.