To stay alive before microwaves and electric ovens, people had to cook their food over fires. Even if we might like to consume barbecued cuisine, we hardly ever get the chance to do so these days. We decide to watch a brief, frequently boring TV dinner instead. It is reassuring to know that some regions of the world still practise age-old culinary traditions like tandoor cooking, nevertheless.
Meat and fish dishes are prepared in a tandoor
Tandoors are clay cooking utensils with a drum or barrel shape that are popular in Middle Eastern and Eastern cuisine. Since the heat is produced inside by a little fire that has been lit in the bottom, they essentially operate like an oven. The food is cooked over embers similarly to a charcoal grill, but unlike a barbeque, the heat is concentrated around the meat, hastening and intensifying the cooking process.
Although they really originate from ancient Persia, or what is now known as Iran, the use of tandoors in Indian cuisine is undoubtedly their best-known application. In addition to India and Iran, these odd cooking pots are also used in Pakistan, Armenia, Turkey, and Afghanistan. They are also used in several regions of Central Asia.
These clay ovens, which are used to prepare all of their meals, may be vital to the cooking culture in some societies. They are occasionally hidden in the sand in a communal area and utilised to feed the entire neighbourhood. In other countries’ kitchens, they are only used for domestic purposes and are placed adjacent to other appliances for the home.
Tandoors today appear in a huge range of sizes and shapes, but its fundamental clay heart is a constant. The warmth is often provided by a wood or charcoal fire, however gas alternatives are also available. Newer models usually have stainless steel cases and, from the outside, seem the same as every other kitchen appliance found in household or commercial kitchens.
Among the most popular, flavorful tandoor dishes are Indian creations like lamb or chicken tikka. They are constructed of meat cubes that have been flavorfully marinated in yoghurt and spices. This mixture flavours and tenderises the meat as long as it marinates for the full night. Fish can also be cooked in a tandoor.
When the chicken or fish has finished marinating, it is time to fry it in the tandoor. Normally, the marinated food is skewered and inserted into the embers of the oven with the point down. Other ingredients, such as herbs that are allowed to slowly smoke off the coals to improve the flavour of the food, are frequently added to the combination.
The savoury tandoori chicken from India, which appropriately derives its name from the oven it cooks in, is probably the most well-known meal made in this way. But one of the tandoor’s many important uses is to bake flatbreads like roti and naan. As the dough cooks, it adheres to the oven rims and, as a result, periodically bubbles form against the clay, giving the final product a rich, earthy flavour.