Tawa Chicken

Today we’re unlocking the secrets to making the most ah-mazing tawa chicken. Why tawa chicken, you ask? Well, let’s just say this sizzling, tandoor-free preparation packs a serious punch of smoky, charred tastiness unlike any basic chicken dish you’ve had.

We’re talking hunks of juicy, marinated chicken cooked directly on a blazing hot tawa (a thick, circular griddle). You need to cook it until it is crispy and charred to perfection. Each bite delivers a flavor explosion of warming spices with a smokiness that’ll transport your taste buds straight to a bustling Delhi street stall. 


Intrigued yet? Before we jump into the nitty gritty, let’s talk tawas. Don’t have a legit cast iron tawa lying around? No sweat – a sturdy non-stick skillet can work just fine for home cooks. But traditional tawas provide unbeatable high heat and flavor that regular pans just can’t match. 

Enough chit-chat – let’s get into the step-by-step guide for making stellar tawa chicken at home!


Preparing Marinade: The Key to Juicy, Flavor-Packed Chicken

With tawa chicken, the marinade is where all that big, bold flavor comes from. It’s critical to get it right! A good marinade packs a punch with the a mix of ingredients:

  1. Yogurt or lemon juice for that glorious tang and tenderizing power
  2. Oils like mustard, olive or avocado to help spices bloom
  3. A killer blend of aromatics and spices (more on that shortly)

For best results, marinate your chicken for at least 2 hours – overnight is even better. The longer, the merrier so that chicken soaks up every ounce of flavor!

P.S. Marinade not only amps up flavor, but also leads to incredible char. Those yogurt-based marinades help the chicken char and crisp up divinely on the blazing tawa!


The Spice is Keyw: Building Your Aromatic Base

So what spices should you be using? For an authentic, tongue-tingling taste, focus on these key players:

  • Garlic & ginger
  • Red chili powder or cayenne 
  • Garam masala
  • Turmeric powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Cumin
  • Paprika 
  • Black pepper

I like adding a dash of earthy fenugreek for an extra punch, but that’s optional. You can play around with the blend and ratios to suit your spice cravings.

Once you’ve got your aromatic base down, don’t hesitate to add things up with extras like cilantro, mint, lemon or lime zest, and crushed tomatoes.


Marinating the Chicken

With your marinade and spice mix sorted, it’s time to let that chicken soak up all that flavor. Simply mix together the following:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs and/or breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 cup plain yogurt or lemon juice  
  • 2-3 tbsp oil  
  • 2-4 tbsp spice blend (make extra for garnishing later)
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • Salt to taste

Give it all a nice massage, cover and let it marinate for 2 hours minimum (overnight is better). When you’re ready to cook, take it out and let it come to room temp before hitting the tawa.


Cooking Your Tawa Chicken

Now the hard part’s done – now it’s time to fire up that tawa or skillet! Here’s how to get that signature smoky sear:

1) Get the tawa ripping hot over high heat, then reduce to medium-high 

2) Working in batches, add chunks of marinated chicken in a single layer – no overcrowding!

3) Let chicken sizzle away for 2-3 minutes until a nice char develops underneath before flipping

4) Keep flipping and cooking for another 5-7 minutes until chicken is crispy and cooked through

5) Remove each batch to a plate and keep warm  

6) For extra char, kick up heat to high after each batch and let tawa get blazing

7) Finish chicken with a sprinkle of the remaining dry spice blend


Tawa Too Hot to Handle? Avoid Flare-ups!

As your tawa gets hotter and hotter, watch out for charring spices or marinade causing flare-ups and burning. Keep a lid or baking sheet nearby to cover the pan and cut off the air supply if needed.


Pro tip: Brush or drizzle tawa with oil after each batch to cool things down and create a non-stick surface for the next round.

Once all your batches of chicken are crispy, charred and cooked through. You have to pile it all onto a serving platter and garnish with:

  • Sliced red onion
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Lemon or lime wedges 
  • Extra sprinkle of dry spice blend
  • Chaat masala (optional)

For an extra flourish, sizzle up some sliced onions, chilies or a dollop of butter right on the tawa. Next, pour the hot oil or melted ghee over top. It will leave stunning aroman and flavor.


Don’t Forget the Sides to Enhance the Taste

Sure, this tawa chicken is tasty enough to eat straight off the plate. But it’s also phenomenal paired with fresh naan, roti or paratha for scoopin’ up every last morsel.


For creamier things, you can try cooling sides like cucumber raita, mint chutney or even a simple lemon-olive oil dressing. The complementary flavors balance out the chicken’s mega spice factor.


There you have it, folks – authentic, irresistible tawa chicken fit for the most discerning curry lover! Sure, it takes a little hard work…but I guarantee the smoky, spicy payoff is worth every second of prep. 


If you are still not feeling like making tawa chicken at home or lacking some ingredients, you can try Punjabi Meat Shop’s signature tawa chicken in Brampton. But don’t stop there – grab some garlic naan, velvety butter chicken, or spicy mutton curry for a true feast. With freshly made classics like kharora soap and fish pakoras too, your cravings for authentic Indian dishes await right here in Brampton.

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