From Tikka to Tandoori – Shakinah’s Glossary

At Shakinah, we like to keep things as authentic as possible, staying true to the roots of our Indian cuisine. This is why we’ve insisted on using the original names of our dishes in our menu, showcasing the variety and diversity of Indian cooking techniques. For those who are not as au fait with Indian cuisine, some names might be quite overwhelming, and it’s easy to get lost in all the terminology. Here’s a quick glossary we’ve compiled to help you navigate your next meal with us at Shakinah:

Tikka – In Hindi , tikka means ‘pieces’, referring to the morsels or chunks of meat prepared for a dish. For tikka to have their flavourful and aromatic characteristics, they’re marinated in a mixture of yoghurt and various spices, including cumin, coriander, garam masala and turmeric. The meat is then skewered and cooked in a tandoor, imparting a smoky and charred flavour to the dish. For those of you wondering, the difference between chicken tikka and tikka masala is that chicken tikka is served straight from the tandoor oven, while tikka masala is a dish that serves tikka in a rich and creamy sauce.





Tandoori – Tandoori dishes in Indian cuisine are known for their smoky, charred flavours and vibrant spices. Meats, seafood or paneer are marinated in yoghurt and spices such as cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric and red chilli powder for a distinct ruby colour. These are then cooked in a tandoor at very high temperatures, allowing for quick and even cooking. Tandoori dishes are not served in a sauce, but raita, a fragrant mint sauce or mango chutney make for a great accompaniment here.





Sheikh kebab – This dish has roots in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, and the technique involves skewering and moulding ground meat that has been mixed with various spices and herbs, and then grilling or cooking it. As a result, sheikh kebabs have a different shape to other kebabs, which are usually chunks of meat straight off the skewer that have not been minced.





Curries – For those who love a saucy dish, our curries are the way to go. Curries consist of pieces of meat, fish, vegetables or paneer in a luscious sauce, so these are perfect for those who love to have something to dip into in between in their meal. On our menu, you’ll notice that there are different types of curries, each one prepared with its own unique recipe. For those who prefer mild flavours, we recommend going for our bestselling cashew korma, or our delicious chana masala. Masalas tend to have a more spiced base mixed with yoghurt or coconut milk, and tomatoes are often an accompaniment to the sauce’s recipe. If you’re looking for a bit more heat, we recommend a vindaloo or madras curry, as well as the paneer kolhapuri as a vegetarian option. For an especially filling option, our saagwala and palak dishes come with a rich and green spinach sauce.





Biryani – Originating from the south of Asia, a biryani is an aromatic dish where the main ingredient is an aromatic rice. It’s often considered to be a one-pot meal, where the meat or vegetables are combined with a good portion of rice, such as pilau or basmati rice. This long-grain rice is commonly used due to its fragrance, texture, and ability to absorb flavours well.

Wintery Delights at Shakinah

Wintery Indian Delights at Shakinah

Our wise chefs come bearing gifts, and the Angel Shakinah has blessed us and our patrons with peace, love and joy. The Shakinah team is looking forward to warming you up this season with a hearty selection of comforting wintery dishes, within the perfect setting that is our restaurant in Ta’ Xbiex.

Indian cuisine, by its very nature, is a decadent and balmy spread of ingredients, making it an ideal choice during the colder months. In truth, the familiar flavours of Christmas are forever present in most Indian dishes, with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamon and star anise perennially punctuating this culinary landscape. Here are some of our recommendations for your next visit this winter:

Our Wintery Indian Meals

Chicken Soup

chicken soup - shakinah

Never underestimate the restorative powers of a good soup, and there are none quite as nourishing as our much-revered chicken soup. With an organically sourced chicken stock that is made inhouse, our soup gets its velvety warmth from a fusion of butter and cream, with cardamon, cloves and peppercorns delivering a crescendo of seasoning. And if you’re seeking a vegan alternative, our tomato sorba promises the holy grail of flavour and good health in our garlic, ginger and coriander blend.

Stuffed Mushrooms

stuffed mushrooms shakinah

At Shakinah, we take our seasonal vegetables very seriously, and mushrooms will always be a fresh staple in our menu. Our mighty meaty mushrooms stuffed with minced vegetables and onions are hearty with curry and hot with heat. Served as a sizzling platter, this dish will certainly give you a cosy start to your meal, and it makes for an excellent vegetarian option.


Palak Paneer

This Palak Paneer dish is a more off-the-beaten-track choice, but we’d very much like to raise its profile among our clientele, not just because it’s packed with gloriously nutritious spinach freshly sourced from local farmers, but also because paneer is an unsung hero in Indian cuisine. Paneer is a dense but mildly flavoured non-melting cottage cheese made from buffalo milk, and there is something immensely comforting about its delicate but beefy texture, as well as its creamy and slightly salty flavour. It is a pearly star from the East, and we encourage you to give it a go. You won’t be disappointed!

Beef Vindaloo

This devilishly hot option is a favourite among our regulars, and it’s a wonderful option to raise temperatures. We admit that our vindaloo is not for the faint of heart, but it’s certainly worth the invigorating kick it gives with every mouthful. Our succulent beef is marinated in vinegar, rendering moist and tender against its accompaniment of rich potato chunks. Wash down its aromatic sauce with our infamous mango lassi or our remedial raita.

Lamb Roghan Josh

Lamb Roghan Josh

The explosive flavour of our lamb roghan josh is festive and full of Eastern promise, with our authentic blend of Kashmiri spices. At Shakinah, we deliver not just food, but also a sensory experience, and the wafting aroma of our locally-sourced lamb studded with cinnamon, ginger and saffron is intended to whet your appetite and lift your spirits.

The Local


We couldn’t possibly end our selection without a sweet finale. And what’s Christmas without a hint of tradition and nostalgia? Our take on Malta’s imqaret is festooned with chopped apricots, pistachios, cinnamon and a celebratory helping of vanilla bean ice cream, while the pillows of fried pastry are stuffed with a smooth emulsion of local dates, topped with a good drizzle of honey.