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Maunika's Achari Murgh Tikka

Maunika Gowardhan, chef, author, and food writer

Serves: 4

Maunika's Achari Murgh Tikka
Photo by:  

Issy Croker

Excerpted from Tandoori Home Cooking: Over 70 Classic Indian Tandoori Recipes to Cook at Home by Maunika Gowardhan. Copyright © 2023. Available from Hardie Grant Publishing.

I’m such a fan of achari spice mix that all my books include recipes that celebrate it. Achari Murgh Tikka has always been a family favourite. I first ate it as a young girl when our family visited Khyber at Fort in Mumbai, where it always feels like a special evening and the food is delicious. The decor is old school with painted murals on the walls that are dimly lit by decorative chandeliers from the ’80s. Ghazals play in the background with chatter from the tables. It’s like going back in time to your safe space. The menu is limited and focuses primarily on the cuisine from the north-west frontier of India. The achari spice mix includes fennel, cumin, mustard and nigella seeds, all coarsely crushed, but the secret is definitely using mustard oil. I recommend keeping a small bottle in your storecupboard. The pungent, savoury flavour lends an intense taste to the tikka.

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  • 640 grams (1lb 6½ oz) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons chickpea (gram) flour
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • 3 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
  • Surya Salt, to taste
  • Melted butter, to baste
  • Juice of ½ lime, to garnish
For the marinade
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 5 cm (2 in) ginger root
  • 1 heaped teaspoon powdered Byadgi Chillies
  • Juice of ½ lime
For the spice mix


  1. To make the marinade, grind the garlic and ginger with a splash of water in a blender to a smooth paste. Put this paste in a large mixing bowl with the chilli powder and lime juice, then add the chicken. Mix well and leave to marinate for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat a small, dry frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat. Put all the spice mix ingredients in the pan and toast for 2 minutes, shaking the pan a few times. Transfer the toasted spices to a small bowl and set aside to cool.
  3. Using the same pan, melt the butter over a medium heat and then add the chickpea (gram) flour. Stirring well to get rid of any lumps, roast the flour for about 2–3 minutes, or until it has a nutty aroma and changes colour.
  4. Once cool, grind the toasted spices to a coarse powder in a pestle and mortar. Add the toasted spice mix to the marinated chicken along with the roasted chickpea flour mixture, mustard oil and yoghurt. Season to taste. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 2 hours, or preferably overnight.
  5. Preheat the grill (broiler) to a medium-high heat. Line a baking tray with foil and place a wire rack over the tray. Thread the chicken pieces onto the soaked wooden skewers and place them on the wire rack. Place the tray under the grill and cook for 16–18 minutes, turning halfway through cooking and basting with the melted butter, until the chicken is lightly charred around the edges and cooked through. Take the chicken off the skewers and serve on a large platter with the lime juice squeezed over. Serve with roti, pickled chillies and green chutney.

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