Posted on 02/07/2020 at 12:20 PM by Madhu Gadia
February 7, 2020
The Indian Tandoor, A Clay Oven
Tandoori chicken, tandoori naan (fluffy white flatbread), and tandoori roti (whole wheat flatbread) are some of the classic iconic dishes in Indian restaurants. Many large Indian restaurants flaunt their tandoor (a clay oven), in a large visible space, with chefs making fresh flatbreads. A tandoor is a clay oven that is either set into the earth or above ground. Traditionally, it is heated with wood or charcoal to 600-900° F. Modern tandoors may be gas or electric.
The Rise of Tandoori Cooking Across India and Abroad
In India, tandoori cooking is associated with Punjab, a Northern state. Although the history of the tandoor oven is ancient, it became popular in India after the independence and partition in 1947. As fleeing Hindu and Sikh refugees from the northwest region (Pakistan) settled in India, initially in Punjab and Delhi, they set up shops and restaurants. Over the years, the Punjabi migration increased within India as well as around the world. Punjabis opened restaurants and dhabas (cheap roadside stalls with homestyle cooking), serving Punjabi and tandoori dishes. This style of food became the staple of North Indian restaurants. Today, most Indian restaurants around the world serve tandoori dishes and typically Punjabi food.
Mouthwatering Fresh Tandoori Roti
One of my favorite memories of eating fresh tandoori rotis was in Delhi. People typically do not have a tandoor in their own homes, so anything made in a tandoor was a special treat. Our family was visiting our uncle in Delhi, back in the 70s, and for lunch my aunt (chachi) made the roti dough and sent me and my cousin to the neighborhood tandoor. As we stood in line, I watched this woman make tandoori rotis quickly and efficiently. We gave her our dough, she rolled and stuck the rotis to the tandoor wall and pulled out hot rotis, and smeared them with ghee (clarified butter).
Make authentic tandoori chicken at home. For recipe go to CuisineofIndia.
Chicken is the most popular meat served in India. Tandoori chicken — roasted, red-colored bone-in chicken pieces typically served on a platter with lemon wedges, is the most popular chicken dish served in Indian restaurants. The chicken is marinated in yogurt and spices with a drop of red food coloring and baked in a tandoor.
At home, I bake and broil my tandoori chicken in the oven. Tandoori chicken is low in fat and calories, as the skin is removed before marinating. It’s juicy, tender, and flavorful. I think it turns out great, and it’s one of my daughter’s go-to recipes for a guaranteed ''wow'' reaction at dinner parties. Follow this recipe and make sure to bake per directions to get the tandoori red color and a charred look and flavor.
Enjoy Happy Healthy Cooking!