The barbecue, perhaps the most ubiquitous method of cooking, is practised in countless regional and cultural iterations around the world. The tandoor is its form of success. The tandoor is the usual method of grilling in these regions. Both the cylindrical clay oven and the method of cooking are referred to collectively as “tandoor.”
Rumor has it that the tandoor made its way to Central Asia and the Middle East with Romanian settlers. Chicken tikka masala, a dish popularised by the tandoor in India, is served at the majority of restaurants around the world. Its popularity has persisted through centuries of Muslim dominance in South Asia.
Recipes for the Tandoor
The design of the clay oven used to cook Tandoori cuisine imparts a distinctive smoky flavour to the food. Charcoal, once lit, is placed at the bottom of the tandoor and used to generate heat. The tandoor’s signature flavour comes from the smoke it produces as the food within drips onto the hot cinders as it cooks. Most tandoors rely on an internal charcoal or wood fire for heating. It is common practise to keep a tandoor lighted for long periods of time in order to maintain temperatures up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit.
Popular dishes from Iran, Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan that are typically cooked in a tandoor include tandoori chicken, chicken tikka, and breads like tandoori naan and roti. South Asian chicken tikka is made by grilling bite-sized pieces of chicken that have been marinated in a blend of spices and yoghurt. Boneless skewers of this meat are a staple of tandoor cooking. You may eat it like a kebab with some green chutney, or you can use it to make a chicken tikka masala curry.
North Western India is the birthplace of tandoori chicken, another popular dish. Chicken is marinated in yoghurt and then seasoned with garam masala, ginger, garlic, cumin, peppers, and turmeric extract to give it a reddish hue. Although though the clay stove is the most common method of preparation, grilling works just as well.
The search for the tandoor is as unrelenting as the popularity of barbecue, with many restaurants in India and Pakistan serving tandoori specialties to hungry diners from all over the world. Tandoori cuisine has become increasingly popular over the years, expanding to incorporate a wide variety of meats, seafood, poultry, vegetables, and even fruits and cheeses.
It’s not easy to find a substitute for a tandoor, but there are several possibilities. Cooking over an open grill that lets juices from the dish seep into the flames or coals of a barbecue could be a tasty way to prepare food. Results aren’t identical to those achieved in a tandoor, but they come close in terms of taste.
If you’d want to use a regular stove, you can do so when preparing tandoori dishes. Although both the oven and the tandoor feature a closed chamber where heat is contained, the oven does not provide the distinctive smoky flavour of authentic tandoori cooking. Considering that heat is used to establish the bread’s location, this method is ideal for baking tandoori breads when a tandoor is not available.
Even though the concept of grill cooking is the polar opposite of tandoori cooking, a grill could be utilised to prepare dishes like lamb chops or chicken tikka. There is no oven or chamber in a grill; rather, components suspended above the cooking surface do the job of generating heat. Nonetheless, tasty food may be prepared. The grill is a time-saving appliance.