Tikka (food)

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Tikka means small piece, in Azerbaijan "tika kabab", Turkish and Azerbaijan origin
Paneer Tikka served in a restaurant in Mumbai, India.
Course Hors d'oeuvre
Region or state Indian Subcontinent
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsMeat, paneer, marinade, yogurt, spices or curry
Variations Chicken Tikka Masala, Paneer Tikka Masala

Tikka (pronounced [ʈɪkkaː]) is a dish consisting of pieces of meat or vegetarian alternatives, with its origins tracing back to the ancient Babylon. The term 'tikka' was given in the mughal era. [1] [2] It is made by marinating the pieces in spices and yogurt, and cooking them in a tandoor. Tikka is popular throughout the Indian subcontinent and also in countries such as Great Britain.



Tikka is a Chaghatai word which has been commonly combined with the Hindi-Urdu word masala—itself derived from Arabic— with the combined word originating from UK English. [1] [2] The Chaghatai word Tikka itself is a derivation of the Common Turkic word tikkü, which means "piece" or "chunk". [3] [4]


The precise origin of the dish is uncertain. Recipes for cooked meat enriched with spices and mixed within a sauce date back to 1700 BCE found on cuneiform tablets near Babylon, credited to the Sumerians. [5] During the Mughal dynasty, the Mughals called"boneless pieces of cooked meat" Tikka to India. [6]

There are different varieties of the dish, both meat inclusive and vegetarian. Generally, the dish is defined as "an Indian dish of small pieces of meat or vegetables marinated in a spice mixture". [7]


Tikka consists of boneless pieces of meat or vegetarian alternatives such as paneer, which are marinated in spices and yogurt and subsequently strung through a skewer to be cooked. [3] It is generally cooked in a tandoor and served dry. [3]


Indian-subcontinent variations

The Indian variations of Tikka are the roots of the Western variations, including Chicken tikka and Paneer tikka , which are generally served dry.

Cross-cultural variations

Regular chicken and paneer tikka have been combined with dishes from other cultures such as Mexican cuisine to create hybrid dishes such as Tikka Masala Burritos, which are served with either chicken or paneer as their main ingredient. [8]


In Britain

A study was undertaken in the 1990s that revealed British interest in foreign food, with chicken tikka being a favourite filling in the British Rail sandwich. [9]

In India

A study of 670 foreign tourists at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, attempted to show the street food preferences of foreign tourists in the city, along with the reason for their selection. Of the 17 most preferred street foods, chicken tikka was the most favoured, with tourists preferring mildly flavoured foods that are hygienically prepared. [10]

During the cricket World Cup in 2018, restaurants in the host city served dishes named after cricket players using cricket terminology. [11] For instance, paneer tikka was renamed Dhoni da Tikka after former Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and chicken tikka was renamed Virat's Straight Drive after Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli. [11]

Preservation and quality

Paneer tikka

Paneer tikka has a shelf-life of 1–2 days, which can be increased up to 28 days using modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) technology. [12] Vacuum packaging is most effective as it is able to limit chemical changes during storage, increasing the refrigerated shelf-life of paneer tikka to 40 days. [13]

Related Research Articles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chicken tikka masala</span> Dish consisting of boneless chicken pieces in curry sauce

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chicken tikka</span> Boneless chicken pieces cooked in a tandoor

Chicken tikka is a chicken dish popularised in the Indian subcontinent during the Mughal era. The dish is popular in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the United Kingdom. It is traditionally small pieces of boneless chicken baked using skewers on a brazier called angeethi or over charcoal after marinating in Indian spices and dahi (yogurt)—essentially a boneless version of tandoori chicken. The word tikka is a Persian word, meaning "bits" or "pieces". It is also a chicken dish served in Punjabi cuisine. The Kashmiri version of the dish, however, is grilled over red-hot coals, and does not always contain boneless pieces. The pieces are brushed with ghee at intervals to increase its flavour, while being continuously fanned. It is typically eaten with green coriander and tamarind chutney served with onion rings and lemon, or used in preparing a Authentic chicken tikka masala.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tandoori masala</span> Spice mixture used in Indian cuisine

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Awadhi cuisine is a cuisine native to the Awadh region in Northern India. The cooking patterns of Lucknow are similar to those of Central Asia, the Middle East, and Northern India and western India with the cuisine comprising both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. The Awadh region has been influenced by Mughal cooking techniques, and the cuisine of Lucknow bears similarities to those of Central Asia, Kashmir, Punjab and Hyderabad. The city is also known for its Nawabi foods.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tandoor</span> Cylindrical clay oven used in South Asian cooking

A tandoor is a large urn-shaped oven, usually made of clay, originating from the Indian subcontinent. Since antiquity, tandoors have been used to bake unleavened flatbreads, such as roti and naan, as well as to roast meat. The tandoor is predominantly used in Western Asian, Central Asian, South Asian, and Horn of African cuisines.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Malaysian Indian cuisine</span> Cuisine of ethnic Indian communities of Malaysia

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paneer tikka</span> Indian cuisine

Paneer tikka or Paneer Soola or Chhena Soola is an Indian dish made from chunks of paneer/ chhena marinated in spices and grilled in a tandoor. It is a vegetarian alternative to chicken tikka and other meat dishes. It is a popular dish that is widely available in India and countries with an Indian diaspora.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paneer tikka masala</span>

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