Tandoor for the weekend: Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo

Tandoor for the weekend: Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo

Made of brick and clay, this is a tandoor oven.

When you visit an Indian restaurant, many of your dishes might be cooked with this cylindrical and fiery-hot piece of equipment. It runs at nearly 500-degrees and within five minutes, in the confined space, has your skewers of marinated chicken cooked to a perfect tenderness inside with a bit of delicious char on the outside.

Naan by Mango Chutney, Cambridge (Photo: WREats).

Naan (with “hole”) by Mango Chutney, Cambridge (Photo: WREats).

That naan, light and fluffy and browned (and sometimes slathered in butter) that is so delicious? The bread is made with a dough of flour and baking powder enriched with a touch of yogurt and fennel seed and shaped on a small “pillow” that is then slapped onto the side of the rocking hot oven to cook.

You may often note a small hole the size of a pencil’s diameter or so in your naan: that marks the spot where the bread was extracted from the tandoor’s inferno by the cook — whose arms are often quite marked by reaching down into the oven. (I used to work a wood-fired pizza oven: I had no hair on my right forearm!)

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Here are a three suggestions for tandoor eating this weekend (please check with individual venues for hours of opening).

Mango Chutney, Cambridge
Seekh kabab: minced beef blended with spices and herbs. 

Nisha’s Kitchen, Kitchener
Paneer tikka: paneer marinated in yogurt, herbs and spices.

Masala Bay, Waterloo
Murg tandoori: spring chicken marinated in red masala.

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